Updated Aug 18, 2021 - World

In photos: Afghanistan on edge under Taliban rule

People wait to be evacuated from Afghanistan at the airport in Kabul on August 18
People wait to be evacuated from Afghanistan at the airport in Kabul on Aug. 18. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Western officials have stepped up evacuation efforts in Kabul, with over 2,200 diplomats and other civilians flown from Afghanistan on military flights Wednesday, per Reuters.

The big picture: The Taliban has said it will honor women's rights and an independent media within the "frameworks" of Islamic law. But many Afghan women and girls fear they will again face the threat of human rights abuses they endured when the Taliban last ruled in the 1990s — when it carried out public executions for "offenses" including adultery.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid (L) attends the first press conference in Kabul on August 17
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid (L) attends the group's first press conference in Kabul on Aug. 17. Photo: Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images
 Afghan nationals queue up at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman on August 17
Returning Afghans at the Chaman Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point on Aug. 17. Photo:AFP via Getty Images
A Taliban fighter stand next to poster bearing the image late Afghan commander Ahmad Shah Massoud at the Massoud Square in Kabul on August 16
A Taliban fighter standing next to poster bearing the image of the late Afghan commander Ahmad Shah Massoud at the Massoud Square in Kabul on Aug. 16. Photo: Wakil Kohsar//AFP via Getty Images
Afghan people climb up on a plane and sit by the door as they wait at the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16
Afghan people climb up on a plane and sit by the door as they wait at Kabul's on Aug. 16. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images
Afghans watch as U.S. soldiers stand guard at Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport on Monday.
Afghans watch as U.S. soldiers stand guard at Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport on Monday. Photo: Shakib Rahmani/AFP via Getty Images
Taliban fighters stand guard at an entrance of the green zone area in Kabul on August 16
Taliban fighters stand guard at an entrance of the "green zone," where government buildings, residences and foreign embassies are located in Kabul, on Monday. Photo: Wakil Kohsar /AFP via Getty Images
Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport on August 16, 2021, to flee the country as the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan
Afghans crowd the tarmac of Kabul's airport on Monday. Photo: AFP via Getty Images
Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport on August 16, 2021, to flee the country as the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan
Children among the crowds on the tarmac at Kabul's airport. Photo: Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
 The entrance gate of the green zone is pictured after the evacuation in Kabul on August 15
The entrance gate of the green zone after diplomats began evacuating Kabul on Sunday. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images
Afghan security forces patrol in the Afghan capital of Kabul city, Afghanistan, on August 15
Afghan security forces patrol Kabul city on Sunday. Photo: Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Taliban fighters and local people sit on an Afghan National Army (ANA) Humvee vehicle on a street in Jalalabad province on August 15
Taliban fighters and local people sit on an Afghan National Army Humvee vehicle in Jalalabad province Sunday. Photo: AFP via Getty Images
Afghan school girls walk through in a street in Kabul on August 15
Afghan schoolgirls walk along a Kabul street Sunday as the Taliban reached the Afghan capital. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images
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