evacuation

Our policy is to provide safety to all residents in Afghanistan including minorities: Top Taliban leader to Sikhs

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The Taliban government’s policy is to provide safety and security for all residents in Afghanistan including minorities, said a top leader of the Afghan group on Thursday.
During his meeting with Sikh members here on Thursday, the Taliban’s Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi said that all people living in Afghanistan will be provided security. He stressed that it is the Taliban’s policy to provide safety to all including minorities. Narender Singh Khalsa, a Sikh politician in Afghanistan, was also present in the meeting. He flew back from Delhi last week.

India evacuated hundreds of people including Sikhs from Afghanistan in August when Kabul fell to the Taliban and the country’s government was collapsed.
Rights groups have said that Sikhs and other minorities are not safe in Afghanistan especially following the Taliban’s emergence to power in Kabul.
However, the Afghan group has been repeatedly assuring that it will provide safety and security to minorities in the country.

Mass evacuation begins in Philippines as super typhoon Rai approaches

Manila [Philippines]: Tens of thousands of people residing in the central and southern Philippines are being evacuated as typhoon Rai approaches the country, a media report said.
Typhoon Rai is undergoing “rapid intensification” as it barrels towards the island province of Dinagat and Surigao provinces in the mid-eastern section of the country as of 0500 GMT, reported Al Jazeera citing the latest report from the Philippine weather bureau, PAGASA. Rai — which is the 50th typhoon to hit the country this year — has been declared as a super typhoon by the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC).
PAGASA has advised sailors to remain in port or to take shelter emphasising that the sea conditions are risky for all types of vessels.
The wind speed has accelerated to 185 km (115 miles) per hour near the centre with gustiness of up to 230 km (143 miles) per hour, moving west-northwest as of 0200 GMT, PAGASA said earlier.
Eight regions in the Philippines have been placed on the highest level in emergency preparedness and response protocol, according to the national disaster mitigation agency, NDRRMC.
More than 30 million people reside in these eight regions, which are located in the central and southern group of islands in the Visayas and Mindanao areas, according to Al Jazeera.

Need to strengthen emergency evacuation capabilities: NATO on Afghan operations

Brussels [Belgium]: NATO needs to increase the capabilities of member states to conduct large-scale and urgent evacuation operations in the future, foreign ministers of the alliance said on Wednesday considering the evacuation operations undertaken in Afghanistan by the countries post-Taliban takeover.
“Meeting in Riga on Wednesday (1 December 2021), NATO Foreign Ministers discussed the lessons learned from the Alliance’s engagement in Afghanistan over almost two decades,” NATO said in a statement. Following the rapid collapse of the Afghan government and forces in August, a comprehensive political and military assessment was conducted by NATO, with the active involvement of its allies and other experts.
The ministers gathered in Latvia’s Riga to discuss the results of the alliance’s operation and the lessons they learned from their engagement in Afghanistan. “NATO should consider how to strengthen its capabilities to conduct short-notice, large-scale evacuation operations in the future,” the statement read.
“The assessment makes a number of other recommendations, including on maintaining interoperability with operational partners; considering the political and cultural norms of host nations, as well as their ability to absorb capacity-building and training; and ensuring timely reporting and meaningful consultations,” the statement added.
It also suggested that NATO should consider how to strengthen its capabilities to conduct short-notice, large-scale evacuation operations in the future.
The assessment’s key conclusions and recommendations are intended to inform NATO’s political and military leaders as they consider and direct future crisis management operations.

“All means to evacuate people”

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India]: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday held a high-level meeting to intensify the rescue efforts and said that all means will be used to evacuate people stranded in areas flooded due to heavy rains in the state, including Kottayam.
In the meeting, it was decided that colleges that were to open from October 18 will now only begin from October 20. The meeting has also decided to urge devotees to avoid the Sabarimala pilgrimage till October 19. The state government has decided to intensify rescue efforts to evacuate stranded people from low lying areas, and areas with possibilities of landslides or flooding.
“Action should be taken to immediately evacuate people Cm said that the situation is serious but the latest weather reports give a sigh of relief. The report shows signs that we are not going into a worse situation,” said Vijayan during the meeting.
He further instructed, “Camps have to be started by following covid protocol. Masks and sanitisers should be made available in camps. Drinking water, medicines should be made available in camps. Caution should be taken for people who have co-morbidities and those who have not taken vaccination.”
A list of available boats should be made ready to be used if there is a need to use them in rescue operations, said the chief minister.
Vijayan has also said that there is a possibility of rising water levels in rivers and overflowing in some dams. He further said that there would be a high alert for the next 24 hours.

Greece swept by torrential rains, 100 people evacuated in fire-stricken island

Athens [Greece]: Greece was swept by a wet front this weekend which has caused significant damages in the island of Evia, which had suffered destructive wildfires in the summer, Greek national news agency AMNA reported on Sunday.
About 100 people were evacuated from various villages across the northeastern part of the island, as dozens of residencies and businesses flooded amidst torrential rains, mayor of Mantoudi George Tsapourniotis told Greek national broadcaster ERT. The most affected areas were seaside settlements, across a distance of some 25 kilometres in the fire-stricken region, as scientists had predicted after the wildfires.
Anti flooding works have started since August 20, but such projects take a lot of time, Fanis Spanos, Governor of Central Greece, told local Open television channel.
“We immediately need targeted works in specific areas,” Efthymios Lekkas, professor of dynamic tectonic applied geology and disaster management at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, told the TV.
Meteorologists said that the wet front will recede on Wednesday.

US ended longest war in American history, says Biden

Washington [US]: US President Joe Biden on Tuesday (local time) said that the United States has ended 20 years of war in Afghanistan, which was the “longest war” in American history.
“Last night in Kabul, the United States ended 20 years of war in Afghanistan. The longest war in American history,” Biden said while addressing the nation on the US ending 20 years of war in Afghanistan. He also stated that the United States has completed one of the biggest airlifts in history with more than 120,000 people evacuated to safety from Afghanistan.
“We completed one of the biggest airlifts in history with more than 120,000 people evacuated to safety. That number is more than double what most experts thought was possible. No nation, no nation has ever done anything like it in all of history. Only the United States had the capacity and the will and ability to do it. We did it today,” he added.
He also termed military evacuation an “extraordinary success”.
“The extraordinary success of this mission was due to the incredible skill, bravery and selfless courage of the United States military and our diplomats and intelligence professionals,” Biden said.
Biden also spoke about the evacuation efforts, saying 90 per cent of Americans who wanted to leave were able to leave.
“The bottom line: 90 per cent of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave. And for those remaining Americans, there is no deadline. We remain committed to getting them out if they want to come out,” he said.
Noting that 120,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan, Biden said, “No nation has ever done anything like it in all of history.”
“No country in history has done more to airlift out the residents of another country. We will continue to work to help more people who are at risk leave the country. We’re far from done,” Biden added.

US, allies evacuate 1,200 people from Afghanistan in past 24 hrs

Washington DC [US], August 30 : The United States and coalition forces evacuated 1,200 people from Afghanistan over the past 24 hours, a White House official said on Monday.
“NEW: With 1,200 people evacuated from Kabul in the last 24 hours, the US has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 116,700 people from Afghanistan since 8/14. The total number since the end of July is approximately 122,300 people,” Chris Meagher, a White House deputy secretary, tweeted. Meagher today informed that approximately 122,300 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since the end of July.
In a joint statement on Sunday, the US and its partner countries had reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring the safe travel of their citizens and at-risk Afghans outside Afghanistan.
“We are all committed to ensuring that our citizens, nationals and residents, employees, Afghans who have worked with us and those who are at risk can continue to travel freely to destinations outside Afghanistan,” US State Department said in a joint statement by dozens of countries.
The statement added the US and its partner countries have received assurances from the Taliban that all foreign nationals and any Afghan citizen with proper documents will be allowed to proceed to exit the country.
This comes as multiple reports have indicated that the Taliban will establish full control over the Kabul airport on Tuesday after the US troops withdrawal.
The Taliban are engaged in consultations with Turkey and Qatar on technical assistance for the airport operation in Kabul, Al Jazeera reported, citing a source in the group.

If any Indian is in trouble anywhere, India will always stand up to help: PM Modi on Afghan crisis

New Delhi [India]: Even though it is faced with numerous challenges, India is evacuating its people from the war-ravaged Afghanistan and will continue to do, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday while unveiling the renovated Jallianwala Bagh memorial through video conferencing.
“Today, anywhere in the world, if any Indian is in trouble, then India stands up to help with all its might. Be it the challenges of the Corona period or the crisis of Afghanistan, the world has experienced it continuously. Hundreds of comrades from Afghanistan are being brought to India under Operation Devi Shakti. There are many challenges and the situation is difficult,” PM Modi said. Dedicating the renovated complex of Jallianwala Bagh Smarak to the nation through video conferencing, the Prime Minister said that no country should forget its history and whatever happened during and after the Partition can be seen in every corner of the country, especially in Punjab.
Jallianwala Bagh is the place that gave courage to an innumerable number of revolutionaries like Sardar Udham Singh and Bhagat Singh to sacrifice their lives for the freedom of the nation, he said.
“My salute to the brave land of Punjab, to the holy soil of Jallianwala Bagh! Today, we are remembering those innocent boys and girls, those sisters, those brothers, whose dreams are still visible in the bullet marks on the walls of Jallianwala Bagh.
“Salute also to those children of Mother Bharati, in whom all limits of inhumanity were crossed to extinguish the flame of freedom burning. Those innocent boys and girls, those sisters, those brothers, whose dreams are still visible in the bullet marks in the walls of Jallianwala Bagh, and in the “Shaheedi Kuan” (well of sacrifice), where the love of countless mothers and sisters was snatched away,” said PM Modi.
Re counting the history of the infamous Jallianwala Bagh massacre, PM Modi said, ” Those 10 minutes of April 13, 1919, became the story of our freedom struggle, due to which we are able to celebrate the Amrit Mahotsav of freedom today. In such a situation, getting the renovated form of the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial in the 75th year of independence is an opportunity of great inspiration for all of us.”
He compared the massacre of Jallianwala Bagh with the Partition riots, and said, “We have also seen another horror like Jallianwala Bagh at the time of partition of India. The hard-working and lively people of Punjab have been the biggest victims of partition. We still feel the pain of what happened at the time of partition in every corner of India and especially in the families of Punjab.”
The prime minister said that it was not right for any country to ignore such horrors of its past, and therefore, India has decided to observe August 14 as ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day’ every year.
PM Modi also acknowledged the contribution of the tribal community in the freedom struggle and said, “Our tribal society has a great contribution in the great sacrifice of freedom,” he said.
The Prime Minister noted the contribution of the Tribal community in the freedom struggle did not get as much place in the history books as it should have.
“Work is currently underway on museums showing tribal freedom fighters and their struggle in nine states of the country,” he stated.
He further noted that it was the aspiration of the country that there should be a national memorial for our soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice.
“I am satisfied that the National War Memorial is instilling in today’s youth the spirit of protecting the nation and sacrificing everything for the country,” PM added.
As per the PMO, four Museum galleries have been created through adaptive reuse of redundant and underutilised buildings. The galleries showcase the historical value of events that unfolded in Punjab during that period, with the fusion of audio-visual technology, including projection mapping and 3D representation, as well as art and sculptural installations.
A ‘Sound and Light’ show has also been set up to display the events that happened on April 13, 1919.

US evacuates 6,800 people from Afghanistan in past 24 hrs

Washington [US], August 28 (ANI): The US has evacuated nearly 6800 people in the past 24 hours from Afghanistan bringing the total number of evacuees to 1,11,900 since August 14, a top official said on Saturday.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III said in a tweet, “Yesterday, August 27th, another 6,800 people were evacuated from Hamid Karzai International Airport, bringing the total to 1,11,900 since the operation began and August 14th.”
The US had said earlier that despite the Kabul blasts, evacuation operations will continue.

White House spokesperson Jen Psaki had said that the US flag will be flown at half-mast until the evening of August 30 to honour the victims killed in the terrorist attacks in Afghanistan’s Kabul that included US personnel too.

Earlier, US President Joe Biden had termed the evacuation from Afghanistan the ‘most difficult and largest airlift’ ever in history.

He had assured to get all Americans and allies out of the war-torn country.”Kabul evacuation is among the largest and most difficult airlifts in history,” Biden had said. Afghanistan’s situation is deteriorating as people rush to leave the nation after the Taliban seized control over a week ago.

On August 15, the Afghan government fell soon after President Ashraf Ghani left the nation. Countries have been evacuating their citizens from the war-torn nation speedily.

The Kabul airport is witnessing nowadays a heavy chaos due to instability in the region. (ANI)

Another Kabul attack likely before US leaves Afghanistan, warn officials

Washington [US]: National security officials warned US President Biden on Friday (local time) that another terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, is “likely” in the final days of the US military mission in the country.
Biden and Vice President Harris met with Pentagon officials and members of the president’s national security team one day after a suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport attributed to ISIS killed more than a dozen US service members and dozens of Afghan civilians. The Hill reported. “They advised the president and vice president that another terror attack in Kabul is likely, but that they are taking maximum force protection measures at the Kabul airport,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a briefing.
“They reported that even in the face of those threats, our courageous servicewomen and men are continuing to operate a historic evacuation operation,” she added. “The US military is airlifting out thousands of people every few hours.”
“The next few days of this mission will be the most dangerous period to date,” Psaki said.
Pentagon officials had warned in the aftermath of Thursday’s bombing that another attack, including one using a car bomb or some other device, was still a possibility, The Hill reported.
US Central Command, Marine Corps General Kenneth F McKenzie Jr on Thursday (local time) said that an Islamic State terrorist attack at the Kabul airport killed 12 US troops and injured 15 more.
Four US Marines are among the 35 people who were reportedly killed in twin bomb blasts outside Kabul airport on Thursday. The first blast was reported at the Abbey Gate in Kabul airport while the second one was near the Baron Hotel.

US tells citizens to leave Kabul airport gates ‘immediately’

Kabul [Afghanistan]: After the Kabul airport blast, the US Embassy in Kabul on Thursday (local time) warned its citizens to stay away from the Kabul airport and told anyone outside the perimeter to “leave immediately,” citing unnamed security threats.
The US Embassy cited three areas of particular concern in its advisory. “US citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately,” the statement said, without further detail, reported The New York Times. A senior US official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about confidential assessments, confirmed that the United States was tracking a “specific” and “credible” threat at the airport from the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, which has carried out dozens of attacks in recent years, many targeting ethnic minorities and other civilians.
The warnings came as the last of the estimated 1,500 Americans and countless other foreigners still in Afghanistan try to make it to the airport to leave before the Taliban deadline of August 31, reported The New York Times.
The US government has been warning about potential security threats at the airport, and access to the airport has been adjusted accordingly, with some gates temporarily closed.
Earlier, the British and Australian governments issued similar warnings, with Australian officials describing “an ongoing and very high threat of terrorist attack.”
Marise Payne, Australia’s Foreign Minister, said at a news conference Thursday that the Taliban will allow Australian citizens and visa holders to leave safely but added, “Our travel advice remains: You should not come to Hamid Karzai airport because it is not safe to do so, and if you are in Kabul, you should shelter in place, move to a safe location and await further advice.”
Thousands of Afghan nationals are camped outside the perimeter of the airport in desperate attempts to escape on the last flights out after the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban.

Approx 5,400 individuals at Kabul airport awaiting flights out of Afghanistan

Washington DC [US]: A day after an explosion rocked Kabul, Pentagon on Friday said that approximately 5,400 individuals at the airport awaiting flights out of Afghanistan.
“There are still approx 5,400 individuals at the airport awaiting flights out of Afghanistan. We have the ability to include evacuees on the US military airlift out of Afghanistan… ISIS will not deter us from accomplishing this mission,” said US Army Major General William “Hank” Taylor during a briefing. Major General Taylor clarified that there was only one explosion at the Abbey gate at Hamid Karzai International airport on Thursday. Earlier, the Pentagon had said there was a second explosion outside the Baron hotel in its initial statements.
“I can confirm for you that we do not believe that there was a second explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, that it was one suicide bomber. We’re not sure how that report was provided incorrectly,” Taylor told reporters.
Speaking at the same presser, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby there will be a probe into the blast. “We express our condolences for Afghan people who suffered in yesterday’s attack. We don’t want to see the country torn as under through civil war,” Kirby said.
Kirby also announced that additional military bases in the US will be used to help support evacuation operations from Afghanistan.
“The Department of Defense can announce that it is authorized Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, Fort Pickett, Virginia, and Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, to provide additional support to the US mission to evacuate Afghans special immigrant visa applicants, their families, and other at-risk individuals.”
The death toll from yesterday’s blast in Kabul has surged to more than 90 people killed, CNN reported. The report said that more than 150 people were wounded by the blast.

Belgium ends Afghan evacuation over suicide bomb threat

Brussels [Belgium]: The Belgian federal government made a decision on Wednesday evening to end all evacuations from Kabul airport over suicide bomb threat, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said.
“Safety has always been our priority. The situation deteriorated dramatically on Wednesday. We obtained information from an American source that there was a risk of a bomb attack (at Kabul airport),” said the prime minister. However, he added, “that does not mean that it is the end of the assistance we can provide to the Afghans.”
“What is happening in Afghanistan is a tragedy. Images of human suffering in recent days are very harsh and very moving,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmes.
According to Wilmes, “during the six-day operation, 1,100 people under Belgian responsibility have been evacuated from Kabul to Islamabad.”
According to a statement released by the Belgian Ministry of Defence, two planes with evacuees on board landed on Belgian soil Wednesday morning. One Airbus A330 MRTT aircraft had 196 people on board, while an Air Belgium flight brought 272 people back to the country.
In recent days, seven flights have been in operation from Islamabad to Melsbroek Military Airport in Belgium, with people evacuated from Kabul on board.

US warns its citizens to ‘leave immediately’ from Kabul airport gates over security threat

Washington [US]: The US State Department on Wednesday (local time) sent out an alert advising its citizens to avoid travelling to the Kabul airport.
“Because of security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid travelling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so,” a security alert from the US Embassy in Kabul said on Wednesday. “U.S. citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately.” Meanwhile, the United States has evacuated 4500 out of 6000 American citizens identified in Afghanistan, according to the Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday (locale time). adding an estimated 1,500 Americans are still waiting to be evacuated from the war-torn country.
“The Taliban have made public and private commitments to provide and permit safe passage for Americans, third-country nationals and the Afghans at risk, going forward past August 31,” Blinken said.
Blinken also said that the US has managed to safely evacuate over 82,300 people out of Kabul airport since mid-August.
“4500 Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan. The US in direct contact over last 24 hours with another 500 Americans out,” Blinken said while speaking in a press conference.
“Up to 1,500 Americans may still need evacuating from Afghanistan,” he said declaring that about 1000 others are believed to be Americans and some number of them may want to leave.
Yesterday, US President Joe Biden made it clear to the G7 leaders that US is “on pace” to finish its withdrawal from Afghanistan by August 31 but with each day of operations on the ground, American troops are facing increasing threats from ISIS-Khorasan, according to a White House statement.
Earlier, Biden had informed that he is in discussions with his military officials regarding the extension of the evacuation mission in Afghanistan, beyond the August 31 deadline.
The US is flying thousands of people out of Afghanistan every day from Kabul airport. The US forces took control of the airport last week to evacuate its citizens after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan.

Russian Defense Ministry to evacuate 500 people from Afghanistan

Moscow [Russia]: Russia is set to evacuate more than 500 people from Afghanistan on the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Defense Ministry informed on Wednesday.
The four military transport aircraft will airlift over 500 Russian citizens as well as citizens of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (Belarus Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan) and Ukraine, TASS news agency reported. As many as four plans have formed a group and are awaiting further instructions in Ulyanovsk, the ministry said.
On Monday, leaders of the CSTO member countries had gathered for the special session of the bloc held via video conference. The key focus of the session was the situation in Afghanistan and its impact on the security of the countries participating in the organization.
The Taliban entered Kabul last week, causing the civilian government to collapse. As a result, many countries have started evacuating their citizens and diplomatic personnel from the beleaguered nation due to the precarious security situation, and some have pledged to take in a number of Afghan asylum seekers.
Earlier today, Ghulam Mohammad Jalal, who heads the Russian Center for Afghan Diasporas said that Moscow has authorised the arrival of Afghans, including those holding Russian citizenship or residence permit, and students.
“We have received an answer regarding some categories: … first, people of Afghan origin who have Russian citizenship, second, students who studied in Russia but are currently staying in Afghanistan, third, people who worked for some commercial bodies and have a Russian labour permit and a corresponding visa, fourth, persons who have a residence permit,” Jalal said.
Representatives of these four categories will leave for Russia as soon as the Kabul airport opens, Jalal added, noting that their number reaches “one thousand or slightly more.”

US aims to complete evacuation from Afghanistan by August 31

Washington [US]: The Biden administration on Monday (local time) said that it is aiming to evacuate all Americans from Afghanistan by August 31.
Responding to questions on the August 31 deadline, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters at a White House news conference that the final decision to extend the evacuation mission from the Kabul airport would be taken by President Joe Biden. “Ultimately, it will be the President’s decision how these proceeds, no one else’s,” said Sullivan.
“The President believes we are making substantial progress. Dozens of flights, thousands — now tens of thousands of people evacuated from the country. We believe today will be an efficient and effective day and tomorrow and the next day as well. And as I said, he is taking this day by day and will make his determinations as we go,” Sullivan said.
August 31 was declared a deadline by the Taliban for the US troops to leave the country.
Since the Taliban took over Kabul and toppled the Afghan government more than a week ago, the US has scrambled to evacuate American citizens, Afghans who assisted the American military, and others who could face retribution from the terrorist group.
At the Pentagon, Defense Department Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters they have seen the public statements by the Taliban spokesman about their views on August 31. “I think we all understand that view,” he said.
“The goal is to get as many people out as fast as possible. And while we are glad to see the numbers that we got yesterday, we are not going to rest on any laurels. The focus is on trying to do this as best we can by the end of the month,” he said.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Monday “the focus is on trying to do this as best we can by the end of the month,” though both administration officials didn’t rule out the possibility of staying longer if necessary.
President Biden has offered similar sentiments in recent days, claiming Friday he’s still assessing whether to stay beyond his August 31 deadline but believes he can “get it done by then.”
Meanwhile, the US allies want the deadline to be extended amid security threats and chaos in Kabul.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters “additional time is needed”, while UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace hopes the US will extend its timeline “even by a day or two”.
During the Pentagon briefing today Joint Staff Deputy Director for Regional operations Army Major General William ‘Hank’ Taylor confirmed that 16,000 passengers left Kabul in the last 24 hours.
“As of this morning, within the last 24 hours, 25 US military C-17s, three U.S. military C-130 and then a combination of 61 chartered commercial and other military flights departed Kabul,” said Taylor.
“The total passenger count for those flights was approximately 16,000, of that number. The US military transported just under 11,000 personnel.”
Taylor also confirmed that five flights arrived at Dulles International Airport with approximately 1300 passengers. “At this time for military installations as well as Dulles International are receiving Afghans as they come into the United States,” he added.

Biden, UK’s Johnson discuss Afghanistan evacuation, upcoming G7 meeting

Washington DC [US]: US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke on Monday about the ongoing evacuation operations in Kabul and planned to discuss a common approach to Afghanistan during the upcoming virtual meeting with G7 leaders.
“President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom spoke today about Afghanistan. They discussed the ongoing efforts by our diplomatic and military personnel to evacuate their citizens, local staff, and other vulnerable Afghans,” the White House said in a statement. They also discussed plans for the G7 virtual leaders’ meeting tomorrow, underscoring the importance of close coordination with allies and partners in managing the current situation and forging a common approach to Afghanistan policy, the statement added.
Last week, UK prime minister had informed that G7 countries will have urgent talks on the situation in Afghanistan on August 24.
“I will convene G7 leaders on Tuesday for urgent talks on the situation in Afghanistan. It is vital that the international community works together to ensure safe evacuations, prevent a humanitarian crisis and support the Afghan people to secure the gains of the last 20 years,” Johnson had tweeted.
Later on Sunday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the participation of Biden in the virtual meeting. She had said that the talks will revolve around the evacuation of US citizens and “vulnerable” Afghans and humanitarian assistance for refugees.
Several nations have resorted to evacuating their citizens and diplomatic personnel from Afghanistan due to the precarious security situation.

Modi, Merkel discuss Afghanistan developments, repatriation of stranded people

New Delhi, Aug 23 (UNI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday evening and discussed the recent developments in Afghanistan and the repatriation of stranded people, among other issues.
Both sides reiterated their commitment to strengthening the India-Germany Strategic Partnership.
This was revealed in a tweet by PM Modi. “Spoke to Chancellor Merkel this evening and discussed bilateral, multilateral and regional issues, including recent developments in Afghanistan. Reiterated our commitment to strengthening the India-Germany Strategic Partnership.”
A statement said, the two leaders discussed the unfolding security situation in Afghanistan and its implications on the region and the world.
They emphasised the importance of maintaining peace and security, with the most urgent priority being the repatriation of stranded people, it said.
The two leaders also discussed issues on the bilateral agenda, including cooperation in Covid-19 vaccines, development cooperation with a focus on climate and energy, and fostering trade and economic relations.


Both leaders exchanged views on issues of multilateral interest such as the forthcoming COP-26 meeting and the Indian initiative to promote a dialogue on maritime security at the United Nations Security Council.
They emphasised commonality of perspectives between both sides on promoting inclusive cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, it said.
The call comes two days after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Saturday discussed the situation in Afghanistan with his German counterpart Heiko Maas.
“Appreciate the call from Foreign Minister @HeikoMaas of Germany. Discussed the evacuation challenges in Afghanistan and the policy implications of the changes there,” Jaishankar said in a tweet on Saturday.

Germany evacuates more than 2,700 people from Afghanistan

Berlin [Germany]: The number of people evacuated by the German armed forces from Afghanistan over the past week has surpassed 2,700, the Federal Foreign Office said on Monday.
Germany began evacuating people from Afghanistan last Monday, a day after the takeover by the Taliban (designated terrorist and banned in Russia). The Tashkent airport in neighbouring Uzbekistan has served as the connecting hub for German evacuation flights. “Since Monday last week, it has been possible to fly out around 2700 persons in this way. They include Germans, Afghans and nationals of international partners (as of 09.00 on Monday, 23.08.2021 [07:00 GMT]),” the statement read.
The Taliban have pledged no vengeance for Afghans who collaborated with the US led-foreign troops and the civilian government of Ashraf Ghani, which collapsed after the Islamist movement entered Kabul on August 15. However, thousands of Afghans have gathered at Kabul Airport in the hope of fleeing the country on a foreign evacuation flight. Some countries have agreed to take in a limited number of Afghan asylum seekers.

India evacuates nearly 400 people, including 329 Indians from Kabul

India has already evacuated 200 people including the Indian envoy and other staffers of its embassy in Kabul in two C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft of the IAF after the Taliban seized control of Kabul.

New Delhi, August 22 : India on Sunday brought back nearly 400 people, including 329 of its nationals and two Afghan lawmakers, in three different flights as part of its efforts to evacuate its citizens from Kabul in the backdrop of the deteriorating situation in the city after its takeover by the Taliban. A total of 168 people including 107 Indians and 23 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, were flown from Kabul to the Hindon airbase near Delhi in a C-17 heavy-lift military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Another group of 87 Indians and two Nepalese nationals were brought back in a special Air India flight from Dushanbe, a day after they were evacuated to the Tajikistan capital in an IAF aircraft, officials said.

Separately, a group of 135 Indians, who were evacuated from Kabul to Doha in the last few days by the US and NATO aircraft, were flown back from Doha to Delhi on a special flight, they said.

India carried out the evacuation missions in coordination with the US, Qatar, Tajikistan and several other friendly countries.

The group of 168 people, who were evacuated from Kabul, included Afghan lawmakers Anarkali Honaryar and Narender Singh Khalsa and their families, people familiar with the evacuation mission said.

“Evacuation continues! IAF special repatriation flight with 168 passengers on board, including 107 Indian nationals, is on its way to Delhi from Kabul,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted hours before the plane landed at Hindon.

It is learnt that the Indians evacuated to Doha from Kabul were employees of a number of foreign companies that were operating in Afghanistan.

“Bringing Indians home from Afghanistan! AI 1956 carrying 87 Indians departs from Tajikistan for New Delhi. Two Nepalese nationals also evacuated. Assisted and supported by our Embassy @IndEmbDushanbe. More evacuation flights to follow,” Bagchi tweeted at around 1:20 am.

India evacuated 200 people including the Indian envoy and other staffers of its embassy in Kabul in two C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft of the IAF after the Taliban seized control of Kabul.

The first evacuation flight brought back over 40 people, mostly staffers at the Indian embassy, on Monday last.

The second C-17 aircraft evacuated around 150 people including Indian diplomats, officials, security personnel and some stranded Indians from Kabul on Tuesday.

The Taliban swept across Afghanistan this month, seizing control of almost all key towns and cities including Kabul in the backdrop of the withdrawal of the US forces.

Following the evacuation, the MEA said the focus now would be to ensure the safe return of all Indian nationals from the Afghan capital.

The MEA said the immediate priority for the government is to obtain accurate information about all Indian nationals currently staying in Afghanistan.

It also requested the Indians as well as their employers to urgently share the relevant details with the special Afghanistan cell.

According to a rough estimate last week, the number of Indians stranded in Afghanistan could be around 400 and India has been looking at ways to evacuate them including by coordinating with the US and other friendly countries. 

IAF repatriation flight with 168 people from Kabul on its way to Delhi: MEA

New Delhi [India]: An Indian Air Force (IAF) special repatriation flight from Kabul with 168 evacuees, including 107 Indian nationals, is on its way to New Delhi, confirmed the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Sunday.
The flight will land at Hindon IAF base in Ghaziabad later today according to government sources said. “Evacuation continues! IAF special repatriation flight with 168 passengers onboard, including 107 Indian nationals, is on its way to Delhi from Kabul,” tweeted MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.
India has been allowed to operate two flights per day from Kabul to evacuate its nationals stranded in Afghanistan, government sources told ANI.
The permission was granted by American and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces which have been controlling operations of the Hamid Karzai International Airport after the Afghan capital fell to the Taliban on August 15.
People in Afghanistan have been rushing to leave the country after the Taliban seized control last week. On August 15, the country’s government fell soon after President Ashraf Ghani left the country.
Countries have been urgently evacuating their citizens from the war-torn nation. The Kabul airport is witnessing nowadays a heavy chaos due to instability in the region.
The MEA has said the government is committed to the safe return of all Indian nationals from Afghanistan. The MEA said that the main challenge for travel to and from Afghanistan is the operational status of the Kabul airport.

Jaishankar, German counterpart discuss evacuation challenges in Afghanistan

New Delhi [India]: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said he received a phone call from German foreign minister Heiko Mass during which they discussed the evacuation challenges in Afghanistan.
“Appreciate the call from Foreign Minister @HeikoMaas of Germany. Discussed the evacuation challenges in Afghanistan and the policy implications of the changes there,” Jaishankar tweeted. Afghanistan’s future is hanging in balance as the country’s government collapsed on Sunday soon after President Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul.
The Taliban entered the presidential palace in the Afghan capital on Sunday and declared its victory over the government.
Efforts are being made to maintain stability in Afghanistan. However, thousands of people are rushing to the airport to flee the nation as they are afraid of the terror group’s brutal atrocities in the nation.
Several countries including India and Germany are evacuating their citizens from the war-torn country as uncertainty and fear following the Taliban takeover grow.
Earlier in the day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said “The [Afghan] army collapsed at a breathtaking pace,” Merkel said at an election event. “We had expected the resistance to be stronger.”
Merkel said the focus now was on rescuing people from Afghanistan, but later there would need to be a discussion on what had or had not been achieved.

Evacuation of Dutch citizens from Kabul fails due to limited US-allotted time: Amsterdam

             

Amsterdam [Netherlands], August 18 (ANI/Sputnik): The Netherlands has been unable to evacuate its citizens from Afghanistan as the US military has not given its plane enough time in Kabul’s airport for people to board, acting Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag said on Wednesday.

The second Dutch evacuation military plane arrived in the Afghan capital on Tuesday but departed with only 40 people on board, none of whom were Dutch or Afghan citizens.
“Unfortunately, our plane departed [without Dutch citizens]. We had only half an hour to bring people to the tarmac … Many people and their families were waiting there and also near the airport gates. I think this is horrible,” Kaag told Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

The Dutch top diplomat urged the United States to provide more landing time for people to board evacuation flights.

On Sunday, the Taliban (terrorist group, banned in Russia) finished their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul, which led to the collapse of the US-backed civilian government. Most countries started evacuating their citizens and diplomatic staff from the Central Asian country following the events.

Doval, US NSA held talks last evening to coordinate Indian officials’ evacuation

New Delhi [India]: Amid the efforts to coordinate the evacuation of Indian citizens from Afghanistan, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval spoke to his US counterpart Jake Sullivan in detail last evening. The US security forces are controlling the Kabul airport and after the conversation between the two NSAs, the Indian contingent was taken inside the American security zone at the airport from where they took off this morning, top sources told ANI.
The Indian C-17 aircraft was also given clearance to land at the Kabul airstrip after coordinating the evacuation efforts with the American officials on ground.
Sources said that due to the situation on ground in Kabul, the Indian officials’ exit had become a bit difficult but was arranged for ultimately.
Two C-17s have taken off from Kabul since yesterday. One reached India yesterday with around 46 personnel and the other with over 120 took off today morning.
India has been working with the US for a long time in Afghanistan.
The Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday and took control of the presidential palace. Soon after the terror group claimed control over the Afghan capital, several countries evacuated their diplomatic personnel from the country, and hundreds of people flocked to the Kabul airport in an attempt to leave Afghanistan.

Japan orders evacuation of over 1.2 million people over heavy rainfall

Tokyo [Japan]: Japan has ordered the evacuation of 1.23 million people in four southwestern provinces over the heavy rainfall, media reported on Saturday.
The evacuation was ordered for residents of the prefectures of Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the NHK broadcaster reported, citing the data of regional authorities. The southwestern regions of Japan have been hit by heavy rains for several days, which raises the risk of floods. A landslide has already left one person dead and two more injured.
The weather will remain rainy in southwestern Japan on Sunday.

Evacuation begins in Prayagraj as water levels of Ganga, Yamuna cross danger mark

Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh) [India]: As the water levels of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers crossed the danger mark in Prayagraj on Monday, the UP administration announced a high alert in the area and started evacuating families affected by floods.
Kareli and JK Nagar colonies of the western part of Prayagraj have been affected due to a rise in the water level. People living in these colonies have started leaving their houses as the water level crossed the danger mark. “Around 600 houses are affected and we have shifted ourselves from the first floor to the second floor due to water, said local resident Mushtaq.
Kesar Ali, a resident of the JK Nagar colony said that many people have left their homes and went away to other places, as the area is full of dirt and water and the electricity supply has also been disrupted.
” We request the government to make proper facility for disposing of the excess water and to provide food and other commodities to the people of these colonies as their houses got submerged in water”, said local resident MS Khan.
The water level in the river Ganga in the northeast area of Prayagraj is also increasing and both the rivers are flowing above the danger level mark.

Japan orders evacuation of 3,00,000 people over Lupit typhoon

Tokyo [Japan]: Japan has ordered the evacuation of some 3,00,200 people from the prefectures of Hiroshima, Shimane and Ehime over the Lupit typhoon, media reported on Monday.
Japanese airline cancelled 63 flights in the southwestern part of the country over the typhoon, the NHK broadcaster reported. The Lupit’s central atmospheric pressure is 985 hectopascals, with winds reaching 23 meters per second (51 miles per hour) and maximum gusts of up to 35 meters per second. The experts warn of stronger winds and higher waves.
Typhoon Lupit was reported to have lashed the coastal provinces of China on Thursday, causing heavy downpours in other regions.

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