“Save them!”

The cry of women of Afghanistan who throw their children over the wall of Kabul airport to American soldiers who receive them with tears is a blow to the stomach for many people - first of all for US President Joe Biden who has been blamed for a chaotic withdrawal and a humiliating defeat for the West, which is leaving Afghans – primarily women – to their own devices, but also for the rest of us who hope that the Taliban has changed and matured.

However, initial reports show that the Taliban is killing protesters, chasing women who do not wear a burka, arresting journalists, and going house-to-house seeking out collaborators of the enemy.

The Taliban is not only abandoning efforts that had begun to create some form of democracy. It is also cancelling out liberties that had been hard won and destroying the childhood of the young.

That is the domestic side of the drama. The external side is that the regional instability created by the jihadists strengthens Russia and China as they are hastening to fill the power vacuum left by the US.

The threat of a new wave of terrorist attacks threatens not only Central Asia but also the West and creates the spectre of a new refugee crisis.

As the weekend edition of Ta Nea reveals today, Greece is creating three border security zones to avert a repeat of the crisis of 2015.

Yet that cannot replace humanitarianism. The need for security cannot supplant European values.

In conclusion, the Taliban are not simply a domestic problem of Afghanistan and the West can be neither proud nor secure.

Difficult days lie ahead. The Afghanistan crisis is a challenge for the international community on both a political and strategic level, and it is testing our sensitivities.

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