Former Afghan National Army Colonel Recounts the Day Kabul Fell
Masoud, who did not want to share his family name for security reasons, is a former Afghan National Army colonel and on August 15, 2021, when the Taliban took over Afghanistan, he was in uniform and at work. He shares his story of the day Kabul fell.
Colonel Masoud, Former Afghan National Army Colonel
My name is Colonel Masoud. I worked in operations for the Ministry of Defense. On August 15th, I was in Kabul and witnessed everything that happened that day and days prior.
August 15th was a very dark and unforgettable day. I contacted my unit commanders in army bases around the city around 1 o’clock, and they were on high alert, but at the time nothing was happening.
Later, a group claiming they were Taliban came into the city, and the news of the Taliban entering spread.
The situation got worse, and we saw Taliban in different areas, but unfortunately, after the president and other defense ministry personnel escaped, we felt hopeless.
Despite that, the soldiers we were in contact with told their commanders they were ready to defend.
But the generals told their commanders that because the president had fled, they should surrender and release the soldiers from their duties and send them home.
I was at home the first night but then moved to a different location because two military prosecutors were taken away that first night from their homes in our neighborhood.
From the night of August 15th through the 16th and 17th, there was chaos at the airport, and everyone was trying to get inside. We had no choice but to go to the airport on August 18th.
There were multiple security cordons at the airport. The Taliban formed the outer ring and were beating people as they went in. The foreigners formed the next security cordon.
I went to the airport with only a pair of clothes. I also had my [Afghan] service passport with me, which helped me get inside the airport.
Everyone wanted to leave because everyone had lost hope for the future. And we didn’t think that Afghanistan would be the same for years to come.
We were hit with a feeling of hopelessness.
“The generals told their commanders that because the president had fled, they should surrender and release the soldiers from their duties and send them home.”
Colonel Masaoud, former Afghan National Army Colonel