kabul

Taliban : Women to wear burqa in Afghanistan, violation to attract punishment

Kabul [Afghanistan]:  Taliban has issued a decree ordering the Afghan women to wear the all-covering burqa at public places, adding that if violated a male member of the family will be improsned for three days. Furthermore, if the woman found guilty again, her guardian will be sent to court for further punishment.

Moreover, female public employees will be fired if they do not wear hijab. Morover, male employees in government offices will be suspended from their jobs if female members of their families do not wear hijab.

Taliban today issued a decree ordering the Afghan women to wear the all-covering burqa in public.

 

Taliban came to power with many promises

Though the decree is new, the Taliban have been forcing women to cover themselves up since returning to power in August. Earlier, the Taliban’s religious police put up posters around the capital Kabul ordering Afghan women to cover up.

Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice pasted the poster on cafes and shops. The posters had an image of the face-covering burqa. Along with the picture, a message on the poster read, “According to Sharia law, Muslim women must wear the hijab.”
Taliban during its regime in the 1990s made it mandatory for women to wear a burqa. Women in Kabul already cover their hair with headscarves, though some wear modest western clothing. However, outside Kabul burqa remained common, as per the media outlet.

Women without Burqa will be punished.

Now, the Taliban with this new decree is enforcing every woman in Afghanistan to wear the all-covering burqa. Last year in December, the Taliban issued another repressive directive that Afghan women seeking to travel long distances by road should be offered transport only if accompanied by a male relative.

Moreover, the worldwide condemnation of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan had heightened after the Taliban decided to close all secondary schools for girls. Several activists and political parties have urged the Taliban to reconsider the ban on secondary schools for girls.

Psychologists have said that the Afghan girl students above grade six, banned from going to schools by the Taliban, are undergoing mental stress due to this move. According to HRW, women and girls are blocked from accessing health care as well. Reports suggest that women and girls facing violence have no escape route. (ANI)

Afghanistan mosque bombing leaves 33 dead, 43 injured

Kunduz [Afghanistan]: A blast occurred in the mosque of Afghanistan’s Imam Sahib district of Kunduz, killing at least 33 people including children and 43 wounded, Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban said.

“At least 33 people including children were killed and 43 were wounded in the mosque attack in the Imam Sahib district of Kunduz, Islamic Emirate spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said on Twitter. Condemning the attack, he said efforts are ongoing to bring the perpetrators to justice,” TOLOnews reported.
A blast took place on Friday at the Mawlawi Sekandar Mosque in the Imam Sahib district of northern Kunduz province in Afghanistan.

Hafiz Omar, police chief of Imam Sahib district of Kunduz, said that this afternoon a blast took place at the Mawlawi Sikandar Mosque in the district, TOLOnews reported.

Earlier, security sources and eyewitnesses said that over 30 people were killed and injured in the incident, TOLOnews reported.

The victims were taken to the district hospital.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, blasts and attacks have become a regular affair.

 

Taliban to open high schools for girls today

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The Taliban has allowed girls to return to high schools from Wednesday, ending the uncertainty over whether the Islamic group would allow full access to education for girls.

Teenage girls across will return to their classrooms after being banned after the Islamic outfit sized power last August. Since taking power, the Taliban have rolled back women’s rights in virtually every area, including crushing women’s freedom of movement.
The vast majority of girls’ secondary schools were closed. Universities recently reopened, with new gender segregation rules. But many women are unable to return, in part because the career they studied for is off limits now as the Taliban banned women from most jobs.

“Critical period ahead for Afghanistan as school and colleges soon re-open after winter break. UNAMA conducted a discussion on Higher Education yesterday with Mawlawi Abdul Baqi Haqqani. Importance of equal access to quality education for all & guarantees for academic freedom was stressed,” the UN Mission in Afghanistan said in a tweet.

Heather Barr, former senior Afghanistan researcher, at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said opening girls’ secondary schools is hugely important.

According to HRW, women and girls are blocked from accessing health care as some healthcare facilities require them to bring a mahram. Reports suggest that women and girls facing violence have no escape route if they can flee only with an abuser escorting them.

Allowing girls into schools and other educational institutes has been one of the main demands of the international community.

The majority of countries have refused to formally recognise the Taliban amid worries over their treatment of girls and women. and other human rights issues.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday had welcomed the plan announced by the Taliban to reopen schools for girls and boys. (ANI)

 

US sanctions trigger protest in Kabul

Kabul [Afghanistan]: After the US has frozen nearly ten billion dollars of Afghanistan’s assets and has imposed sanctions on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, dozens of people took to the streets of Kabul on Sunday demanding the lifting of sanctions.
The protestors urged for the US sanctions on Afghanistan to be lifted as it has aggravated the economic crisis, reported The Khaama Press. The protesters said that the US must lift imposed sanctions and ease economic pressures on Afghanistan and allow the Afghan people to rebuild their country.
Following the Taliban takeover in mid-August, the US froze nearly 10 billion dollars in Afghanistan’s assets and slapped sanctions on the Islamic Emirate.
On December 21, hundreds of protesters marched through the streets of the capital towards the US embassy, calling for the release of Afghanistan’s frozen funds, reported Pajhwok Afghan News.
In the meantime, the stoppage of foreign aids to Afghanistan has crippled the already fragile economic system of Afghanistan and has adversely affected the lives of millions of people.

Kabul airport should be given to UAE, say Afghan traders

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Afghanistan traders have urged the Taliban regime to hand over the contract concerning operations at the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport to the United Arab Emirates.
This comes as reports have emerged that Qatar and Turkey might control the operations at the airport. The traders believe that businessmen have been investing in the UAE and their activity may be hindered if Qatar or Turkey took control, Tolo News reported. Last Thursday, officials from Qatar and Turkey visited Afghanistan to discuss operations at the Kabul International Airport. The agreement also included airports in the provinces of Balkh, Herat, Kandahar and Khost.
Afghan Transportation Ministry spokesman Imamuddin Ahmadi said the parties did not reach the agreement, adding that consultations would continue until the agreement is concluded.
“This contract is important for the Afghans who are living here. This contract should be given to the UAE. If the flights between Kabul-UAE are halted, the traders will face serious problems,” the head of the Afghanistan traders council in the UAE, Obaidullah Sadar Khail, said as quoted by the Afghan news agency TOLOnews.
The council noted that more than 200,000 Afghans have settled in the UAE and invested millions of dollars in the country and added that daily there were about 10 flights between the countries prior to regime change.
Former Afghan officials have a different point of view, saying that international norms and other measures will improve aviation services provided by the country and will increase income.

Turkey, Qatar enter into deal with Taliban on running airport of Kabul

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Turkey and Qatar have entered into an agreement with the Taliban on the management over the international airport of Kabul and four other airports in Afghanistan, Sputnik reported.
The parties held “productive and effective” negotiations during which they agreed to create technical groups to work on details of the operations in the coming days, the Anadolu news agency reported on Friday, citing its sources. “Doha and Ankara have agreed to jointly operate Kabul International Airport,” said the sources.
The Turkish-Qatari Delegation will visit Kabul to continue the joint work, Sputnik reported.
Earlier, the Qatari technical team had repaired Kabul International Airport after the US withdrawal was completed on August 31.
International and local flights were suspended at Kabul’s international airport and across Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power in mid-August.

Explosions kill two in Afghanistan’s Kabul

Kabul [Afghanistan]: At least two civilians were killed after two blasts rocked Afghanistan’s western city of Kabul on Friday morning, reported local media.
“A car bomb had exploded at the Iraqi police recruiting centre at Kisak, killing at least two civilians and wounding three others,” TOLOnews quoted Interior Ministry’s spokesperson Saeed Khosti as saying. Khosti further said that in another explosion in western Kabul, a lady has been injured.
So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the blasts.
Islamic State (IS)-affiliated terrorists have staged several bomb explosions in Kabul and other places since the Taliban’s takeover in mid-August.

Taliban discusses humanitarian aid, trade with Chinese envoy in Kabul

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Taliban appointed foreign minister Amir Khan Motaqi on Saturday met the Chinese Ambassador to Kabul Wang Yu and discussed the issues of humanitarian aid, trade, and development in Afghanistan.
“IEA Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi met Mr Wang Yu, Ambassador of PRC to Kabul this morning. The two sides discussed Afghan-China political relations, trade, humanitarian aid, development, and providing technical education to Afghan students,” said Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi in a tweet. He said that the meeting particularly focused on enhanced trade between Afghanistan and China.
“Also, the two sides discussed increased export of pine nuts and routes to export Afghan products to China. To end, the Chinese side pledged further humanitarian aid in addition to what has already been provided,” he added.
China, along with Pakistan were among the first countries that began engaging with Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover in August this year.
This latest meeting was the second between Amir Khan Motaqi and China’s Wang Yu.
The meeting came amid Taliabn’s repeated appeal for wider international recognition. China is among the very few which seem to have started engaging with the outfit. Other members of the international community are taking a wait and watch approach.

Russia to deliver humanitarian aid to Kabul

Moscow [Russia] : Russia will deliver humanitarian aid to Kabul on Wednesday and organize another return flight, Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov told Sputnik.
“Yes,” Kabul said when asked if Moscow plans to deliver aid to Kabul on December 1, and confirmed that another return flight will be organized, Sputnik reported. The Taliban entered Kabul on August 15, causing the US-backed government to step down. Later in September, the outfit announced the composition of the new interim government of Afghanistan.
The country is currently battered by the deepening economic, humanitarian, and security crisis following the Taliban takeover. The international community, from governments to non-governmental organizations, has been providing various assistance to the Afghan people.
As the economic crisis is looming on the Taliban-ruled country, the US has also frozen nearly USD 9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank and stopped shipments of cash to the nation.
In response, the Taliban have been urging the international community to unfreeze the assets.

Causalties feared as blast hits Kabul

Kabul [Afghanistan] : A blast rocked Darul Aman road in Police District 3 of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Tuesday.
Casualties are feared, Xinhua reported citing eyewitnesses. No terror group has claimed the responsibility for the attack.
Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August, attacks by ISIL-affiliated terrorists against them have increased.
The rise in terrorist attacks has raised the possibility of a wider conflict between the two groups.

Afghanistan: Passport distribution in Kabul still on hold

Kabul [Afghanistan] : The passport distribution is on hold for the last 12 days in Kabul despite operational office in 17 Afghanistan provinces.
People with medical conditions required to travel abroad for treatment are unable to travel due to halts in passport distribution in Kabul, reported TOLOnews. Passport applicants have approached Islamic Emirate to commence passport issuance and distribution in Kabul.
“We have been coming and going for nearly a week. They do not take action and don’t say whether this (process) is working or not. I said that I have a patient, but they say that you will not be allowed anything until the passport office opens,” TOLOnews quoted an Afghanistan citizen as saying.
“Every day we come and go, nobody helps us, all we have to do is to get the biometric (processing) then we will get our passport,” said another passport applicant.
Officials at the passport distribution office stated that the temporary suspension in the distribution and issuance process is because of the destruction of the Interior Ministry’s biometric data by foreign forces, reported TOLOnews.
The officials further mentioned that the passport applicants should visit the open passport offices in the neighbouring provinces. As many as 17 Afghan provinces have operational passport offices and the distribution is ongoing, but it is unclear as to when the capital city’s passport distribution process will resume, reported TOLOnew.
TOLOnews quoted Deputy Director of the passport department, Abdul Khaliq Mohammadi, as saying, “I ask the passport applicants who have come from other provinces to go to their provinces or one of their neighbouring provinces where the services are ongoing and get their passports from there. The people have already been told through the media that the biometric data centre of the Interior Ministry, which was located inside the ministry, has been damaged by the foreign forces and has some problems, and we promise that we will resolve the problems and will get a positive result.”

Taliban acting PM Hassan Akhund accuses former President Ghani of corruption

                

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Afghanistan’s acting Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund, during his first public address on Saturday, accused the country’s former President Ashraf Ghani of corruption and funds embezzlement, local media reported.

“Ghani had established a bank inside the Presidential palace”, Akhund was quoted as saying by Khaama Press.
He said that Taliban members found the bulk of cash in the Presidential palace which was left behind Ghani and his team while escaping.

As Afghanistan is facing a severe financial crisis, the Taliban appointed acting PM said that problems including poverty and economic crisis existed even before the Taliban seized control of Kabul.

He said that Afghanistan’s economic problems will be solved if the central bank’s assets are released.

The US has frozen nearly USD 9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank and stopped shipments of cash to the nation.

Taliban have been urging the international community to unfreeze the assets as the country is facing severe financial and humanitarian crises.

A new UN report earlier on Monday said Afghanistan’s banking and financial systems are on the verge of collapse following the country’s takeover by the Taliban. “Afghanistan’s financial and bank payment systems are in disarray,” the report by UN Development Program (UNDP) said.

Referring to women’s rights, Akhund claimed that the Taliban government has provided women with their rights, that education continues and the Taliban government is working to improve the situation for the education of girls.

Taliban after the siege of Afghanistan has been trying to deliver a moderate image to the world in an attempt to gain international confidence but experts believe that Afghan women are most likely to face an uncertain future under the group regime. (ANI)

Afghanistan: Explosion occurs in Kart-e-Parwan area of Kabul city

Kabul [Afghanistan]: An explosion was heard on Thursday in the Kart-e-Parwan area of Kabul city, an official from the security department informed.
The blast has been reported by Afghan local media Tolo News. This came days after one person was killed while two others sustained injuries in another explosion in Kabul. The explosion had taken place in a vehicle.
Meanwhile, the security situation in Afghanistan deteriorated after the establishment of the Islamic Emirate by the Taliban in 100 days.
Seven big security incidents occurred in the country, since November 13, that caused 630 cases of death or injury, reported Tolo News.

First consignment of Russian humanitarian aid lands in Kabul

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The first Russian consignment of humanitarian aid arrived in Kabul on Thursday.
According to Taliban officials, three planes carrying 36 tons of humanitarian assistance landed in Kabul and the consignment was handed over to them, reported Khaama Press. The aid that included flour, cooking oil, and blankets was given to the Deputy Minister of Information and Culture and spokesperson of the Taliban Zabiullah Mujahid.
The Taliban officials expressed gratitude to the Russian government and called on other countries to continue providing the Afghan people with relief assistance, reported Khaama Press.
Russia intends to send to Afghanistan a total amount of 108 tons of humanitarian aid from which the first tranche arrived and the other two will soon be dispatched to Afghanistan, added Khaama Press.
UN Migration Agency raised concern over the ongoing humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, saying that Afghanistan may fall into “extreme poverty” by mid-2022 if no action is taken immediately to address the simultaneous humanitarian, economic and political crises.
“Afghanistan is a country of almost 40 million people, nearly all of whom may fall into extreme poverty by mid-2022 if no action is taken immediately to address the simultaneous humanitarian, economic and political crises,” the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said in a statement.

IS claims responsibility for two blasts in Kabul

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for two explosions that hit western Kabul on Wednesday, Sputnik reported citing Arab Al-Arabiya broadcaster.
The first blast hit the Dashte Barchi area and killed four people leaving two more injured, according to locals. It was followed by another explosion, which claimed the lives of five civilians and injured seven others, Sputnik quoted a source as saying. Deborah Lyons, UN Special Representative for Afghanistan, has said that the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) is now expanding to nearly all Afghan provinces and the Taliban are unable to stop them.
“Major negative development has been the Taliban’s inability to stem the expansion of the Islamic State Khorasan Province,” Lyons said during the United Nations Security Council meeting on Afghanistan.

After months of closure, girl schools reopen in Afghanistan’s Ghor province

Kabul [Afghanistan]: After months of the closure of girls’ schools in Ghor province of Afghanistan, now female students from grade 7 to 12 were allowed to attend their schools in Ferozkoh, capital of the western province, reported local media.

The reopening of schools came as a result of efforts made by the Ferozkoh council which had urged the province’s education officials to reopen the girls’ schools, reported TOLOnews.
Sultan Ahmad, head of the Ferozkoh council, said: “We reached an agreement that the high schools for girls in the capital and all districts of Ghor should be reopened.”

Expressing happiness over the reopening of the schools in the province, civil rights activist Habib Wahdat said: “Fortunately, the schools will be reopened for the girl students.”

Stressing that reopening of the schools is very important, Wahdat said: “If women are deprived of education, the next generation of the society will not have a bright future.”

So far, in western Afghanistan Herat and Ghor provinces have allowed girls to attend secondary and high schools.

When the Taliban took control of the country in August, it had barred girls from going to schools across Afghanistan. (ANI)

UN special envoy meets women religious scholars in Kabul, discusses Islamic Law, women’s rights issues

Kabul [Afghanistan]: A top UN Special Representative in Afghanistan on Sunday met with women religious scholars in Kabul and discussed different aspects of Islamic Law and the key issues concerning rights of girls and women in the country.
Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Mette Knudsen, has been holding several rounds of talks with all stakeholders in the country including Taliban to address various issues including need for humanitarian aid. “UNAMA Dep-Head @Metknu hosted women religious scholars in Kabul today. They discussed different aspects of Islamic Law, the importance of girls being able to go to school and women being gainfully employed,” UNAMA tweeted.
This meeting came the same day as Islamic clerics from several countries across the world, including India, held a virtual conference, where they called for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.
The participants, from India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Croatia, stressed the need to form a unified position on countering ISIS in Islamic countries, TOLOnews reported.
“Controlling the government by a certain ethnicity and ignoring other ethnicities is impossible. This will cause chaos in Afghanistan because it is obvious that all ethnicities have power and are looking for their rights,” said Ayatullah Syed Yasin, a top Iraqi religious cleric. The meeting also highlighted the importance of human rights and women’s rights.
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai had called on the international community to cooperate with Afghanistan on the issue of counter-terrorism.
“If you are really concerned about the security of yourself and the world and remain committed to the pledges on Afghanistan, in such a critical and vital situation and to ensure peace and stability, help the people of Afghanistan,” Karzai was quoted as saying by TOLOnews.
Two months have passed since the Taliban regained control of Kabul, as the US and its allies departed, wrapping up their 20-year military presence in Afghanistan.
Going against all promises of inclusive government, the Taliban have appointed an all-male cabinet. They abolished the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and handed over the women’s ministry building to the reinstated Ministry of Vice and Virtue, which was responsible for some of the worst abuses against women during the Taliban’s previous period in power from 1996-2001.

Why India is hosting NSA-level dialogue on Afghanistan and what is the message to Kabul

New Delhi [India]: India has played a key role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan over the years, spending more than USD three billion in the last two decades on people-centric projects in the country with even the Taliban acknowledging New Delhi’s contribution.
Whether it is G20 Summit, BRICS or bilateral discussion, India has been a key participant regarding the issue of Afghanistan. Seven security czars from Russia, Iran and all five Central Asian countries will be landing in Delhi on Tuesday to attend first of its kind regional dialogue on Afghanistan hosted by India.
National Security Advisers of five central Asian countries – Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan besides Russia and Iran – will attend the Delhi meet on Afghanistan.
The meeting will be chaired by India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Earlier, Iran had hosted dialogues in a similar format.
This is a continuation of the format started by Iran in 2018 and 2019, however, this time dialogue will see the highest participation of seven nations.
Following the format, India had invited Pakistan and China. However, on the expected line both declined.
China cited scheduling issues and has conveyed that it is open for dialogue with India on Afghanistan at multilateral and bilateral levels.
China attended previous meetings hosted by Iran and more recently BRICS meet as well
Officials here feel that Pakistan never wanted to be part of the solution, in fact, it is well acknowledged that it is the source of the problem In Afghanistan.
It is no secret to the world that Pakistan provides backing to Taliban regional shuras over the years and Pakistan notorious spy agency –Inter-Services Intelligence– with Haqqani’s and ISIS Khorasan are not hidden.
Also, Pakistan has emerged as a key obstruction to the flow of humanitarian aid to Afghans.
India stands ready to supply much-needed aid but Pakistan is not allowing access to landlocked Afghanistan.
Pakistan did not attend any of the meetings organised in this format hosted by Iran and now it has also declined India’s invitation.
India, along with seven other countries participating in the Delhi dialogue, will discuss in detail terror threats emanating from within Afghanistan and around it, extremism and radicalisation is also key concern among many participants, they feel many hotheads in their countries may get influenced and there may be export or spill over of ideology into their societies, drug trafficking, use of huge weapons left by the United States is another cause of concern.
More than the above factors ‘uncertainty’ of what will happen next is also a common point of discussion.
Interestingly, Pakistan is oblivious to the above issues and continues to engage with the Taliban government.
Iran, Russia and all Central Asian countries participating in dialogue here are far from recognising or legitimising the Taliban regime, sources told ANI that it is not even on their agenda to recognise the Taliban as they see no change in the Taliban of 90s and today.
All participating countries have common ground and concern vis-a-vis representation of minorities, inclusiveness, women rights and human rights in Afghanistan.
Russia and Iran and to that matter some countries in Central Asia have been engaging with the Taliban but the red lines are clear and also they strongly regard India as a key stakeholder in the region.
There is unanimity and common ground which will be reflected during dialogue, this is not any protocol-driven dialogue, it is a special dialogue with a practical outlook, the big point is will Kabul read the writing on the wall.

ISIS takes responsibility for deadly attack on Kabul hospital

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The Islamic State, also known as ISIS-K, has taken the responsibility for the deadly attack on a hospital in the Afghan capital of Kabul.
At least 25 people were killed and more than a dozen suffered injuries in the attack on Tuesday. The attack was carried out by armed gunmen and at least one suicide bomber. The terrorists targetting the 400-bed Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan military hospital in one of Kabul’s more affluent neighbourhoods, the New York Times reported.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said the attack was carried out by several members of the Islamic State, including a suicide bomber who detonated his explosives at the gate to the hospital.
A car full of explosives outside the hospital also exploded, wounding dozens, and several Taliban fighters were killed and wounded in the ensuing gun battle, Mujahid said.
The Islamic State Khorasan, also known as ISIS-K, took responsibility for the attack hours later.
One of those killed was Mawlawi Hamdullah Rahmani, a senior commander responsible for the Taliban’s Kabul corps and one of the first Talibs to enter the presidential palace after the government collapsed in August, said Wahidullah Hashimi, a Taliban government official.
The security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated significantly since the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15.
ISIS has carried out several attacks including an attack on Kabul Airport during an evacuation by the US forces following the fall of Kabul.
The Taliban’s struggle to bring stability to Afghanistan has been dogged by a series of bloody assaults by ISIS-K.

EU plans to reopen diplomatic mission in Kabul

Brussels [Belgium]: The European Union is seeking to reopen its diplomatic mission in Afghanistan in months time as the bloc is looking to enhance its engagement with the new Taliban government.
The 27-member bloc will return to the capital city of Kabul as Brussels seeks to co-ordinate aid efforts and the continued evacuation of some Afghans, UK based newspaper Financial Times (FT) reported. This move comes at a time when the international community is working on ways to deal with the country’s new leadership. The bloc has said it heading for a “calibrated approach” to the outfit, pursuing engagement with the administration, without recognizing them.
The EU’s diplomatic and security arm, plans to reopen a representative office that would house its officials and could be used by diplomats from member states, the FT report said.
Last month, the EU sent an exploratory mission to Afghanistan to assess the feasibility of sending diplomats back to Kabul, hoping to find a way to implement a pledged regional aid package worth about one billion euros.
Nabila Massrali, the EU spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said that “a final decision has not been taken yet” on the security provision.
“We can confirm that we are working on establishing a minimal presence on the ground. For security reasons, we cannot enter into the details,” the spokesperson said in a statement to the FT.
“As we have repeatedly said, this is not a sign of recognition. We want to be able to better assist the Afghan people who need our help by being closer and, inevitably, we need to engage with the Taliban,” she added.
Earlier this month, the EU chief Ursula von der Leyen had announced a billion-euro EU aid package for Afghanistan to avert a major humanitarian and socioeconomic collapse.

Afghanistan’s Sikhs to ‘make choice between converting to Islam or leaving country’

As the security scenario in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, Sikhs — a community that was already in a dire situation before the collapse of the government — practically have to make a choice between options of “converting to Sunni Islam or run away” from Afghanistan, said a report.

Kabul [Afghanistan] : The community, which once numbered in the tens of thousands, has been ruined and devastated by years of emigration and death, driven by both systemic discrimination and an uptick in fanatical religious violence in Afghanistan, International Forum For Rights and Security (IFFRAS) said. The larger numbers of Sikhs live in Kabul while some in the provinces of Ghazni and Nangarhar.
On October 5, 15 to 20 terrorists entered Gurdwara (Sikh temple) and tied up the guards. The attack happened in the Kart-e-Parwan District of Kabul. Sikhs in Afghanistan often experience such attacks and violence in the country.
There were many anti-Sikh violent attacks in Afghanistan.
Last year in June an Afghan Sikh leader was kidnapped, reportedly by ‘terrorists’. No further details about the case were disclosed by the sources.
Another Sikh man was kidnapped and killed in Kabul in March 2019. Later, Afghanistan’s police had arrested two suspects. While in Kandahar, another, some unknown gunmen had shot another Sikh man.
Sikhs have been living in Afghanistan for centuries but for decades even the Afghan government has failed to provide Sikhs adequate housing or reinstate their homes, which has been illegally occupied by their powerful neighbours or warlords during the 1990s. After the recent massacre of the Sikhs by the Taliban in a Gurdwara in Kabul on March 26, 2020, most Afghan Sikhs were leaving for India, said IFFRAS.
Further, the forum highlighted that as the people of the Sikh community don’t fall under the mainstream Sunni sect of Islam, they are either meant to be forcefully converted as Sunni Muslims or killed. The Taliban ‘government’ will never allow diversity to thrive in the Afghan state and society. The strictest form of Islamic code with tribal customs will result in the annihilation of all the minority sects of Afghanistan, including Sikhs.

Afghanistan : Torkham gate opens for travellers with visas

Torkham gate on Afghanistan-Pakistan border has been opened for travellers with visas and stickers, reported the local media on Thursday.

Kabul [Afghanistan] : “Torkham gate has opened for travellers with visas and stickers, people in charge of Torkham gate told TOLOnews,” tweeted TOLOnews. Meanwhile, Pakistan has allowed one thousand Afghan students to cross the Torkham border to return to Afghanistan, local media reported on Monday.
Citing Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul statement, Khaama Press reported that “up to one thousand Afghan students were allowed to cross Torkham crossing into the country.”
According to the statement released on Sunday, “Afghan students were stranded since the Taliban takeover and were finally allowed in two different batches.”
It has been almost two months when the Taliban captured Kabul after an aggressive and rapid advance against Afghanistan government forces after US military drawdown.
Earlier, hundreds of students were returned from Torkham crossing point after being made to wait for the whole day at the crossing, Khaama Press reported. Pakistan embassy later said that the students lack proper gate pass to cross.
Pakistan rarely kept open the Torkham crossing point east of Afghanistan and Spin Boldak in the southeast after the Taliban takeover, said the publication.

US offers to relocate, pay money for Afghan family hit by drone in Kabul

Washington [US] :The US drone attacked a family in Kabul on August 29, in which 10 civilians were killed, including seven children, the United States has said that it will pay an unspecified amount of condolence money and will relocate the family of those who were killed in a mishandled attack of the US in Kabul, local media reported on Friday.
The US Department of Defense said that they have pledged money to be paid for the family and has asked the department of state to arrange relocation to the United States for the family members who are interested, Khaama Press reported.
The US officials had first said that they have targeted Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) affiliates who were an imminent threat to them as they were busy evacuating people from Hamid Karzai International Airport now Kabul International Airport, Khaama Press reported.
Last month, the Pentagon called the August 29 drone strike in Afghanistan was a tragic mistake.
According to the publication, the drone attack was conducted on the last day of the US evacuation mission and days after ISIS-K affiliates carried out the attack at the gate of Kabul International Airport that killed over a hundred civilians and 13 US marines.

Pak airline suspends operation in Kabul citing ‘security reasons’

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the national carrier of Pakistan, on Thursday said it has immediately suspended its operation in Kabul citing “security reasons”.

Abdullah Khan, the national carrier’s spokesperson, confirmed the development, saying that Kabul operations of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will remain suspended until further notice, Dawn reported.
The spokesperson emphasised the fact that the PIA had kept flying in and out of Kabul under “difficult circumstances” when others had ceased their operations.

“The PIA evacuated around 3,000 people after the rapidly changing situation in Afghanistan,” said the PIA spokesperson, adding that among the people flown out of Kabul were officials of the United Nations, World Bank, the IMF, other global organisations as well as international journalists.

Earlier in the day, the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) called on PIA and Kam Air airlines to bring down the fares of Kabul-Islamabad flights back to the pre-August 15 rates.

The ACAA also threatened to stop flights between Kabul and Islamabad if the airlines do not comply, Tolo News reported.

The PIA and Kam Air are some carriers operating flights to Afghanistan. (ANI)

Countries should seek cooperation, not make demands by putting pressure : Taliban

Doha [Qatar] October 12 : Referring to matters such as women’s rights, the Taliban said that the world should not make demands by putting pressure, but should seek cooperation.
The Taliban appointed Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi made these remarks at an event organised by the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Tolo News reported. “You should not seek your demands through putting pressure on us, ask us through cooperation,” Muttaqi said adding that the previous government had strong international support but was unable to bring reforms in 20 years.
“Now you are asking for all the reforms in two months,” he added.
During the event, Muttaqi also said that “the full implementation of the Doha agreement signed between the US and Afghanistan can address any problem between the two countries.”
He also added that when the Taliban took over Kabul, schools were already closed due to COVID-19 but now they are reopening the schools across the country.
“Schools for boys and girls were closed before us because of COVID. When Kabul fell to our hands, all schools were closed already. Schools in provinces were closed already. We have started reopening the schools,” Tolo News quoted Muttaqi as saying.
The Taliban after the siege of Afghanistan have been trying to deliver a moderate image to the world in an attempt to gain international confidence but experts say that the scenes at the Kabul airport were proof that the terrorist group has returned with the same radical and violence mindset.
Earlier, Sajjan Gohel, a security and terrorism analyst said that women are scared out of their minds, according to Four Nine, a prominent women’s magazine in the West.
“From the Afghan women I’ve spoken to, it’s incredibly traumatic. You’re looking at an entire generation who only read about the Taliban in books. Now, they’re having to live side-by-side with what is effectively a misogynistic cult,” Gohel said.
He also said that he believes we are going to see a return “to some degree of what we saw in the 1990s”.
According to the international security director at the Asia-Pacific Foundation: “Women’s lives [from 1996 to 2001] were very bleak and severely repressed by the Taliban. You’re looking at an era where every aspect of a woman’s life was controlled, contained, and confined,” reported Four Nine.
The Taliban has proposed a ban on coeducation. Their officials in Herat province had last week ordered that girls will no longer be allowed to sit in the same classes as boys in universities, Khaama Press report.

US, UK warn citizens against staying in Kabul hotels

The United States and the United Kingdom have warned their citizens against staying in Kabul hotels, especially the Serena Hotel, due to increased security risks.

Washington [US], October 11 : “Because of security threats at the Serena Hotel, we advise U.S. citizens to avoid travelling to the hotel and the surrounding vicinity,” the US Embassy in Afghanistan said in a security alert on Sunday. All Americans who are at or near the Serena Hotel should leave immediately, the mission added.
Meanwhile, the British government also advised its citizens to not stay in hotels in light of the increased risks, Sputnik reported.
“In light of the increased risks you are advised not to stay in hotels, particularly in Kabul (such as the Serena Hotel),” updated foreign travel advice by the British government read.
The Serena Hotel, popular with business travellers and foreign guests, has been attacked in the past too.
In 2014, an attack perpetrated by teenage terrorist fighters claimed nine lives. The most recent attack of March 2020, when a rocket hit the outskirts of the hotel left two people injured.

Afghan doctors protest for their 14-month unpaid salaries in Kabul

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Hundreds of doctors including females from Samangan and Nuristan provinces gathered at the gate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in Kabul and asked the World Bank to pay their pending salaries for the past 14 months.
Khaama Press reported that the protestors complained that not only their salaries have been paid but the clinics in their respective provinces are confronting a dire shortage of medicine. They also accused an Afghan contractor of World Bank – Asad Fayaz- who has fled the country and has taken money from World Bank but have not been paid to them, as per the publication.
Fayaz had a two-year health contract in the provinces and was providing health services, medicines, and salaries of doctors, they said.
“Asad Fayaz has fled Afghanistan and stole our money. He was leading a corrupt firm and that caused an increase in the mortality of children and mothers in Samangan and Nuristan provinces,” Khaama Press reported quoting a protestor.
In a statement, the doctors said that since the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has no relations with the World Bank and cannot ask for money, asked the bank to directly pay their money through Afghanistan’s health ministry or other NGOs.
In the meantime, the doctors warned of continuation of protests in case their salaries are not paid.
Since the Taliban’s takeover of the country, banks have been closed leaving millions of people out of cash. Employers have not paid their staff and even those who have money in their accounts cannot withdraw it.
Afghanistan’s situation is deteriorating as the Taliban took control of the country on August 15 after the fall of the government.

Taliban ask US to unfreeze Afghan financial assets

taliban cabinet, kabul news, latest taliban

The Taliban have urged the United States to unfreeze Afghanistan’s central bank reserves, during the first in-person meeting in Qatar after the takeover of Kabul in August.

Doha [Qatar], October 10 : The two sides on Saturday held their first meeting in Doha to turn a “new page on their relationship”. This is the first in-person meeting between the two sides since the US drawdown from Afghanistan in mid-August. Taliban Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said that they want to engage with the international community and will not be in favour of one country and against the other one.
“The need to establish good positive relations with each other on an equal basis is being emphasized in the discussions. We stressed the need for unfreezing of Afghan financial assets in the wake of difficult circumstances facing Afghanistan,” the foreign minister said, as quoted by the Voice of America (VOA).
“We clearly told [the Americans] that nobody benefits from an unstable Afghanistan, so no one should try to weaken the current government of Afghanistan or fuel problems for our Afghan people who already are struggling economically,” Muttaqi said.
Recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had put on hold funds to Afghanistan amid the rising uncertainty in the country.
The developments came after IMF recently announced a USD 650 billion Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocation for member countries, but Afghanistan at the moment will not be allowed to access these funds, Tolo News reported.
Last month, IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice said at a press conference that Afghanistan will not have access to this grant because of the uncertainty over Afghanistan’s government.

Taliban capture 11 IS-affiliated terrorists in Kabul

Kabul [Afghanistan], October 5 : The Taliban on Tuesday captured 11 terrorists affiliated with Islamic State (IS) group in Kabul, Afghanistan, said a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, Qari Sayed Khosti.
The Taliban on Monday captured IS operatives from the Bagh-e-Daud area, Xinhua reported. The arrests happened after a bomb blast in Kabul on Sunday. The bomb blast, which targeted a memorial service inside a mosque, reportedly killed eight and injured 20, Xinhua reported.

Earthquake with 5 magnitude hits Afghanistan

Kabul [Afghanistan]: An earthquake of magnitude 5.0 on the Richter Scale struck Afghanistan near Fayzabad early morning on Tuesday.
The National Centre for Seismology said that the earthquake occurred at 05:50 IST with a depth of 150 km nearly 106 km from Fayzabad, Afghanistan. “Earthquake of Magnitude:5.0, Occurred on 05-10-2021, 05:50:09 IST, Lat: 36.36 & Long: 71.31, Depth: 150 Km, Location: 106km SE of Fayzabad, Afghanistan,” the National Centre for Seismology said in a tweet on Tuesday.
On September 3 also an earthquake of magnitude 4.0 on the Richter scale hit Fayzabad in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s humanitarian situation ‘pretty desperate’, urgent aid needed: UN refugee chief

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has said that the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is pretty desperate and called for urgent aid to the country, a media report said.

Islamabad [Pakistan], September 18 : Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, Grandi described the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan as “pretty desperate” and stressed that food, medicines, shelter and other necessities are needed urgently, Japan’s NHK World reported on Saturday. When asked about the Taliban’s rule, Grandi said that humanitarian assistance is “not subjected to any political considerations and should not be”.
Raising concerns over the frozen Afghan assets in other countries, Grandi stressed that the money shortage could lead to the collapse of public services and will lead to an even bigger humanitarian crisis, according to NHK World.
He also underlined that the global community and the UN to engage with the Taliban for Afghanistan and regional stability.
Earlier, the UN agency had said that over 18 million Afghans required urgent humanitarian assistance even prior to the events that unfolded over the past few weeks in the country.
More than 3.5 million have been displaced from their homes by conflict and remain inside the country, including some 6,30,000 uprooted during 2021.
During his visit to Kabul, Grandi met with the Taliban’s interim government, as well as other UN and NGO staff that have stayed on the ground and maintained operations.

Two injured in IED blast in Afghanistan’s Kabul

An improvised explosive device (IED) blast occurred in Kabul’s PD13 area, local media reported on Saturday. At least two people got injured in the explosion, the TOLO news agency reported. This story is still developing and more information is awaited.
On Friday, the Pentagon acknowledged that the August 29 drone strike in Afghanistan was a tragic mistake that killed 10 civilians, including seven children.
A United States military investigation into a deadly Kabul drone strike on a vehicle in August has found that the vehicle targeted was likely not a threat associated with ISIS-K

Imran Khan says situation could worsen if US doesn’t recognise Taliban

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that if the US does not hold talks with the Taliban and take a positive stance on its recognition it could escalate difficulties in the region, local media reported.

Islamabad [Pakistan], September 18 : Imran Khan, during an interview with a Russian media outlet on Friday, said that Afghanistan is currently the most important issue for the entire region as the country is at a historic crossroads, Pakistan’s Dunya News reported on Saturday. When asked about Pakistan’s assistance to the Taliban against the US, he said: “If Pakistan helped Taliban win against the US, it means that Pakistan is stronger than the US and whole of the Europeans and so strong that it has been able to make a lightly armed militia of around 60,000 fighters, beat a well-equipped armed of 3,00,000.”
He also said, “The Afghan people consider the war against external forces as jihad and the Taliban have learned a lot in 20 years.”
On Wednesday, Imran Khan had said that the US war against terrorism was “disastrous” for Pakistan as Washington used Islamabad like a “hired gun” during their 20-year presence in Afghanistan. “We (Pakistan) were like a hired gun.”
“We were supposed to make them (the US) win the war in Afghanistan, which we never could,” Khan said in an interview with CNN.
On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had said that the US would reassess its ties with Pakistan following the military drawdown from Afghanistan.
Blinken told US Congress during a hearing that Pakistan has a “multiplicity of interests some that are in conflict with ours”.
Pakistan has had deep ties with the Taliban and other outfits in the region. Moreover, the country has been accused of supporting the group during the US war on terror.
Despite ample evidence presented by the international community, Imran Khan, in the CNN interview, denied charges that Pakistan harbours terrorists and has given them a safe haven.

UK forum discusses ‘new reality’ of Afghanistan under Taliban

London [UK], September 16 ): As US and NATO forces concluded military withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of presence in the country, a new reality now exists for the country, under the Taliban’s regime.
As fresh challenges arise for Afghanistan’s neighbours to step into the breach, London-based NGO The Democracy Forum hosted a virtual seminar on September 14 — titled ‘Afghanistan: Filling the Void’. This debate was moderated by former BBC Asia Correspondent Humphrey Hawksley. “What can we anticipate from the new regime?” wondered TDF President Lord Bruce in his opening address, given that the Taliban is embarking on a campaign to win hearts and minds and offer a credible alternative to the Ghani administration.
But, with the new cabinet in Kabul dominated by Taliban hardliners and appearing to opt for ‘diplomatic non-engagement’, Lord Bruce believed the international community would struggle to find meaningful leverage.
He also cast doubt over any immediate advantage Afghanistan’s neighbours might hope to gain from US withdrawal, saying that China and Pakistan have “a real problem with the Taliban”, as do Russia and Iran. Pakistan’s predicament, in particular, as a “supplicant of both China and the US, would surely determine its response to the change of regime in Kabul, with possible repercussions including renewed tension with India.”
Addressing the security situation and the Taliban’s ability to govern Afghanistan, Dr Weeda Mehran, a Lecturer at the University of Exeter’s Dept. of Politics, considered key challenges facing the new government.
The expert highlighted challenges like brain drain, and depreciating currency. Moreover, the current caretaker cabinet’s problematic lack of inclusivity, with no Hazaras, Shia or women representatives.
As many as 17 of the 33 cabinet members, including the new minister of the interior, are on UN and FBI terrorist lists, while the Taliban has released thousands of IS, al-Qaeda, TTP and other prisoners, which could cause huge security challenges in Afghanistan if they decide to confront the regime.
UN Consultant Dr Shahriar Tadjbakhsh, a Professor at the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po, looked at how the region can engage with the Taliban, offering an analysis of the security concerns and interests of regional countries, and what regionalism can do.
She spoke of the September 8 meeting of foreign ministers from Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries to make a joint statement — a meeting tellingly convened by the foreign minister of Pakistan, the country with the most leverage in Afghanistan.
This statement pointed to regional concerns, emphasising the role members of the security council have to play in continuing to take responsibility for peace and security in Afghanistan, and the need for regional countries to set aside the differences and work together.
There is potential for economic progress, but it is contingent on whether the Taliban can answer the security concerns of the region, and on regional cooperation rather than continuing rivalries. Dr Tadjbakhsh highlighted how regional countries such as Pakistan and China have greater leverage in Afghanistan than other neighbours such as India and Russia, with the Taliban representing the interests of some regional countries more than others.
Norah Niland, Co-Founder and Executive Member of United Against Inhumanity, examined attitudes of Afghanistan’s neighbours to the evolving and intensifying humanitarian situation, and the implications of this for Afghans in need of urgent humanitarian action.
She noted that, while the global humanitarian scene has changed significantly since the end of the Cold War, then again since 9/11, most Western powers have remained the dominant actors, both in terms of funding and in terms of setting policy. She said it was important that Afghanistan is not treated as a pariah state, and has access to the country’s reserves in US banking.

Pak miffed over ‘wait and watch’ policy on recognising Afghanistan’s Taliban govt

Pakistan National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf has slammed, what he termed as ‘wait and watch’ policy on recognising Afghanistan’s Taliban government. He said that this approach would push the country towards an economic slump.

Islamabad [Pakistan], September 16 : “If the world is interested in this conversation, it needs to happen directly with the new government. For influencing and moulding governance in the way the world wants, it should have a conversation with them. Without engagement that would not be possible,” Yusuf was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper. He stated that the consequences of abandoning Afghanistan would be dire adding that the country could again become a safe haven for terrorists.
“If abandonment happens there would be a security vacuum (in Afghanistan). You already know ISIS (the militant Islamic State group) is already present there, Pakistani Taliban are there, Al Qaeda is there. Why do we risk a security vacuum?” Pak NSA added.
This comes as many experts and the majority of Afghans believe that Islamabad is behind the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and that Islamabad has been assisting the outfit on all possible fronts.
Although the international community have stepped up humanitarian efforts for Afghanistan, however, they are far from recognising the Taliban government.
Last month, Yousuf’s interview had sparked a controversy after it was indicated the security official suggested the risk of ‘second 9/11’ if the Western countries do not recognise the Taliban.
However, in a statement issued later, the Office of the Pak NSA demanded ‘The Times’ to retract what they called a “frivolous” interpretation of Yusuf’s interview with journalist Christina Lamb. The office of Pak NSA said the story wrongly interpreted the interview of Pak NSA.

Women in Afghanistan seek ‘Right to return’ to govt jobs

Women in Afghanistan said that they have been stopped by the Taliban from returning to work, despite their willingness to work.

Kabul [Afghanistan], September 13 : Women in Afghanistan have demanded the right to return to government jobs, reported TOLOnews. Shugufa Najibi, who completed a master’s degree in law from India and had been working in the Afghan parliament for about 10 years, she said, “When I went to the office, they stopped me. I asked ‘Why? Your officials say women can work?’ When I left, they told me through my colleagues to not come anymore.”
According to data by Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), more than 5,000 women were working in the military sector in Afghanistan.
Hanisfa Hamdar, who is a former police officer and worked at Kabul Police District 8 expressed that she is worried about her future. She said, “I am a widow. I have four children. How should find food if I don’t go to work?”
Taliban only allowed women to return to work in the sectors of health and education. But Lima Mohammadi, who is a doctor working at a government hospital said, “There is need for women. In the hospital and elsewhere. As men work, women should work as well.”
She has resumed working even though she has not received wages for the last three months, reported TOLOnews.
Taliban promised that its new era will be more moderate, but Taliban leaders have refused to guarantee that women’s rights will not be stripped back and many have already faced violence.
According to data by the Reform and Civil Service Commission (RCSC), around1,20,000 women were working in civil organizations in the previous government. It is still unclear how the new government will decide on women working in the government. 

Undeterred by violence, Afghan women continue to challenge Taliban

As the Taliban continue to tighten their grip on Afghanistan, reports of harassment and brutalities against women have started emerging from the country.

Tel Aviv [Israel], September 13 : Despite the grave threat from the outfit, scores of women are holding demonstrations in cities across the country, demanding rights being denied to them. Writing for The Times of Israel, geopolitics expert Fabien Baussart said that the current state of affairs in the country is contrary to promises made by the group.
“All this go against the earlier promises made by the Taliban before capturing Kabul that it would respect women’s rights and allow them to access education and work. This has made women furious, leading them to start a fight with the Taliban to protect their rights,” said Baussart, President of Center of Political and Foreign Affairs.
Last week, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) had asked the Taliban to cease detaining journalists in Afghanistan and allow the media to operate freely and without fear of reprisal.
Over the past few days, the Taliban detained several journalists covering protests in Kabul. “The Taliban is quickly proving that earlier promises to allow Afghanistan’s independent media to continue operating freely and safely are worthless,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator.
Afghan women, who were protesting against the all-male Afghanistan’s new interim government last week in Kabul, were driven away by the Taliban. They used whips and sticks against the women protesters in the latest crackdown on dissent in Afghanistan.
Although the Taliban officially allowed peaceful protests, its members on the ground, however, have resorted to violence to curb demonstrations. “They (the Taliban) hit with whips and they tell us to go to our homes and recognise and accept the Emirate,” said one of the woman protestors, as quoted by The Times of Israel.
Baussart believes that defying the orders and challenging the ultra-radical and brutal Taliban is a bold step by the Afghan women. “They have the reforms and rebuilding of 20 years, which helped them grow and enjoy the basic rights, at the risk.”
Alison Davidian, deputy head of UN Women in Afghanistan, said there has been “incredible fear” among Afghan women due to obscure positions taken by the Taliban.
“And this fear is palpable across the country. Memories are vivid of the Taliban’s rule in the 1990s, when there were severe restrictions on women’s rights, and women and girls are understandably afraid,” she added.

Taliban whip rights activist for participating in Kabul protest

Human Rights activist Habibullah Farzad was beaten brutally by the Taliban last Wednesday for participating in a protest held by women in Kabul.

Kabul [Afghanistan] September 13 : Violence against Rights activists and protesters in Afghanistan has become a common occurrence after the Taliban captured the country. A Human Rights activist Habibullah Farzad has been brutally beaten by the Taliban for participating in the protest held by women in Kabul last Wednesday, The Daily Star reported.
“They handcuffed my hands behind the back and started beating me brutally, I lost my consciousness and when I woke up approximately an hour later,” Farzad informed. “Then they took me to the other room where there were more detained people including journalists,” he added.
Women protesters demanded equal rights and decision-making roles for Afghan women in the country.
The Taliban also accused Farzad of going against ‘Islam’ and said that “You are acting against Islam so we are allowed to kill kafirs like you”.
This is not the first case when an activist has been abducted and manhandled by the Taliban in the country. Since the fall of Kabul, the group have been continuously cracking down on human rights activists and journalists who are raising voices against the outfit.
A week ago, another rights activist and journalist, Saira Saleem, who earlier raised her voice against the oppression of the Taliban informed that the terrorist group’s members are searching for her.
Saleem also informed that six Taliban members came to her home four nights ago, knocking gruffly on the door. As she hid beneath her bed, the fighters questioned her father on her whereabouts. He told them his daughter was not home, New York Post reported.
Recent scenes of barbarity in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover have exposed the devastating state of human rights in the war-ravaged country.
Dr Syed Akhtar Ali Shah, writing in The Express Tribune notes that the tragic events that unfolded in Afghanistan in recent days left everyone traumatised and sorrowful.
At present, the chaotic situation in Afghanistan, with images of gun-toting persons all around, has put the whole population in a state of siege. People’s movement has been restricted which demonstrates the absence of even the most basic of human rights in the country.

Pakistan set to operate special charter flights to Kabul soon

Islamabad [Pakistan], September 11 : Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is all set to operate special charter flights to Kabul soon.
“Honestly, there will be some way for the evacuees to fly back before regular flights are resumed. At best, ours would be charter operations, operating on behest of certain customers demands who want to get their people out of Kabul,” said the official spokesperson of PIA Abdullah Khan to ANI. With this announcement, Pakistan becomes the first foreign commercial aeroplane service to operate in Afghanistan since the Taliban took over the war-torn nation last month.
Earlier, the US on Friday facilitated the departure of 21 US citizens and 11 Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) from Afghanistan.
Additionally, another Qatar Airways charter flight departed Kabul with 19 US citizens aboard. Forty-four seats were offered to US citizens, not all of them chose to travel.
Friday’s evacuations came one day after the Taliban allowed a flight carrying about 200 Americans and other foreign nationals to fly out of Kabul, the US and Qatari officials said on Thursday.
Earlier, US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin III said that the US has evacuated about 6,000 American citizens and a total of more than 1,24,000 civilians from Afghanistan.

Over 250 people including US citizens evacuated from Afghanistan in past 3 days: US envoy

Washington [US], September 11 : US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on Saturday said that over 250 foreign nationals, including US citizens, were evacuated from Kabul over the past three days.
“Over 250 foreign nationals, including US citizens, left Kabul over the past 3 days,” said US envoy Khalilzad, reported Tolo News. He also informed that the US will continue its engagement with Qatar, the Taliban and others for safe passage.
“We will continue to engage the govt of Qatar, the Taliban, and others to ensure the safe passage of our citizens, other foreign nationals & Afghans that want to leave,” said Khalilzad.
The US on Friday facilitated the departure of 21 US citizens and 11 Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) from Afghanistan.
Additionally, another Qatar Airways charter flight departed Kabul with 19 US citizens aboard. 44 seats were offered to US citizens, not all of them chose to travel.
Friday’s evacuations came one day after the Taliban allowed a flight carrying about 200 Americans and other foreign nationals to fly out of Kabul, the US and Qatari officials said on Thursday.
US is also planning to vaccinate all the people who are arriving in the US under Operation Allies Mission.
Operation Allies Mission has been undertaken by the US in a bid to evacuate US partners, US permanent residents in Afghanistan along with vulnerable Afghans including women and children after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.
On August 31, the US forces left Afghanistan, marking the end of a chaotic and messy exit from America’s longest war.
Earlier, US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin III said that the US has evacuated about 6,000 American citizens and a total of more than 1,24,000 civilians from Afghanistan.
Moreover, the Taliban has appointed several hardliners in its new government who oversaw the 20-year fight against the US-led military coalition.

25 Indian IS sympathizers may sneak into India from Afghanistan : Intel reports

A group of 25 Indians having allegiance with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) who are supposed to be a big threat to India, may enter into Indian territory from Afghanistan as they broke open various jails when Taliban took over the country last month, the intelligence inputs are suggesting.

New Delhi [India], September 10 : These 25 Indians are on the wanted list of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for having alleged links with the terror group ISIS.
However, the NIA officials, privy to the ongoing investigation in ISIS cases, said that they were not aware of the present status of these 25 Indians but investigations have established that all of them migrated (hijarat) to Afghanistan and joined ISIS in the Nangarhar province.
Considering inputs, an alert has already been issued at all Indian airports and seaports, manned by the Bureau of Immigration (BoI), to ensure that these ISIS suspects could not sneak into India from Afghanistan.
Most of these 25 are belong to the IS-inspired module in Kerala and they fled to Afghanistan on different periods sometime between 2016 and 2018 to join ISIS. The NIA got inputs about these ISIS sympathisers during its probe into several IS-inspired modules active in Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
A senior NIA official told ANI that some of these 25 ISIS sympathisers are believed to have died as per the testimony of their family members here in India but the agency has not yet received any confirmation from foreign agencies.
A red corner notice (RCN), issued on the request of NIA, already exists against all the 25 suspects that include Abdulla Abdul Rashid, Dr Ijas Kallukettiya Purayil, who is said to have motivated around two dozen Indian men and women to join ISIS, Nimisha.
As per intelligence reports, an official said that some of the 25 ISIS supporters were killed in 2019 in a drone attack, and others surrendered to Afghan forces and were imprisoned in Kabul in the reign of the Ashraf Ghani government.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been provided with the intelligence input recently those women fighters who migrated to Afghanistan to join ISIS but surrendered later before the Ashraf Ghani government, have been freed after the Taliban’s took over Kabul. They were among the thousands of ISIS fighters freed after the jailbreak in Afghanistan, said another official.
“As per latest inputs, 25 ISIS sympathisers are living in Afghanistan. They are wanted in our cases. However, some of them may have died. We are still not sure about their current whereabouts. Security agencies are monitoring the situation,” the official said.
A physician from Kasargod, Purayil was suspected to be involved in the Jalalabad prison attack in August 2020. Another suspect who travelled with Abdulla and Ijas and later identified as Muhammed Muhsin, was said to be part of the Gurudwara attack in Kabul in March last year.
NIA officials have claimed to have identified some of the ISIS sympathisers who were found active on social media and are believed to be operating from Afghan-Pakistan borders.
Munsib is learnt to be active on social media and is believed to be involved in online recruitment. Officials said that Munsib is active at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Mullahs don’t have PhD, master’s degree; yet greatest of all: Afghanistan’s new Education Minister

A video of Sheikh Molvi Noorullah Munir is being widely shared on Twitter, wherein he is seen talking of education policy and of master’s degrees and PhD.

Kabul, Afghanistan, September 8 : The Taliban on Tuesday unveiled a hardline interim government led by Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund, with key roles being shared by high-profile members of the insurgent group, including a specially designated global terrorist of the dreaded Haqqani Network as the interior minister. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be Akhund’s deputy in the “new Islamic government”.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Molvi Noorullah Munir, who has been appointed the Taliban’s Minister of Education, has said master’s degrees and PhD are no more valuable in the country. Mullahs don’t have such degrees and yet are greatest of all, the education minister has said. 

A video of Sheikh Molvi Noorullah Munir is now being widely shared on Twitter, wherein he is seen talking of education policy and of master’s degrees and PhD. 

“This is the Minister of Higher Education of the Taliban — says No Phd degree, master’s degree is valuable today. You see that the Mullahs & Taliban that are in the power, have no Phd, MA or even a high school degree, but are the greatest of all,” he says in the video.

The announcement of the interim government in Afghanistan comes days after Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt Gen Hameed dashed to Kabul on an unannounced visit last week.

It was earlier reported that the new government in Kabul would be based on the lines of the Iranian leadership, with the group’s top religious leader Mullah Hebatullah as Afghanistan’s supreme authority. However, it was not yet clear what role Mullah Hebatullah will play in the new government.

Co-education banned in Afghanistan

Earlier in August, the Taliban officials in the restive Herat province had announced a ban on co-education in government and private universities, describing it as the ‘root of all evils in society’. This was the first ‘fatwa’ issued by the Taliban after its swift takeover of Afghanistan last week.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s longtime spokesman, in his first-ever public appearance, had even promised the Taliban would honour women’s rights within the norms of Islamic law.

During a three-hour meeting of university professors and owners of private educational institutions, Taliban representative and Head of Higher Education, Afghanistan, Mullah Farid had said there is no alternative and co-education must end.

He also said virtuous female lecturers would be allowed to teach only female students but not the male ones.

Farid called co-education the ‘root of all evils in society’, the report said.

In the last two decades, Afghanistan has implemented a mixed system of co-education and gender-based separate classes in all universities and institutes.

Educationalists said government universities would not be affected by the decision but private institutes would struggle with already a low number of female students.

Herat, according to official estimates, has 40,000 students and 2,000 lecturers in private and government universities and colleges.

Mullah Hasan to head proposed Taliban govt, Baradar to serve as his deputy

Mullah Hasan is presently head of the Taliban’s powerful decision-making body – Rehbari Shura or leadership council – which serves much like a government Cabinet running all the group’s affairs subject to the approval of the top leader.

Kabul, Afghanistan, September 7 : Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund, the chief of the Taliban’s powerful decision-making body ‘Rehbari Shura’, has been named as Afghanistan’s new head of state by the insurgent group’s top leader Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada, according to a Pakistani media report.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Chairman of Taliban’s Political Office in Doha, and Mullah Abdus Salam will work as deputies of Mullah Hasan in the new Taliban government, which is likely to be announced next week, The News International reported, citing multiple sources.

Mullah Hasan is presently head of the Taliban’s powerful decision-making body – Rehbari Shura or leadership council – which serves much like a government Cabinet running all the group’s affairs subject to the approval of the top leader.

Mullah Hebatullah himself proposed Mullah Hassan’s name to head the government, the paper said, adding that the issues within ranks of the Taliban regarding the formation of the government have been resolved.

According to the paper, Mullah Hassan belongs to Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, and was among the founders of the armed movement. He worked for 20 years as head of Rehbari Shura and remained close to Mullah Hebatullah.

He had served as foreign minister and deputy prime minister during the Taliban’s previous government in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

Mulla Yaqoob, son of the Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, will be the new defence minister, the paper said.

Yaqoob was a student of Mullah Hebatullah, who had earlier appointed him as head of the powerful military commission of the Taliban.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, the head of the notorious Haqqani network and son of the famous anti-Soviet warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani, is likely to get the portfolio of interior minister, while Mullah Ameer Khan Muttaqi will be the new foreign minister, according to the Taliban sources.

Sirajuddin Haqqani is a specially designated global terrorist. According to the FBI website, the US Department of State is offering a reward of up to USD 5 million for information leading directly to the arrest of Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is thought to stay in Pakistan, specifically the Miram Shah area in North Waziristan, and maintains close ties to the Taliban and al Qaeda.

He is wanted for questioning in connection with the January 2008 attack on a hotel in Kabul that killed six people, including an American citizen. He is believed to have coordinated and participated in cross-border attacks against the US and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

He was also allegedly involved in the planning of the assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2008, the FBI website noted.

Citing the Taliban sources, the paper said Mullah Zabiullah Mujahid, whose name was earlier proposed for information minister, will now be the spokesperson for the new head of state.

The Taliban last week postponed the formation of a new government as the insurgent group struggles to give shape to a broad-based and inclusive administration acceptable to the international community.

The development comes days after Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt Gen Hameed dashed to Kabul on an unannounced visit last week, amidst mounting pressure on the Taliban to form an inclusive government acceptable to the international community.

During his visit, the ISI chief had met Mullah Baradar and Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and discussed the current situation in Afghanistan.

According to reports, the new government in Kabul will be based on the lines of the Iranian leadership, with the group’s top religious leader Mullah Hebatullah as Afghanistan’s supreme authority.

In Iran, the supreme leader is the highest political and religious authority of the country. He ranks above the president and appoints the heads of the military, the government, and the judiciary. The supreme leader has the final say in the political, religious and military affairs of the country. 

Taliban fire in air to disperse crowd during anti-Pakistan rally in Kabul

Slogans like “azaadi, azaadi”, “death Pakistan”, “death to ISI” were raised during the protest.

Kabul, Afghanistan, September 7 : Taliban fired shots in the air to disperse hundreds of people who had gathered for an anti-Pakistan rally in Kabul on Tuesday, news agency AFP reported. Hundreds of locals, including women and children, were seen protesting, chanting slogans against Pakistan on the streets of Kabul, videos shared by local media showed.

Slogans like “azaadi, azaadi”, “death Pakistan”, “death to ISI” were raised during the protest where women in burqas walked on the road holding placards.

Pak intelligence chief’s visit to Kabul affirms Taliban is ISI’s ‘puppet’: Ex-Pentagon official

Kabul [Afghanistan], September 5 : Pakistan intelligence chief Faiz Hameed has taken an “emergency” trip to Kabul to resolve an evolving internal crisis in the Taliban after reports emerged about a clash between factions between in which the group co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar suffered injuries.
Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), writes in US-based 19 forty-five that the Hameed’s emergency visit affirms that they are merely an ISI puppet. The Taliban, which captured Kabul on August 15, has been delaying the announcement of the government formation in Afghanistan over the past few days.
While the group has not issued a statement over it yet, reports have emerged claiming that the government formation has been delayed due to differences between the Taliban and the Haqqani network over power-sharing.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the top Taliban leader who is set to head the new Afghan regime, was injured during the clash and is currently getting treated in Pakistan.
Signalling there a rift in the Taliban, Rubin said that the Haqqani and many other Taliban factions simply do not accept Haibatullah as their leader.
Pakistan intelligence chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed reached Kabul on Saturday leading a delegation of Pakistani officials.
“There is no official word of the appointment of Haibatullah Akhundzada whom the group’s representatives earlier signalled would be the Islamic Emirate’s supreme leader based in Kandahar,” he writes.
“That delay also postponed Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar’s efforts to become a political leader in Kabul. The delay may signal a much greater crisis within the Taliban, hence Hameed’s emergency trip,” Rubin adds.
The Pentagon former official said with his recent visit, Hammed’s hand in the toppling of the Afghan government has been exposed.
“With Hameed’s hand clearly exposed, the question for US policymakers then becomes why anyone should negotiate or recognize the Taliban when Hameed’s emergency visit affirms that they are merely an ISI puppet,” he adds.
“A far better approach for Washington, however, may be to designate Faiz Hameed as the terrorist he is and the organization he heads as a terrorist entity which for too long has victimized Afghanistan and undermined any hope Pakistanis have to be a democracy and a normal state,” he calls.
Pakistan and its notorious intelligence agency have been accused of supporting the Taliban in taking over Afghanistan.
Experts believe that Pakistan has been a key player in removing the elected Afghan government from power and establishing the Taliban as a decisive power in Afghanistan. Recently, a UN Monitoring report has said that a significant part of the leadership of Al-Qaida resides in Afghanistan and Pakistan border region. In the piece, Saleh hit out at the western power, saying betrayal of Afghanistan by the West is colossal.
Former Afghan vice president Amrullah Saleh has asserted that the Taliban are being micromanaged by Pakistan notorious intelligence agency–the ISI, adding that Islamabad is in-charge of the war-ravaged country effectively as a colonial power.

Kabul airport to become operational for commercial flights in few days, says Qatari envoy

Doha [Qatar]: Qatari Ambassador to Afghanistan Saeed bin Mubarak Al Khayarin on Saturday said that the repairing works at the Kabul airport is underway and will soon be ready to receive several commercial flights in the next few days.
“A group of specialists have prepared the airport for the flights with humanitarian assistance and will prepare [it] for receiving civilian flights in the near future,” the diplomat said, citing Al-Jazeera, reported Sputnik. The airport is already operating flights from Kabul to the cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Kandahar, he added.
Earlier, Al Jazeera reported that the domestic flights from Kabul will resume from Friday.
The airport has been closed since the last evacuation flight took off on September 1.
The last flight carrying American forces left Kabul in the early hours of Tuesday morning – ending 20 years of military presence in the country.

Taliban govt formation UPDATES: Pakistan ISI’s top official reaches Kabul

More than two weeks after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, the hardline Islamists are all set to announce the formation of a new government in Kabul on the lines of the Iranian leadership.

Kabul, Afghanista, september 4 : The formation of a new Afghan government by the Taliban, which was to be announced on Friday, may take place today (Saturday). Sources said that Chairman of Taliban’s Political Office, Doha, Qatar Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar is likely to be the head of the Taliban Government.

More than two weeks after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, the hardline Islamists are all set to announce the formation of a new government in Kabul on the lines of the Iranian leadership, with the group’s top religious leader Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada as Afghanistan’s supreme authority, a senior member of the group has said.

In Iran, the supreme leader is the highest political and religious authority of the country. He ranks above the president and appoints the heads of the military, the government, and the judiciary. The supreme leader has final say in the political, religious and military affairs of the country.

The Taliban also claimed they have taken control of the Panjshir valley and defeated the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA).

Google locks down Afghan govt email accounts as Taliban looks for access: Report

Google said Friday it was “taking temporary actions to secure relevant accounts,” but did not admit to a complete lockdown of the accounts.

Kabul, Afghanistan, September 4 : Google has temporarily locked down some Afghan government email accounts as the Taliban is attempting to access the former officials’ emails, Reuters reported.

Google said Friday it was “taking temporary actions to secure relevant accounts,” but did not admit to a complete lockdown of the accounts.

“In consultation with experts, we are continuously assessing the situation in Afghanistan. We are taking temporary actions to secure relevant accounts, as information continues to come in,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

The person familiar with the matter told the outlet the accounts were completely locked down as the information could be used to track down former government officials the group would harm.

Around two dozen officials, with some in the ministries of finance, industry, higher education and mines, used Google for official communications, according to Reuters, along with local governments and the office of the presidential protocol.

 An employee of the former government told Reuters that the Taliban had asked him in late July to save data on the ministry in which he was formerly employed for on servers the group could access.

“If I do so, then they will get access to the data and official communications of the previous ministry leadership,” the employee said, adding that he is now in hiding since he did not cooperate with the request.

Former government officials, activists, and vulnerable groups fear reprisal as the Taliban has taken control of Kabul.

This comes despite the Taliban has tried to portray a more moderate image this time than when they last seized power in 1996.

They have announced amnesty to all, including those who worked for western militaries or the Afghan government or police.

However, there have been reports that reality on the ground is quite different. Days after seizing control, the Taliban brutally executed a police chief who headed the police in Bagdhis province in Herat.

In July, Taliban massacred nine ethnic Hazara men after taking control of Afghanistan’s Ghazni province. 

According to Reuters, commandeering government databases and emails could provide information about employees of the former administration, ex-ministers, government contractors, tribal allies and foreign partners.

“It would give a real wealth of information,” said Chad Anderson, a security researcher with internet intelligence firm DomainTools.

“Just even having an employee list on a Google Sheet is a big problem,” he said, citing reports of reprisals against government workers. 

17 killed, 41 injured in Taliban’s celebratory gunfire in Kabul over Panjshir takeover claims

Afghan resistance forces based in Panjshir have denied the Taliban’s claim against the siege of the Shutul district of the province.

Kabul, Afghanistan, September 4 : At least 17 people were killed and 41 wounded in incidents of gun firing on Friday night in Kabul, Tolo News reported citing a hospital.
“Emergency Hospital in Kabul said 17 bodies and 41 wounded people were transferred to its facility with the harm caused by last night’s citywide firing into the air,” Tolo News tweeted. Yesterday, “celebratory gunfire” was heard in Kabul amid conflicting reports over the situation in Panjshir valley where Taliban fighters are fighting rival forces for control of Afghanistan’s final holdout province, Tolo News reported.
Heavy fighting is underway in Panjshir, the last Afghan province resisting rule by the Taliban.
According to certain media reports, more than 300 fighters from both sides have lost their lives during the fighting over the past few days.
Yesterday, the Taliban claimed that the province has fallen. However, the Northern Resistance Front has refuted the claim by the Taliban.
“News of Panjshir conquests is circulating on Pakistani media. This is a lie,” said Ahmad Massoud, who is leading the rebels.

The Taliban have claimed they are now in control of entire Afghanistan. “By the grace of Allah Almighty, we are in control of entire Afghanistan. The troublemakers have been defeated and Panjshir is now under our command,” Reuters quoted a Taliban commander as saying.

Meanwhile, the Afghan resistance forces based in Panjshir have denied the Taliban’s claim against the siege of the Shutul district of the province.

Former Afghanistan Vice President Amrullah Saleh on Friday said that resistance against the Taliban will continue in Afghanistan’s Panjshir province.

“The RESISTANCE is continuing and will continue. I am here with my soil, for my soil & defending its dignity,” Saleh tweeted.

Speaking from Panjshir with TOLOnews, Amrullah Saleh, a commander of the Resistance Front in Panjshir, said that he was in Panjshir and that clashes between the Resistance Front and the Taliban were ongoing.

Earlier in a tweet, Saleh alleged that the Taliban are committing war crimes and “have zero respect for Human Rights of Afghans” in the war-torn country. 

He also said that the Taliban have blocked humanitarian access to Panjshir while they are using “Military age men of Panjshir as mine clearance tools”.

In another recent development, Afghanistan local media has informed that Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar will lead the upcoming government in the country.

Baradar, who heads the Taliban’s political office in Doha, will be joined by Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of late Taliban co-founder Mullah Omar, and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, in senior positions in the government, Tolo News reported citing sources from the Islamic group.

Domestic flights from Kabul airport to resume on Friday

Doha [UAE], September 3 : The domestic flights from Kabul will resume on Friday. The airport has been closed since the last evacuation flight took off on September 1.
Citing an Afghan civil aviation official, the Doha-based Al Jazeera reported on Thursday said that he expected international flights “to take time”. Al-Jazeera earlier reported a Qatari technical team was assessing damage at the airport with plans to bring it back into operation.
This comes after the Taliban accused the United States of intentionally damaging equipment at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport during their withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Anas Haqqani, a key Taliban member, visited Kabul airport a day after the last American soldier left Afghanistan, and said the US had deliberately destroyed military equipment including helicopters, military vehicles and facilities, reported Ariana News.
The last flight carrying American forces left Kabul in the early hours of Tuesday morning – ending 20 years of military presence in the country.

Taliban declare victory from tarmac of Kabul airport after US withdrawal

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The Taliban on Tuesday declared victory over the United States from the tarmac of Kabul airport after the last American troop left Afghanistan.
Standing on the airport runway, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a small crowd that “This victory belongs to us all.” He was joined by heavily armed fighters from the Taliban’s Badri 313 special forces brigade, kitted out in camouflage uniforms and desert boots, reported CNN.
Mujahid congratulated the Taliban fighters lined up, and indeed “the whole of the nation.” He said the Taliban wanted to have “good relations with the US and the world.”
Videos showed Taliban fighters filling the night air with gunfire and walking through the airport. As the sun rose on Tuesday, footage showed the Taliban making their way through an abandoned hanger strewn with equipment the US left behind.
In one video, militants dressed in US-style uniforms and holding US-made weapons examined a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter parked inside a hangar. Taliban were also seen posing for photographs while sitting in the cockpits of planes and helicopters that once belonged to the Afghan Air Force, reported CNN.
On Tuesday morning, Afghanistan’s roughly 38 million people woke to a new phase of the Taliban’s takeover of the country for the first time since the 1990s, when it imposed a barbaric interpretation of Sharia law that banned girls from school, stoned women for adultery, and plunged the country into economic crisis.
The Taliban have pledged to govern more moderately this time around and said they would still allow foreign nationals and Afghans with proper documentation to leave the country after August 31. But many Afghans are sceptical of their claims, and huge question marks hang over the Taliban’s ability to run the country.
An immediate challenge for the Taliban will be securing Hamid Karzai International Airport, a vital lifeline to the rest of the world — both for Afghans and foreign nationals wanting to leave, and for aid to get in, reported CNN.
Afghanistan is heavily reliant on foreign aid, and the WHO and UNICEF have already struggled to get critical food and medical supplies to the airport amid the mass evacuation operation.
Even before the political upheaval of recent weeks, Afghanistan represented the world’s third-largest humanitarian concern, with over 18 million people requiring assistance, according to UNICEF. But with no commercial aircraft currently permitted to land in Kabul, getting aid in will be difficult.
Restarting commercial flights will also be crucial for people still wanting to leave the country but who did not make it onto military evacuation planes, reported CNN.

Afghanistan: Taliban holds meeting to discuss political, security, social issues

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid on Tuesday informed that “the Islamic Emirate leadership council” held a three-day meeting in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.
The meeting was headed by the Taliban’s leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, and it ended on Monday, Mujahid was quoted as saying by Tolo News. “The leadership council discussed Afghanistan’s political, security and social issues,” during the meeting, Mujahid said in a series of tweets.
“The council has also discussed issues around forming the new government and its cabinet and has taken some decisions on providing services to the people, Tolo News reported citing Mujahid’s tweets.
The developments came after the newly-appointed Kabul mayor, who is also the head of the Taliban’s municipality commission, Hamdullah Nomani on Monday enforced Sharia law in the capital.
The Taliban has been trying to paint a new picture from its earlier rule (1996-2001) when they enforced their version of Islamic Sharia law.
The Taliban earlier ruled in accordance with a harsh interpretation of Islamic law under which women were largely confined to their homes. But now the terrorists have sought to project themselves as a moderate group in recent years when they were negotiating peace talks in Doha.

Taliban declare victory from Kabul airport, promise security

In a show of control, turbaned Taliban leaders were flanked by the insurgents’ elite Badri unit as they walked across the tarmac. The commandos in camouflage uniforms proudly posed for photos.

Kabul, Afghanistan, august 31 : The Taliban triumphantly marched into Kabul’s international airport on Tuesday, hours after the final U.S. troop withdrawal that ended America’s longest war. Standing on the tarmac, Taliban leaders pledged to secure the country, quickly reopen the airport and grant amnesty to former opponents.

In a show of control, turbaned Taliban leaders were flanked by the insurgents’ elite Badri unit as they walked across the tarmac. The commandos in camouflage uniforms proudly posed for photos.

Getting the airport running again is just one of the sizeable challenges the Taliban face in governing a nation of 38 million people that for two decades had survived on billions of dollars in foreign aid.

“Afghanistan is finally free,” Hekmatullah Wasiq, a top Taliban official, told . “The military and civilian side (of the airport) are with us and in control. Hopefully, we will be announcing our Cabinet. Everything is peaceful. Everything is safe.”

Wasiq also urged people to return to work and reiterated the Taliban pledge offering a general amnesty. “People have to be patient,” he said. “Slowly we will get everything back to normal. It will take time.”

Just hours earlier, the U.S. military had wrapped up its largest airlift of non-combatants in history.

On Tuesday morning, signs of the chaos of recent days were still visible. In the terminal, rifled luggage and clothes were strewn across the ground, alongside wads of documents. Concertina wire stills separated areas while overturned cars and parked vehicles blocked routes around the civilian airport — a sign of measures taken to protect against possible suicide car bombers entering the facility.

Vehicles carrying the Taliban raced back and forth along the Hamid Karzai International Airport’s sole runway on the military side of the airfield. Before dawn broke, heavily armed Taliban fighters walked through hangars, passing some of the seven CH-46 helicopters the State Department used in its evacuations before rendering them unusable.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid addressed the gathered members of the Badri unit. “I hope you be very cautious in dealing with the nation,” he said. “Our nation has suffered war and invasion and the people do not have more tolerance.”

At the end of his remarks, the Badri fighters shouted: “God is the greatest!”

In an interview with Afghan state television, Mujahid also discussed restarting operations at the airport, which remains a key way out for those wanting to leave the country.

“Our technical team will be checking the technical and logistical needs of the airport,” he said. “If we are able to fix everything on our own, then we won’t need any help. If there is need for technical or logistics help to repair the destruction, then we might ask help from Qatar or Turkey.”

He didn’t elaborate on what was destroyed.

Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. military’s Central Command, earlier said troops disabled 27 Humvees and 73 aircraft so they cannot be used again. He said troops did not blow up equipment needed for eventually restarting airport operations.

The airport had seen chaotic and deadly scenes since the Taliban blitzed across Afghanistan and took Kabul on Aug. 15. Thousands of Afghans besieged the airport, some falling to their death after desperately hanging onto the side of an American C-17 military cargo jet. Last week, an Islamic State suicide attack at an airport gate killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members.

During the evacuation, U.S. forces helped evacuate over 120,000 U.S. citizens, foreigners and Afghans, according to the White House. Coalition forces also evacuated their citizens and Afghans. But for all who got out, foreign nations and the U.S. acknowledged they didn’t evacuate all who wanted to go.

On Tuesday, after a night that saw the Taliban fire triumphantly into the air, guards now blearily on duty kept out the curious and those still somehow hoping to catch a flight out.

“After 20 years we have defeated the Americans,” said Mohammad Islam, a Taliban guard at the airport from Logar province, cradling a Kalashnikov rifle. “They have left and now our country is free.”

“It’s clear what we want. We want Shariah (Islamic law), peace and stability,” he added.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative who oversaw America’s talks with the Taliban, wrote on Twitter that “Afghans face a moment of decision & opportunity” after the withdrawal.

“Their country’s future is in their hands. They will choose their path in full sovereignty,” he wrote. “This is the chance to bring their war to an end as well.”

But the Taliban face what could be a series of major crises as they fully take over the government. The majority of the billions of dollars Afghanistan holds in foreign reserves is now frozen in America, pressuring its now-depreciating Afghani currency. Banks have implemented withdrawal controls, fearing runs on their deposits in the uncertainty. Civil servants across the country say they haven’t received their salary in months.

Abdul Maqsood, a traffic police officer for the past 10 years on duty near the airport, said he hadn’t paid for the past four months.

“We keep coming to work but we are not getting paid,” he said.

Medical equipment remains in short supply, while thousands who fled the Taliban’s advance remain living in squalid conditions. A major drought also has cut into the country’s food supplies, making its imports even more important and raising the risk of people going hungry.

Also in question are the rights of women, who faced oppression under the Taliban’s earlier rule.

Schools have reopened, and on Tuesday morning dozens of elementary school students headed to schools in a neighborhood near the airport. The Taliban have ordered schools to be segregated but it is often not enforced for younger children.

“I am not afraid of the Taliban,” said Masooda, a fifth-grade student.

During the evacuation, U.S. forces helped evacuate over 120,000 U.S. citizens, foreigners and Afghans, according to the White House. Coalition forces also evacuated their citizens and Afghans. But for all who got out, foreign nations and the U.S. acknowledged they didn’t evacuate all who wanted to go.

Want good relations with the US and world, say Taliban as America pulls out of Afghanistan

The United States completed the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan on Monday, ending 20 years of war that culminated in the militant Taliban’s return to power.

Kabul, Afghanistan, August 31 : The Taliban is celebrating its takeover of Afghanistan. Its top spokesman congratulated Afghan people on their victory, hours after the last US troops left the country following 20 years of military intervention.

“Congratulations to Afghanistan… this victory belongs to us all,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said from the runway of Kabul airport. “We want to have good relations with the US and the world. We welcome good diplomatic relations with them all,” he added.

The US has said that Embassy in Kabul has suspended operations. “While the U.S. government has withdrawn its personnel from Kabul, we will continue to assist U.S. citizens and their families in Afghanistan from Doha, Qatar,” the website said.

Secretary Antony Blinken said that the US will continue to support humanitarian aid to the Afghan people, not through the government, but rather through independent organizations, like UN agencies & NGOs. “We expect that those efforts will not be impeded by the Taliban or anyone.”

“As of today, we have suspended our diplomatic presence in Kabul and transferred our operations to Doha, Qatar. We will use the post in Doha to manage our diplomacy with Afghanistan. US military flights have ended and our troops have departed Afghanistan,” he added.

The United States completed the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan on Monday, ending 20 years of war that culminated in the militant Taliban’s return to power.

According to a report in The Associated Press, as the final five US military transport aircraft lifted off out of Afghanistan Monday, they left behind up to 200 Americans and thousands of desperate Afghans who couldn’t get out and now must rely on the Taliban to allow their departure.

Death toll from US drone attack on Vehicle in Kabul Rises to 12: Reports

Kabul [Afghanistan], August 30 : The death toll from a US drone attack near the Kabul airport has climbed to 12, Al Jazeera reported on Monday.
CNN initially reported that the attack had claimed the lives of nine civilians, including six children. On Sunday, media reported that the US Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban confirmed an airstrike on a car filled with explosives, prompted by the alleged threat of the Islamic State-Khorasan terrorist group.
The terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the bombings at the Kabul airport on Thursday, which killed 13 American soldiers and more than 170 other people.
The only international airport in Afghanistan has recently been the centre of rapid evacuations carried out by several countries, who have elected to fly their citizens, diplomatic missions, and associated Afghan nationals out of the country after the Taliban (banned in Russia) takeover.

Another attack at Kabul airport highly likely in 24-36 hours, warns Joe Biden

After getting briefed on a US drone mission in Afghanistan that the Pentagon said killed 2 members of IS group’s Afghanistan affiliate early Saturday, Prez Biden said the extremists can expect more.

Washington, USA, August 30 : In order to keep up airstrikes against the Islamic extremist group whose suicide bombing at the Kabul airport killed scores of Afghans and 13 American service members, United States (US) President Joe Biden promised on Saturday. He said, another terror attack, is ‘highly likely’ this weekend as the US winds down its evacuation.

The Pentagon said that the remaining contingent of US forces at the airport, now numbering less than 4,000, had begun their final withdrawal ahead of Joe Biden’s deadline for ending the evacuation on Tuesday.

After getting briefed on a US drone mission in eastern afghanistan that the Pentagon said killed two members of the Islamic State (IS) group’s Afghanistan affiliate early Saturday, Biden added the extremists can expect more.

“This strike was not the last,” Biden said in a statement. “We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay.” He paid tribute to the “bravery and selflessness” of the American troops executing the hurried airlift of tens of thousands from Kabul airport, including the 13 U.S. service members who were killed in Thursday’s suicide bombing at an airport gate.

“Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours,” Biden said, adding that he has instructed them to take all possible measures to protect their troops, who are securing the airport and helping bring onto the airfield Americans and others desperate to escape Taliban rule.

The remains of the 13 American troops were on their way to the United States, the Pentagon said. Their voyage marked a painful moment in a nearly 20-year American war that cost more than 2,400 U.S. military lives and is ending with the return to power of a Taliban movement that was ousted when U.S. forces invaded in October 2001.

The remains of troops killed in action overseas are usually flown back to the U.S. via Dover Air Base in Delaware, where fallen troops’ return to U.S. soil is marked by a solemn movement known as the “dignified transfer.”

The White House on Saturday did not say if Biden would travel to Dover for the troops’ return. Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, said shortly after the attack that the president “would do everything he can to honor the sacrifice and the service” of those killed.

The Pentagon released the names of those killed- 11 Marines, one Navy sailor and one Army soldier. Twelve of them were in the 20s; some were born in 2001, the year America’s longest war began. The oldest was 31.

They were the first U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan since February 2020, the month the Trump administration struck an agreement with the Taliban in which the militant group halted attacks on Americans in exchange for a U.S. agreement to remove all troops and contractors by May 2021. Biden announced in April that the 2,500 to 3,000 troops who remained would be out by September, ending what he has called America’s forever war.

With Biden’s approval, the Pentagon this month sent thousands of additional troops to the Kabul airport to provide security and to facilitate the State Department’s chaotic effort to evacuate thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Afghans who had helped the United States during the war. The evacuation was marred by confusion and chaos as the U.S. government was caught by surprise when the Afghan army collapsed and the Taliban swept to power Aug. 15.

About 5,400 Americans have been evacuated from the country so far, including 300 in the last day. The State Department believes about 350 more want out; it said there are roughly 280 others who have said they are Americans but who have not told the State Department of their plans to leave the country, or who have said they plan to remain.

Untold numbers of vulnerable Afghans, fearful of a return to the brutality of pre-2001 Taliban rule, are likely to be left behind. Biden and the leaders of other Western countries have said they would try to work with the Taliban to allow Afghans who had worked with them to leave after the U.S.-led evacuation ends.

The Pentagon said that about 6,800 people, mostly Afghans, were flown out in the 24 hours that ended Saturday morning, bringing to 113,500 the total number of people of all nationalities evacuated since the hurried exit was begun Aug. 14.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. military force at the Kabul airport, which peaked at about 5,800, had begun its final withdrawal. The number had dropped below 4,000 on Saturday, according to a U.S. official who discussed details not yet publicly released on condition of anonymity. Kirby said that for security reasons the Pentagon will not provide a day-by-day description of the final stages of the military’s withdrawal, which includes flying home troops as well as equipment.

The Pentagon said an airstrike early Saturday local time in the eastern province of Nangarhar, which borders Pakistan, killed two IS “planners and facilitators.”

“They have lost some capability to plan and to conduct missions, but make no mistake, nobody’s writing this off and saying, ‘Well, we got them. We don’t have to worry about ISIS-K anymore.’ Not the case,” Kirby told a news conference, using an abbreviation for the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan.

Biden also faces the problem over the longer term of containing an array of potential extremist threats based in Afghanistan, which will be harder with fewer U.S. intelligence assets and no military presence in the nation. Critics say Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan leaves the door open for al-Qaida, the Islamic State and other extremist groups to grow and potentially threaten the United States. It was al-Qaida’s use of Afghanistan as a base, with the Taliban’s acquiescence, that prompted the United States to invade the country in October 2001, beginning the longest war in U.S. history.

Saturday’s drone mission came less than two days after the Kabul attack and a public pledge by Biden that he would make IS “pay” for their suicide bomb attack. Officials made no claim that the two individuals killed played a direct role in Thursday’s Kabul airport attack.

Kirby declined to release the names and nationalities of the two killed. He said one other person was wounded in the strike. The speed with which the U.S. retaliated reflected its close monitoring of IS and years of experience in targeting extremists in remote parts of the world. But it also shows the limits of U.S. power to eliminate the threat from extremists, who some believe will have more freedom of movement in Afghanistan now that the Taliban is in power.

Kirby said the U.S. had “the ability and the means to carry over-the-horizon counterterrorism capabilities and we’re going to defend ourselves,” referring to the military’s use of aircraft based in the Persian Gulf area and elsewhere to carry out strikes in Afghanistan.

Child killed, 3 people injured in rocket attack in Kabul

Kabul [Afghanistan], August 29 : A child has been killed and three people were injured in a massive blast in the capital city of Afghanistan, the local media said on Sunday.
A rocket had landed on a residential building near the Kabul airport, killing a child, Sputnik reported citing the 1TV broadcaster. As per the report, the rocket hit the Khwaja Bughra area of Kabul. Earlier today, a massive explosion was heard near Kabul airport. This blast occurred merely two days after twin blasts rocked Kabul, which killed nearly 200 people, including 13 US servicemen.
This comes as the US is on the verge of completing its exit from Afghanistan.
US President Joe Biden had on Saturday had said that another terrorist attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport is “highly likely in the next 24-36 hours.” Moreover, US Embassy in Kabul had also issued a security alert for the same.
“Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours,” Biden had said in his statement.

Taliban orders civilians to hand over weapons, ammunition, vehicles, govt property

Kabul [Afghanistan], August 29 : The Taliban on Saturday ordered Afghans to hand over vehicles, weapons, ammunition and other government property to concerned authorities.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued the directive on Twitter, reported Geo News.
“Announcement by the security of the Islamic Emirate: All those in Kabul city who possess vehicles, weapons, ammunition, or other government property, are being informed to handover the said items to the relevant authorities of the Islamic Emirate within a week in order to avoid any legal action against them,” wrote Zabihullah.

Similar orders were issued by the Taliban earlier, directing the civilians to surrender the weapons they had kept for their safety since “the Taliban are now there to ensure your safety”, reported Geo News.

Less than a couple of weeks since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, the state of affairs in the war-ravaged country, is vastly different from what the outfit had pledged with respect to human rights.

On August 15, Kabul had fallen to the Taliban and since then people are in a state of terror with increasing cases of human rights abuses being reported from several parts of the country.

In recent weeks, the United Nations has received harrowing and credible reports of the impact on civilians of violations of international humanitarian law, as well as violations and abuses of human rights.

Soon after capturing the capital city, the terrorist group had announced an amnesty for government officials and assured women of basic rights. “However, the past few days have seen women being punished, people from the minority Hazra community being killed and children being subjected to violence,” the IFFRAS report said.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), justice for women’s rights offenders in Afghanistan remains elusive and the law that aims to provide legal protection to women is becoming ineffectual as the Taliban makes more territorial gains across the country.

There are grave fears for women, for journalists and for the new generation of civil society leaders who have emerged in the past years. Afghanistan’s diverse ethnic and religious minorities are also at risk of violence and repression, given previous patterns of serious violations under Taliban rule and reports of killings and targeted attacks in recent months. (ANI)

Taliban seals off Kabul airport, stops people as evacuation process nears end

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The Taliban on Saturday sealed off Kabul airport in order to prevent large crowds from leaving the war-torn country as final NATO evacuation flights left Afghanistan.

New layers of checkpoints sprang up on roads leading to the airport, some manned by uniformed Taliban fighters with Humvees and night-vision goggles captured from Afghan security forces, reported Euronews.
The massive US-led airlift wound down ahead of an August 31 deadline of the Taliban. Britain too began bringing its troops home from Afghanistan, as a Royal Air Force plane carrying soldiers landed at the RAF Brize Norton airbase northwest of London.

The troops are part of a contingent of 1,000 that has been based in Kabul to help run the airlift, reported Euronews.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised Friday to “shift heaven and earth” to get more people from Afghanistan to Britain by other means, though no concrete details have been offered.

Italy’s final evacuation flight of refugees from Afghanistan also landed at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport. The Italian Air Force C-130J with 58 Afghan citizens aboard arrived Saturday morning, some 17 hours after it departed from the Kabul airport and after a planned stopover, reported Euronews.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden on Saturday (local time) warned that another terror attack at Kabul airport is “highly likely in the next 24-36 hours”.

“The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high. Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours,” Biden said in a statement.

The remarks come after a suicide bomber and multiple ISIS-K gunmen killed 13 US service members and at least 169 Afghan civilians in the attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday.

The US Embassy in Afghanistan also urged Americans to leave the Kabul airport area because of a specific threat in Afghanistan.

“Due to a specific, credible threat, all U.S. citizens in the vicinity of Kabul airport (HKIA), including the South (Airport Circle) gate, the new Ministry of the Interior, and the gate near the Panjshir Petrol station on the northwest side of the airport should leave the airport area immediately,” the embassy said in a security alert on Saturday (local time).

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. (ANI)

Two US Congressmen urge Biden to recognise Amrullah Saleh as legitimate govt of Afghanistan

Kabul/Washington, Aug 28: In a joint statement after talks with Afghanistan’s caretaker President Amrullah Saleh, US Senate Republican Lindsey Graham and Congressman Mike Waltz have called on US President Joe Biden to recognise Saleh and Ahmad Massoud, who is leading the resistance in Panjshir, as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

Waltz, from Florida, in a statement said the Biden administration should recognise that the Afghan constitution is still in force and the Taliban’s seizure of power is illegal.

They also said in the statement that Panjshir in northeastern Afghanistan, which has not been taken over by the Taliban, should be declared a humanitarian zone.

The statement said that Saleh and Massoud chose to stay and fight for the freedom of the Afghan people and oppose extremism.

They also called on the president to designate the Afghan Taliban as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and urge him to publicly support Congressional efforts to stand with “our friends in the Panjshir Valley who will serve as a bulwark against regional terror”.

The statement read:

“On Friday, U.S. Congressman Mike Waltz (FL-6) and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (SC) released the following joint statement:

“After speaking with Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh and representatives of Ahmad Massoud, we are calling on the Biden Administration to recognize these leaders as the legitimate government representatives of Afghanistan. We ask the Biden Administration to recognize that the Afghan Constitution is still intact, and the Afghan Taliban takeover is illegal.

“These leaders chose to stay and fight for the freedoms of the Afghan people and oppose extremism. They have established a safe haven in the Panjshir Valley for Americans left behind, our allies, and those seeking freedom from Afghan Taliban rule. They will also be on the front lines in the fight against global Islamic Extremism, which will continue to plot attacks against the West in the wake of our withdrawal from the region.

“We call on President Biden to designate the Afghan Taliban as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and we urge him to publicly support Congressional efforts to stand with our friends in the Panjshir Valley who will serve as a bulwark against regional terror.”

Waltz tweeted: “After speaking with Afghan VP Amrullah Saleh & Reps of Ahmad Massoud,

@LindseyGrahamSC & I are calling on Pres. Biden to support a humanitarian safe zone in Afghanistan and Congressional efforts to stand with opposition forces in the Panjshir Valley.”

Separately, Saleh tweeted on the Kabul blasts that killed over 100 people and left scores injured.

“The world must not bow to terrorism. Let’s not allow Kabul airport to be the site for humiliation of humanity & “rules based world order”. Let’s believe in our collective effort and energy. Defeatist psyche puts you under risk more than terrorists. Don’t die psychologically,” he tweeted.

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.

Pentagon says only one suicide bomber in Kabul attack, second not confirmed

Washington [US] August 27 : A senior Pentagon official on Friday informed that there was only one suicide bomber near Kabul airport and the reports about the second explosion have not been confirmed.
The initial reports about a second suicide explosion at the Baron hotel near Kabul airport have not been confirmed, Sputnik reported. “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 are not sure how that report was provided incorrect,” said US Army Major General William “Hank” Taylor during a press conference.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden said the United States has reason to believe the leaders of the Islamic State-Khorasan terror group are behind the attacks at the Kabul airport that killed 13 US service members.
Biden also said the Islamic State-Khorasan has planned complex attacks against US forces and others in Afghanistan after they were released from prisons during the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

No clarity about any entity forming govt in Kabul: India

New Delhi, Aug 27: India said on Friday that the situation on the ground in Afghanistan is very uncertain, and there is no clarity about any entity forming a government in Kabul.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, answering queries at a media briefing, said that the situation in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover on August 15 is very fluid.

“The situation on the ground is uncertain, as you all know. The prime concern is the security and safety of the people.”

Asked if India is prepared to recognise a Taliban regime in Afghanistan, he said: “Currently there is lack of clarity or no clarity about any entity forming a government in Kabul… So I think we are jumping the gun here regarding recognition.”

“We of course continue to monitor the situation very carefully; this is an evolving situation, and we are in touch with all stakeholders,” he added.

Ever since taking over Kabul, the Taliban have been holding talks with different politicians and groups across Afghanistan, as well as envoys of foreign countries, including Qatar and China. Though the Taliban announced a few days ago that they are close to announcing formation of a government there has been no movement so far.

According to reports, the Taliban are planning to set up a caretaker government that will include leaders from all ethnicities and tribal backgrounds in the country.

Referring to the statement issued on Thursday night, the spokesperson said that India has issued a statement strongly condemning the deadly suicide bombings outside Kabul airport.

“We are in touch with various countries and partners,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar have been holding conversations with partners on Afghanistan.

He said the conversations were also taking place at the Foreign Secretary level and at the level of senior officials.

“It is a matter of concern that this kind of security situation happened there. We will continue to be closely in touch with all our partners on this issue,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has discussed the Afghan situation in his telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while Jaishankar has held talks with his counterparts from Germany, the US, France and Britain, among other countries.

Iranian President says neighboring countries should support the formation of an “inclusive” Afghan government

Iran President Raisi spoke on Thursday during a meeting with visiting Pakistani foreign minister to Tehran, saying other nations should only play the role of a “facilitator for establishing a broad-based and inclusive government with the presence of all people and groups.”

Tehran, Iran, August 27 : Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Afghanistan’s neighbors should support the formation of a broad-based government in Kabul.

Raisi spoke on Thursday during a meeting with visiting Pakistani foreign minister to Tehran, saying other nations should only play the role of a “facilitator for establishing a broad-based and inclusive government with the presence of all people and groups.”

The remarks were posted on Raisi’s website. He said Iran has hosted some 4 million Afghan refugees in the past four decades and it has supported the people of Afghanistan. The presence of Western nations in the region would not be conducive to its “security,” he alleged.

Iran has seen the presence of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq as a threat on its doorstep. It has welcomed the U.S. evacuation even as it cautiously looks to the next moves by the Taliban.

Unlike in 1998, when Iran came to the brink of war with the Taliban over the killings of several Iranian diplomats in Afghanistan after the Taliban came to power, Iranian state media have in recent weeks claimed that the Taliban have changed and pose no threat to Iran.

Critics, however, warn that the Taliban will return to their anti-Iranian stance as soon as they shore up their full control of Afghanistan.

UK’s evacuation into ‘final hours’ in Afghanistan: UK Defence Secretary

London [UK], August 27 : UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on Friday (local time) said that its evacuation mission is in ‘final hours’ in Afghanistan, four days prior to the August 31 deadline by the Taliban.
Wallace told Sky News the effort was into its “final hours” after the closure of the main processing center in Kabul at the Baron Hotel near the airport. He said, “We at 4.30 this morning, UK-time, closed the Baron Hotel, shut the processing center and the gates were closed at Abbey Gate.
“We will process the people that we’ve brought with us, the 1,000 people approximately in the airfield now and we will seek a way to continue to find a few people in the crowds where we can, but overall the main processing is now closed and we have a matter of hours.
“The sad fact is not every single one will get out. The threat is obviously going to grow the closer we get to leaving,” said Wallace.
People eligible to be resettled in the UK will be left behind as the final British flights leave on Friday following an attack at Baron Hotel that closed just hours after an attack which was claimed by terror group ISIS-K, outside the Kabul airport that killed 13 US troops and 78 Afghans, reported Sky News.
Wallace said he had authorized the loosening of regulations on numbers “to pack people in” on the final flights out. It is expected about 600 people will now be able to board military transporters.
The defense secretary said the night before the attack the British Army had pushed a perimeter away from the Barons Hotel by about 300 meters, reported Sky News.
“If they hadn’t pushed that perimeter further out we’d be in a worse place,” he added.
Defense sources told Sky News up to half of those crowding into the Baron Hotel yesterday for processing were not cleared under the Afghanistan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) for interpreters or the Leave Outside the Immigration Rules (LOTR) scheme, making processing difficult.
The roughly 1,000 UK troops at the airport will start packing up and leaving after the final evacuations have taken place today, the defense secretary said.
He would not confirm whether they would remain in Kabul until the 31 August deadline the US has set, reported Sky News.
People who were unable to get processed should make their way to land borders and the UK will make sure its visa processing facilities in neighbouring countries are working hard to get Afghans to the UK, Wallace said.
After the US warned of an imminent terror attack on Wednesday, most countries ended their evacuation efforts on Thursday ahead of the bombing.

Pakistan’s reputation in West to plummet after Taliban takeover of Afghanistan

Pakistan, nominally a US partner in the war against terrorism, sees the Taliban’s victory as its own in Afghanistan. Jane Perlez, in an article in The New York Times said that Pakistan’s already shaky reputation in the West is likely to plummet now, as the Taliban take over Afghanistan.

Islamabad [Pakistan], August 27 : Calls to sanction Pakistan have already circulated on social media. Moreover, amid the absence of foreign financing, Pakistan will have to rely on a jihadist drug trade encouraged by the new rulers in Kabul. A Taliban-run state on its border will no doubt embolden Taliban and other Islamist terrorists in Pakistan itself, said Perlez.
Pakistan was ostensibly America’s partner in the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Its military won tens of billions of dollars in American aid over the last two decades, even as Washington acknowledged that much of the money disappeared into unaccounted sinkholes.
In the last three months as the Taliban swept across Afghanistan, the Pakistani military waved a surge of new fighters across the border from sanctuaries inside Pakistan, tribal leaders have said. It was a final coup de grace to the American-trained Afghan security forces, said Perlez.
“The Pakistanis and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) think they have won in Afghanistan,” said Robert L Grenier, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) station chief in Pakistan. But, he warned, the Pakistanis should watch what they wish for. “If the Afghan Taliban becomes leaders of a pariah state, which is likely, Pakistan will find itself tethered to them.”
Perlez also said that Pakistan is not only the real winner. Pakistan, along with China is helping fill the space the Americans have vacated in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover. The embassies of the two nations have remained open since the Taliban seized Kabul.
A Pakistani protege, Khalil Haqqani, a Taliban leader who was a regular visitor to Pakistan’s military headquarters in Rawalpindi, is one of the new rulers of Afghanistan, reported The New York Times.
Known to American intelligence as the Taliban emissary to Al Qaeda, Haqqani showed up in Kabul last week as their new chief of security, brazenly armed with an American-made M4 rifle, with a protection squad dressed in American combat gear.
The nexus between the Pakistanis and the victorious Haqqani was indisputable and indispensable to the Taliban victory, said Douglas London, a former CIA counterterrorism chief for South and Southwest Asia.
The head of the Pakistani army, Qamar Javed Bajwa, and the head of the ISI, Hameed Faiz, met with Haqqani on a “recurring basis,” London said. The extended Haqqani family has long been known to live in the largely ungoverned areas of Pakistan along the Afghan border, reported The New York Times.
Pakistan’s help, he said, encompassed a gamut of services. Safe havens in the borderlands of Pakistan, particularly in the city of Quetta, sheltered Afghan Taliban fighters and their families.
Medical services treated wounded fighters, sometimes in hospitals in the major cities, Karachi and Peshawar. Free rein for the Haqqanis to run lucrative real estate, smuggling and other businesses in Pakistan kept their war machine churning, reported The New York Times.
The ISI also provided the Taliban with assets that elevated their international status. The Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar travelled on a Pakistani passport to attend peace talks in Doha, Qatar, and to meet in Tianjin, China, with Wang Yi, the Foreign Minister.

Australia ends Afghanistan evacuation efforts

Canberra [Australia], August 27 : Australia’s evacuation mission from Afghanistan has ended, authorities said on Friday. Australian Minister for Defense Peter Dutton confirmed on Friday that Australian troops have left Afghanistan before the deadly bombing attacks at the Kabul airport. The suicide bombings which occurred on Thursday night local time killed dozens including 13 American troops.
The Australian government has not been able to confirm whether any Australians or visa holders were injured, according to local media.
“Not too long before the attack, I can confirm that Australian troops and the rest of our personnel were wheels up and out of Kabul and I am so grateful that they are now safe,” Dutton said.
The Australian and New Zealand Defense Forces flew more than 4,000 people out of Kabul.
Dutton told local media there was “very clear intelligence” that further attacks were likely but that the decision to leave Kabul was still a difficult one.
“It’s an impossible situation, because the intelligence was clear to us that if we allowed our soldiers to stay on with the near certainty of terrorist attacks, then we would lose… Australian lives,” he said. “That wasn’t a risk we were prepared to take.”

Evacuation resumes at Kabul airport a day after ISIS suicide attack killed over 100

Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport on Thursday which killed more than 100 people, including 13 US troops. The Islamic State group (ISIS) claimed responsibility of the Kabul airport suicide attack.

Kabul, India, August 27 : More than 100 people were killed, including 13 US troops and over 150 were wounded when two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport. The blasts came hours after Western officials warned of a major attack, urging people to leave the airport. Near about 5,000 people were awaiting flights on the airfield.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility of the Kabul airport suicide attack. The IS affiliate in Afghanistan is far more radical than the Taliban, who recently took control of the country in a lightning blitz. The Taliban were not believed to have been involved in the attacks and condemned the blasts, according to AP reports.

One of the bombers struck people standing knee-deep in a wastewater canal under the sweltering sun, throwing bodies into the fetid water. The second blast was at or near Baron Hotel, where many people, including Afghans, Britons and Americans, were told to gather in recent days before heading to the airport for evacuation. 

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has vowed to “hunt” down the terrorists and make them “pay” for the deadly attacks outside the Kabul airport. “To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm notice, we will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command,” Biden told reporters at the White House on Thursday.

US flight carrying 400 evacuees arrives in Spain

A US military aircraft has flown around 400 people evacuated from Afghanistan to the navy base of Rota, in southern Spain — the first group of up to 4,000 people expected there. The flight landed at 9:40 am local time on Friday, a statement from the US embassy in Spain said. US officials, American and Spanish soldiers, Red Cross workers and base volunteers are in charge of processing the arrivals.

Kabul airport suicide attack death toll: At least 95 Afghans killed in Thursday’s bombings

An official says at least 95 Afghans were killed in Thursday’s suicide bombings outside Kabul’s international airport. The official said the actual death toll is even higher because others were involved in evacuating bodies.

UK enters final stage of evacuation at Kabul airport

The UK has entered the final stage of its Afghanistan evacuation operation. The UK is closing its evacuation handling centre in Kabul and no more people will be called forward to the airport to leave, the Ministry of Defence says. “It is with deep regret that not everyone has been able to be evacuated during this process,” Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.

Japan to continue evacuation from Kabul undeterred by blasts

Tokyo, Aug 27: Japan will continue to evacuate its citizens and diplomatic staff from Kabul despite the deadly blasts that rocked the airport, claiming many lives, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said on Friday.

On Thursday, the Afghan capital was hit by a series of terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of at least 60 people and injured over 1,300 others, according to the Afghan health ministry. The Islamic State-Khorasan terrorist group (banned in Russia) reportedly claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Commenting on the attacks, the official said that Tokyo vigorously condemned them and offered condolences to the families of the victims. No Japanese citizens were injured in the attacks, he added.

90 Afghans, 13 US troops killed in ISIS attack outside Kabul airport

Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport on Thursday which killed more than 100 people, including 13 US troops. The Islamic State group (ISIS) claimed responsibility of the Kabul airport suicide attack.

Kabul, Afghanistan, August 27 : More than 100 people were killed, including 13 US troops and over 150 were wounded when two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport. The blasts came hours after Western officials warned of a major attack, urging people to leave the airport. Near about 5,000 people were awaiting flights on the airfield.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility of the Kabul airport suicide attack. The IS affiliate in Afghanistan is far more radical than the Taliban, who recently took control of the country in a lightning blitz. The Taliban were not believed to have been involved in the attacks and condemned the blasts, according to AP reports.

One of the bombers struck people standing knee-deep in a wastewater canal under the sweltering sun, throwing bodies into the fetid water. The second blast was at or near Baron Hotel, where many people, including Afghans, Britons and Americans, were told to gather in recent days before heading to the airport for evacuation. 

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has vowed to “hunt” down the terrorists and make them “pay” for the deadly attacks outside the Kabul airport. “To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm notice, we will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command,” Biden told reporters at the White House on Thursday.

ISIS-K chief is Shahab al Muhajir, who was Mid level Commander of Haqqani earlier.

ISIS-K was founded by former members of Pakistani Taliban, Afghan Taliban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Over time, though, the group has poached terrorist from various other groups. The Kabul operatives of IS-K are more sophisticated and almost entirely drawn from the HQN.

US Navy CNO Gilday pays tribute to soldiers killed in Kabul airport attack

US Navy Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday on Thursday (local time) paid solemn tribute to 13 American troops who were killed in the Kabul airport terror attack. “Their courage and selflessness represent the highest ideals of America. We pay solemn tribute to their sacrifice. To the families and loved ones who grieve – you are not alone,” tweeted Gilday.

Kamala Harris condemns Kabul terror attack

Vice President Kamala Harris condemned the Kabul terror attack in which 13 US service members were killed.

US evacuated approx 7,500 people on Thursday before ISIS suicide attack

“Since August 14, the US has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 100,100 people” from Afghanistan, White House says. Over a 12-hour period on Thursday, when an Islamic State suicide attack killed dozens, “approximately 7,500 people were evacuated”

Talibs denying links with ISIS is similar to denial of Pak on Quetta Shura: Amrullah Saleh

US flag to fly at half-mast until August 30 in honour of Kabul attack victims

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, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

“As a mark for respect, starting today, the United States flag will be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds… until sunset on August 30, 2021, in honour of the victims of the senseless acts of violence in Kabul,” Psaki said.

Deepest condolences to the loved ones and teammates: US Defence Secretary

“I express my deepest condolences to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and wounded in Kabul today. We will not be dissuaded from the task at hand,” US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin III 

This tragedy should have never been allowed to happen: Donald Trump on Kabul terror attack

IS says it targeted US troops in Kabul, Afghans

Islamic State group’s affiliate in Afghanistan has claimed responsibility for the attack outside the Kabul airport. The IS branch, known as The Islamic State-Khorasan Province after a name for the region from antiquity, said in its claim of responsibility that it targeted American troops and their Afghan allies.

‘We will hunt you down and make you pay’: Joe Biden warns Kabul airport attackers

2 suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport on Thursday, killing at least 60 Afghans and 13 US troops.

Washington, USA, August 27 : President Joe Biden has vowed to “hunt” down the terrorists and make them “pay” for the deadly attacks outside the Kabul airport in which 13 US service members were killed and 18 others wounded.

Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport on Thursday, killing at least 60 Afghans and 13 US troops.

“To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm notice, we will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command,” Biden told reporters at the White House on Thursday.

The president said the ISIS-K was behind the gruesome attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul and at a hotel nearby.

“As you all know, the terrorist attacks that we’ve been talking about and worried about within the intelligence community, was an undertaking attack by a group known as ISIS-K,” Biden said.

“They took the lives of American service members standing guard at the airport and wounded several others seriously. They also wounded, a number of civilians, and civilians were killed as well,” he said.

Biden said he has ordered his commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities.

“We will respond with force and precision at our time at the place we choose in a moment of our choosing these ISIS terrorists will not win,” he said.

He asserted that the US is determined to continue with its mission to evacuate American nationals from Kabul and complete the mission by August 31.

August 31 is the cut-off date set by both the US and the Taliban for America’s pullout from the war-torn country.

“We can and we must complete this mission and we will. That’s what I’ve ordered them to do. We will not be deterred by terrorists. We will not let them stop our mission. We will continue the evacuation,” Biden said.

“We will complete our mission, and we will continue after our troops have withdrawn, to find means by which we can find any American who wishes to get out of Afghanistan. We will find them, and we will get them out,” he added.

IS-K has links with Taliban, Haqqani network, says Amrullah Saleh

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The self-proclaimed ‘caretaker’ President of the Afghanistan Amrullah Saleh on Friday said that the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (IS-K) has links with the Taliban and the Haqqani network, particularly the ones operating in Kabul.
Saleh also hit out at the Taliban for denying links with the Islamic State terror group (ISIS) and said that it is similar to the denial of Pakistan on Quetta Shura. “Every evidence we have in hand shows that IS-K cells have their roots in Talibs & Haqqani network particularly the ones operating in Kabul. Talibs denying links with ISIS is identical/similar to the denial of Pakistan on Quetta Shura. Talibs have learned very well from the master. #Kabul,” Saleh said in a tweet.
Earlier, Saleh had blamed Pakistan for setting up terrorist factories and agencies that provide explosives materials to the Taliban in order to create chaos in Afghanistan and called Quetta Shura nothing else but a title for the Pakistani military to implement their plans.
The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack outside the Kabul airport in Afghanistan.
In a message shared on its Amaq News Agency, the group claims the blasts killed and wounded some 160 and includes a photo of a man it says was a suicide bomber.
Afghan health officials gave varying estimates of the toll at the international airport in Kabul, the capital — from at least 30 dead to more than 60, and from 120 wounded to 140 — while a Taliban spokesman cited at least 13 civilians killed and 60 wounded, reported The New York Times.
The first blast was reported at the Abbey Gate in Kabul airport while the second one was near the Baron Hotel.
US President Joe Biden said the United States has reason to believe the leaders of the Islamic State-Khorasan terror group are behind the attacks at the Kabul airport.
Biden said the Islamic State-Khorasan has planned complex attacks against US forces and others in Afghanistan after they were released from prisons during the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

US President orders flags at half-staff till Aug 30 to honour victims of Kabul terror attack

Washington DC [US]: US President Joe Biden on Thursday (local time) ordered that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the federal government till August 30 to honour the victims of Kabul attack.
While honouring the victims of the attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Biden said, “As a mark of respect for the US service members and other victims killed in the terrorist attack on August 26, 2021, in Kabul, Afghanistan, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, August 30, 2021.” US President also directed that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
“In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth,” he added.
Earlier, US President said the United States has reason to believe the leaders of the Islamic State-Khorasan terror group are behind the attacks at the Kabul airport.
Biden said the Islamic State-Khorasan has planned complex attacks against US forces and others in Afghanistan after they were released from prisons during the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
As many as 13 US troops were killed and 15 service members were injured including numerous Afghan civilians 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.

Second explosion reported in Kabul, near hotel where Americans gathered

Kabul [Afghanistan]: A second explosion struck Kabul on Thursday near a hotel in Afghanistan’s capital, where US citizens were gathering to be evacuated.
A second explosion took place after a suicide bombing earlier in the day near the gates of the Kabul airport, which killed at least 11 people and injured several including three US troops. Soon after the first explosion at Kabul airport, France Ambassador to Afghanistan had warned of a second possible explosion at the airport.
“To all our Afghan friends: If you are near the airport gates, getaway urgently and take shelter. A second explosion is possible,” tweeted French envoy David Martinon.
Earlier, Pentagon had confirmed reports of the first explosion outside from outside of the Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday.
“We can confirm an explosion outside Kabul airport. Casualties are unclear at this time. We will provide additional details when we can,” said John Kirby, Assistant to the US Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.
According to a local reporter, a suicide attacker blew himself up in the middle of a large crowd and another attacker started shooting. “AFG Explosion took place outside of the eastern gate of airport and gunfire is underway. There are casualties and fatalities, multiple eyewitnesses tells me,” Afghan reporter Bilal Sarwary tweeted.
In recent days, Kabul airport has been witnessing chaotic scenes as people are reaching the airport in hurry to escape from the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

Ten people killed, over 15 injured in Kabul airport explosion – Source

Kabul, Aug 26: Ten people were killed and over 15 others injured in the explosion outside Kabul airport, a source at the emergency hospital told Sputnik on Thursday.

“Ten bodies and more than 15 wounded had been brought in, including children and the Taliban [banned as a terrorist organization in Russia],” the source said.

“The blast was very heavy and grenades were hurled after the blast,” another source added.

IAF plane carrying 24 Indian, 11 Nepalese evacuees from Kabul lands at Hindon Airport

Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh) [India], August 26 : Indian Air Force aircraft C-17 Globemaster, carrying 24 Indian and 11 Nepalese evacuees from Kabul landed at Hindon Airport on Thursday, under Operation Devi Shakti.
“Indian Embassy and Indian Government rescued us and brought us here to Delhi. We are very thankful to them,” said Shiva, a Nepali national among the people who were evacuated from Afghanistan and brought to India. Earlier today, Ministry of External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had informed about the evacuation flight via Twitter. “Op Devi Shakti in action!@IAF_MCC flight with 24 Indian and 11 Nepalese evacuees from Kabul is on its way to Delhi. #DeviShakti,” Bagchi tweeted.
The evacuation operation that came against the backdrop of the Taliban’s takeover of the country last week is known as “Operation Devi Shakti”. This operation comes as MEA had urged all Indian nationals in Afghanistan requiring assistance to contact Special Afghanistan Cell immediately to move out of the war-torn country.
As many as 565 people, including 112 Afghan nationals, have been evacuated by India from Afghanistan since the Taliban seized control of the war-torn country, the Ministry of External Affairs informed the floor leaders of political parties in Parliament on Thursday.
According to sources, the ministry shared details on the recent developments in Afghanistan with floor leaders of various political parties in Parliament. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar briefed the leaders.
Among the 565 evacuees, 175 were embassy personnel, 263 other Indian nationals, 112 were Afghan nationals including Hindus and Sikhs and 15 were third-country nationals, sources said.
Afghanistan’s situation is worsening as people are in rush to leave the nation after the Taliban seized control last week. On August 15, the country’s government fell, soon after President Ashraf Ghani left the nation.

Macron invites Tajik President to visit France

Paris [France] August 26 : French President Emmanuel Macron has invited his Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rahmon, to visit Paris, the Elysee Palace said on Thursday, with the two leaders set to continue the discussion on recent developments in Afghanistan following their phone conversation.
“The republic’s president invited president Emomali Rahmon to come to France. He will receive him on October 13,” the palace said in a statement. During the phone call, which took place on Wednesday, the leaders also discussed the consequences of the Taliban takeover in Kabul and Afghan refugees.
“They agreed to continue the exchange of view in order to ensure stability and security in the region,” the statement added.
The Tajik leader’s office, in the meantime, told Sputnik that Rahmon briefed Macron on Dushanbe’s measures to beef up security at the Tajik-Afghan border in light of the recent developments.
The sides agreed to continue consultations on Afghanistan and decided to instruct their foreign ministers to be in constant contact on the matter.
The Tajik president also thanked his counterpart for his initiative to discuss current issues of the Tajik-French relations and topical issues of the international and regional agenda.

Taliban, Northern Alliance reach a peace agreement, agree not to attack each other: Report

Afghanistan crisis: The agreement reached between the two parties will be announced during a press conference by the Taliban and Northern Alliance.

Kabul, Afghanistan, August 26 : Amid the Afghanistan crisis, the Taliban and Northern Alliance have agreed from attacking each other, Geo News quoted sources as saying. This could come as a significant development at a time when the Taliban is on a spree in its conquest to capture the country.

Geo News quoted well-informed sources saying that the Taliban and Northern Alliance have decided not to attack each other following successful dialogues. 

The talks between the two parties took place in the Charikar area of Parwan province in the last two days. Moreover, the agreement reached between the two parties will be announced during a press conference by the Taliban and Northern Alliance.

Jaishankar says Afghanistan situation critical; 15,000 requests received for evacuation

Jaishankar is briefing the floor leaders of all the Opposition parties on the prevailing situation in Afghanistan.

New Delhi, India, Augusat 26 : The government on Thursday briefed leaders of political parties on the situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power in the war-ravaged country. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar briefed the leaders on the latest situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban captured power there last week. Besides Jaishankar, Union Minister and Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi are also present during the briefing in Parliament House annexe.

Apart from India’s evacuation mission from Afghanistan, the ministers are also expected to share the government’s assessment of the situation in the war-torn country. NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, DMK’s T R Baalu, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel are some of the leaders attending the crucial meet.

The government started evacuating its citizens from the war-ravaged country as the Taliban entered the presidential palace in the Afghan capital on August 15 and declared its victory over the government after months of violence.

India, on August 17, had also announced that it would issue an emergency e-visa to Afghan nationals who want to come to the country in view of the prevailing situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban captured power there.

India has evacuated 626 people including 228 Indian citizens from Afghanistan till Tuesday, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said. “626 people including 228 Indian citizens have been evacuated from Afghanistan till now. The number of Afghan Sikhs who have been evacuated is 77,” Puri had informed earlier.

Earlier on August 17, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and instructed all concerned officials to undertake all necessary measures to ensure the safe evacuation of Indian nationals from Afghanistan in the coming days.

Tolo news reporter, cameraman beaten up by Taliban

A Tolo news reporter Ziar Yaad and his cameraman were beaten up by the Taliban in Kabul while they were working on a report on Wednesday.

Kabul [Afghanistan], August 26 : Ziar Yaad and his cameraman Baes Majidi were filming footage of jobless people and labourers in Haji Yaqoob square in the Shahr-e-Naw area of Kabul city on Wednesday morning when the Taliban beat them up. The reason is unclear, reported Tolo News. ” I was beaten by the Taliban in Kabul’s New City while reporting. Cameras, technical equipment and my personal mobile phone have also been hijacked,” said Yaad in his tweet.

Both of them were reporting on poverty and unemployment at the Haji Yaqub intersection in Kabul when they were caught unawares by the Taliban.
Meanwhile, a number of journalists said that the Taliban should not treat journalists badly, reported Tolo News.
Yaad also said that the Taliban took away his mobile phone. “When I took the picture, the Taliban came and without asking who we were, shouted and took my mobile phone. They beat me with weapons,” added Yaad.
Earlier, it was reported that Yaad was shot dead by the Taliban. Negating the news, Yaad took to Twitter and said that false news about his death had been circulating.
“Some people have spread the news of my death which is false. The Taliban got out of an armoured Land Cruiser and hit me at gunpoint,” he tweeted.

France to stop evacuation flights from Kabul airport before Aug 31 deadline

France on Thursday announced that it will stop evacuation flights from Kabul airport starting from Friday, four days before the expiry of the August 31 deadline by the Taliban.

Paris [France], August 26 : French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that his country will not be able to conduct evacuation flights from the Kabul airport starting from Friday, reported Sputnik. “From tomorrow night we will no longer be able to carry out evacuation [flights] from the Kabul airport,” Castex told RTL radio.
Earlier this week, French government spokesman Gabrial Attal said that France may end operations to evacuate people from Afghanistan in near future but did not specify the exact date, reported Sputnik.
All land border crossings from Afghanistan are currently controlled by the Taliban.
The evacuation of foreign citizens and Afghans who worked for international missions is carried out through the only airport in Kabul, which is held by the military of the United States and other NATO member countries.
The Taliban said they do not intend to provide additional time to the US to evacuate people after August 31.
Meanwhile, after the United States and the United Kingdom, Australia has also asked its citizens to not visit Kabul airport as the situation in Afghanistan remains “highly volatile” and there is an ongoing and very high threat of terrorist attack.
Earlier, several countries had urged the US to extend its deadline for troops drawdown as several foreign citizens and vulnerable Afghans are still stuck in the war-ravaged country.

Operation Devi Shakti: 24 Indian, 11 Nepalese evacuees from Kabul en route to Delhi

The evacuation operation from Afghanistan in the backdrop of the Taliban’s takeover of the country last week is known as “Operation Devi Shakti”.

New, Delhi, India, August 26 : An Indian Air Force (IAF) flight carrying 24 Indian and 11 Nepalese evacuees from Kabul is on its way to Delhi under Operation Devi Shakti.

“Op Devi Shakti in action!@IAF_MCC flight with 24 Indian and 11 Nepalese evacuees from Kabul is on its way to Delhi. #DeviShakti,” tweeted Ministry of External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

The evacuation operation from Afghanistan in the backdrop of the Taliban’s takeover of the country last week is known as “Operation Devi Shakti”.

Earlier, MEA had urged all Indian nationals in Afghanistan requiring assistance to contact Special Afghanistan Cell immediately to move out of the war-torn country.

Up till now, around 626 people from Kabul have been evacuated that covered Indian citizens as well as Afghan nationals including Sikhs and Hindus of Afghanistan.

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday informed that a total of 626 people including 228 Indian citizens have been evacuated from Afghanistan till now. He also informed out of them, 77 were Afghan Sikhs.

Afghanistan’s situation is worsening as people are in rush to leave the nation after the Taliban seized control last week. On August 15, the country’s government fell soon after President Ashraf Ghani left the nation. 

Taliban accuses US troops of being responsible for Kabul airport chaos

Kabul [Afghanistan]: As countries around the world are evacuating citizens from the war-torn country, the Taliban has accused the United States troops of being the main cause behind the misery at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.


Afghanistan is witnessing its worst-ever crisis in decades as the Taliban’s control has forced people to flee the nation fearing their atrocities. At least seven people were killed on Sunday near the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul as people attempted to flee the Taliban-controlled country. Head of the Taliban’s commission for guidance and encouragement, Mullah Amir Khan Motaqi in a voice clip said that entire Afghanistan is secure and no casualty is recorded but the US cannot secure an airport.


He called the ongoing evacuation by the US illegitimate.
Motaqi added that no one is confined in Afghanistan and everyone who wants to leave Afghanistan will be allowed through a legitimate process and having a visa but reiterated that the US’s vacation without a visa is a violation of international law.


“The US in the past twenty years used all its tools to suppress Afghan people but achieved nothing. Now they are suppressing people in Afghanistan through economic pressure which is an ethical crime,” Motaqi said.
Countries have been evacuating their citizens from the war-torn nation speedily. The Kabul airport is witnessing heavy chaos due to instability in the region.
The US has evacuated nearly 10,400 people from war-torn Afghanistan in the past 24 hours, a White House official said on Monday.


“Since August 14, the US has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 37,000 people. Since the end of July, we have relocated approximately 42,000 people,” the official added.


Earlier on Friday, 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.

US evacuates 10,400 people from Afghanistan

Washington [US]: The US has evacuated nearly 10,400 people from war-torn Afghanistan in the past 24 hours, a White House official said.


“From August 22 at 3:00 AM EDT to August 23 at 3:00 AM EDT, nearly 28 US military flights (25 C-17s and 3 C-130s) evacuated approximately 10,400 people from Kabul,” the official said. “Since August 14, the US has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 37,000 people. Since the end of July, we have relocated approximately 42,000 people,” the official added.


In addition, 61 coalition aircraft evacuated approximately 5,900 people from Afghanistan.
On Friday, 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.


Biden on Saturday also said that his administration may extend his August 31 deadline for removing all American troops from Afghanistan, and he pledged that all evacuated Afghan allies will be given a home in the United States after they are screened and vetted at bases in other countries.


Afghanistan’s situation is dwindling as people are in rush to leave the nation after the Taliban seized control last week. On August 15, the country’s 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.

Taliban hold first ‘Loya Jirga’ after capturing power in Kabul

Kabul, Aug 23: After capturing power in Afghanistan, the Taliban on Monday held their first ‘Loya Jirga’ or grand assembly, attended by hundreds of religious leaders.

Taliban spokesperson Zabehullah Mujahid said it is the first-ever Loya Jirga held in the Afghan capital after the fundamentalist group took over Kabul.

While addressing the Jirga, Mujahid said that young men and women would work to help build the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. He also spoke about the education system in the country.

Hundreds of religious leaders attend the Taliban’s preaching and guidance commission at the Loya Jirga.

“Your jihad was for the Islamic system and Islamic rule. Don’t be afraid of anything,” Mujahid told the Loya Jirga.

He said Afghanistan will be self-sufficient through the implementation of economic plans.

The Taliban have also said that girls can study from the first grade to higher education.

Meanwhile, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is sending a delegation to Kabul to meet the Taliban leaders.

India evacuates another 75 Sikhs from Kabul

New Delhi [India]: Indian authorities on Monday evacuated another 75 Sikhs amid the deteriorating situation in war-torn Afghanistan.


These people are being evacuated from Kabul via Dushanbe and will arrive in India late at night, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee Chief Manjinder Singh Sirsa informed. “Update from Afghanistan- Another 75 Sikhs are being evacuated today from Kabul via Dushanbe who will arrive in India late night today. We thank PM Office India and Ministry of External Affairs for their massive support,” Sirsa said in a tweet.


Afghanistan’s situation is dwindling as people are in rush to leave the nation after the Taliban seized control last week. On August 15, the country’s government fell soon after President Ashraf Ghani left the nation.


Countries have been evacuating their citizens from the war-torn nation. Meanwhile, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs had said the government is committed to the safe return of all Indian nationals from Afghanistan.

Leave Afghanistan by August 31 or face ‘action’: Taliban warn United States

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan two weeks before the United States was set to complete its troop withdrawal.

Kabul, Afghanistan, August 23 : The Taliban have warned of ‘action’ against American troops if the Joe Biden government fails to complete the withdrawal of all the military forces from Afghanistan by August 31.

“President Biden announces that they will withdraw all the military forces by august 31, if they extend it, it means they are extending the occupation.. if they intent on continuing the evacuation, it will provoke action …,” Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan, Suhail Shaheen, said.

Notably, Biden had on Sunday said that his administration might extend his August 31 deadline for evacuating all American troops from Afghanistan. The military has evacuated 28,000 people since August 14 from Kabul since the Taliban seized control of the country.

“Our hope is we will not have to extend, but there are going to be discussions, I suspect, on how far along we are in the process,” the President said.

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid announced that talks on the formation of a new government with Afghanistan political leaders were underway and that a new government will be announced soon.

“Our political officials met with leaders here in Kabul, their views are important, discussions are moving, there is hope for an announcement on the government soon,” Mujahid said.

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan two weeks before the United States was set to complete its troop withdrawal. US President Joe Biden had in April announced that all American troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11 this year, thus bringing to end the country’s longest war, spanning across two decades. Since the US-led invasion that ousted the Taliban after the September 11, 2001 attacks, America has spent more than USD 1 trillion in fighting and rebuilding in Afghanistan. About 2,400 US soldiers have been killed, along with tens of thousands of Afghan troops, Taliban insurgents and Afghan civilians. 

The Taliban, which refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), is a terrorist organization. Thousands of Afghans rushed into Kabul’s main airport on Monday, some so desperate to escape the Taliban that they held onto a military jet as it took off and plunged to their deaths.

Passengers from Afghanistan found COVID positive

Two persons out of the 146 passengers who landed in Delhi from Afghanistan on Monday were found positive for COVID-19.

New Delhi [India], August 23 ): Rajendra Kumar, Sub Divisional Magistrate said, “Two people coming from Afghanistan have been found COVID positive. They have been sent to LNJP Hospital.” The second batch of 146 Indian nationals who were evacuated from Afghanistan via Doha arrived in the national capital on Monday on various flights.
India on Sunday brought back nearly 400 people including 329 of its nationals in three different flights.
Up till now, around 400 individuals from Kabul have been evacuated that covered Indian citizens as well as Afghan nationals including Sikhs and Hindus of Afghanistan.
Earlier on Saturday, government sources told ANI that India has been allowed to operate two flights per day from Kabul to evacuate its nationals stranded in Afghanistan.
Permission has been granted by the American and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, which have been controlling operations of the Hamid Karzai International Airport after the Afghan capital was taken over by the Taliban on August 15.
Hundreds of Indian nationals have to be taken out of Kabul, which is now under the Taliban’s control. India is airlifting its citizens through Dushanbe in Tajikistan and Qatar. The Indian Air Force has already evacuated around 180 passengers including its Ambassador to Afghanistan and all other diplomats

Talks underway, new govt to be announced soon: Taliban

Some Afghan political leaders, however, criticised the way the talks are taking place, saying that the political process should be inclusive.

kabul, Afghanistan August 23 : Talks on the formation of a new government with Afghan political leaders are underway, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has said, adding that a new government will be announced soon. In a statement to TOLO News, Mujahid said, “Our political officials met with leaders in Kabul, their views are important, discussions are moving, there is hope for an announcement on the government soon.”

Earlier on Saturday, members of the Taliban’s political office met in Kabul with a number of politicians including former President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, the head of High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), and discussions focused on the overall political situation including the formation of an inclusive government.

The members of the Taliban’s political office who arrived in Kabul on Saturday include Shahabuddin Delawar, Abdul Salam Hanafi, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhaw and Abdul Rahmand Fida.

Abdullah in a Facebook post confirmed the meeting with the Taliban leaders, saying that discussions were focused on the political process and the formation of an inclusive government.

Some Afghan political leaders, however, criticised the way the talks are taking place, saying that the political process should be inclusive.

“I don’t see this game as a good one because it looks like a game of individuals, everyone tries to promote himself and does not show respect for the Afghans,” said Sayed Eshaq Gailani, the head of the Nahzat-e-Hambastagi Afghanistan party.

In the meantime, Atta Mohammad Noor, the former governor of Balkh, said that the next government will not be acceptable if it is not inclusive.

“The war has not ended, we have a long way to go, we will test them (the Taliban), we will emerge again either to resolve it through an inclusive government or war.”

Taliban evicted from 3 districts in Afghanistan’s Baghlan

Meanwhile, public uprising forces have evicted Taliban fighters from three districts in Afghanistan’s northern Baghlan province, but the insurgents managed to recapture one of them, local media reported. The anti-Taliban fighters seized Pul-e-Hisar, Deh Salah and Banu districts on August 20, but the Taliban recaptured Banu on August 21 and fighting is underway to re-take two more districts.

After gaining control of the capital Kabul on August 15, the Taliban fighters captured the said districts and thus completed its rule over Baghlan province.

This is the first uprising against the Taliban since Kabul was captured by the group.

Taliban fighters have already strengthened their rule over the country’s 33 out of 34 provinces.

Panjshir is the only province that has remained out of the Taliban’s grip, where Ahmad Massoud, the son of former anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, has challenged the Taliban rule over the country.

Afghan security force member killed as gunfight erupts at Kabul airport

Anti-Taliban fighters claimed to have seized three mountainous districts, and a prominent militia commander in the only province not yet under Taliban control pledged to fight back if attacked.

Kabul, Afghanistan, August 23 : One Afghan security force member was killed, while three others were injured after a gunfight erupted at Kabul airport on Monday. According to a statement by Germany’s armed forces, the firefight broke out between unidentified gunmen, Western security forces and Afghan guards at the North Gate of Kabul airport, when thousands were trying to flee the country.

Earlier on Sunday, at least seven Afghans died after people tried to enter Kabul’s international airport. The incident was reported as thousands were still trying to flee the country in a chaotic exodus a week after the Taliban takeover.

The Taliban moved to confront the first stirrings of armed resistance since capturing nearly all of Afghanistan in a matter of days earlier this month. 

Anti-Taliban fighters claimed to have seized three mountainous districts, and a prominent militia commander in the only province not yet under Taliban control pledged to fight back if attacked.

The British military on Sunday acknowledged at least seven deaths at the airport. Others may have been trampled, suffocated or suffered heart attacks as Taliban fighters fired into the air to try to drive back the crowds. 

Soldiers covered several corpses in white clothing. 

Other troops stood on concrete barriers, trying to calm the crowd.

Kabul’s airport, now one of the only routes out of the country, has seen days of chaos since the Taliban entered the capital on August 15. Thousands poured onto the tarmac last week, and several Afghans plunged to their deaths after clinging to a US military cargo plane as it took off, some of the seven killed on August 16.

The Taliban have pledged amnesty to those who worked with the US, NATO and the toppled Afghan government, but many Afghans still fear revenge attacks. 

There have been reports in recent days of the Taliban hunting down their former enemies. It’s unclear if Taliban leaders are saying one thing and doing another, or if fighters are taking matters into their own hands.

Outside the airport on Saturday, Western troops in full combat gear tried to control crowds big enough to be seen in satellite photos. They carried away some who were sweating and pale. 

With temperatures reaching 34 degrees Celsius (93 F), the soldiers sprayed water from a hose on those gathered and gave out bottled water.

“The situation at Kabul airport remains extremely challenging and unpredictable,” a NATO official said on condition of anonymity in keeping with regulations. The official was not able to confirm a precise number of casualties.

The US Embassy, which has relocated to the military side of the airport, has told American citizens and others not to come to the airport until they receive precise instructions.

China positioning itself as international partner to Taliban in temptation of rare Earth materials in Afghanistan

                

Kabul [Afghanistan]: China is clearly positioning itself to be a major international partner to the Taliban after the fall of Kabul as it is eyeing Afghanistan’s USD 1-2 trillion worth of rare Earth materials — most notably lithium.

James Stavridis – 16th Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, wrote in Nikkei Asia said that China seeks to consolidate as much control as they can over strategic supply chains for everything from microchips to electric car batteries, they want primacy in Kabul — and will be the first major nation to recognise the new regime.
Following the spectacular collapse of the American-trained Afghan army, the triumph of the Taliban, and the humiliating withdrawal under combat conditions of the remnants of the US diplomatic mission, Afghanistan seemingly reverts to 2001 — run by hardline religious zealots determined to follow strict Sharia law.

However, there are many warlords in Afghanistan who will not be ready to bend their knees to the terrorist outfit. Moreover, there are Tajiks and Hazaras who have traditionally opposed the Taliban — who have no love for what they see as Pashtun fanatics from Kandahar.

Afghanistan has a long and rich tradition of internal squabbling once an external foe is ejected, says Stavridis.

The notable exception, who will benefit from the Taliban, is Pakistan which trained the group in the early 1990s.

“For Pakistan, this is a moment of triumph. They have assiduously supported the Taliban for the past two decades, both to control terrorist groups that occasionally threaten Pakistan and to deny India a foothold in a country on the other side of their border,” Stavridis outlined.

Closely aligned with China internationally, Pakistan will seek to partner with the Chinese in exploiting the mineral wealth and blocking India from a role with the Taliban regime. Pakistan also wants a certain level of stability to avoid mass illegal migration, something they have dealt with repeatedly from Afghanistan, reported Nikkei Asia.

For most of the 19th century, the Russian and British empires contended over Afghanistan in what was known as the Great Game.

The geopolitical competition recognised the strategic position of Afghanistan, and its potential to influence South Asia.

Both the Brits and the Russians, of course, were defeated over time in Afghanistan, the so-called “graveyard of empires.”

However, for the moment, the dominant force in Afghanistan now is China. Thus the Great Game continues, with China in the lead with the support of Pakistan. (ANI)

Afghan returnees to be vaccinated against polio

India on Sunday evacuated 168 people including 107 Indians from Kabul in a military transport aircraft of the IAF amid the deteriorating security situation in the Afghan capital city following its takeover by the Taliban a week back.

New Delhi, India, August 22 : India has decided to vaccinate Afghanistan returnees against polio for free as a preventive measure against the wild poliovirus, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Sunday. The minister also shared a photo where returnees could be seen getting jabs at the Delhi international airport.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries in the world where polio is still endemic.

“We have decided to vaccinate Afghanistan returnees with free Polio Vaccine – OPV & fIPV, as a preventive measure against Wild Polio Virus.Congratulations to the Health Team for their efforts to ensure public health Take a look at the vaccine drive at Delhi International Airport,” Mandaviya tweeted.

India on Sunday evacuated 168 people including 107 Indians from Kabul in a military transport aircraft of the IAF amid the deteriorating security situation in the Afghan capital city following its takeover by the Taliban a week back.

The country had earlier 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.

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.

Afghanistan: 7 killed at Kabul Airport as people try to flee country

Kabul [Afghanistan] August 22 : At least seven people were killed on Sunday near the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul as people attempted to flee the Taliban-controlled country.
UK Defence Ministry said that “conditions on the ground are extremely challenging but we are doing everything we can to manage the situation as safely and securely as possible,” Sputnik reported citing UK media. The developments came a day after US embassy in Afghanistan advised its nationals in Kabul to avoid travelling to Hamid Karzai International Airport, citing potential security threats outside the airport’s gates.
Afghanistan is witnessing its worst-ever crisis in decades as the Taliban’s control has forced people to flee the nation fearing their atrocities.
Terrorists on the streets of Kabul are reportedly preventing people from entering the airport using force. The situation continues to deteriorate at the airport and around its perimeter, which is under Taliban control.

Everything is finished’ : Afghanistan MP, evacuated from Kabul, breaks down upon landing in India

New Delhi [India], August 22 : An Afghan parliamentarian who was evacuated from Kabul broke down after landing at Ghaziabad’s Hindon air force base early on Sunday.
A visibly anguished MP Narender Singh Khalsa had to frequently wipe away his tears as he talked to reporters and told that “everything is now finished.” “I feel like crying…Everything that was built in the last 20 years is now finished. It’s zero now,” he said when a reporter asked him about how he feels after being forced to leave his country.
The Sikh parliamentarian was among the 168 evacuees, including 23 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus onboard IAF’s C-17 Globemaster aircraft that took off from Kabul airport earlier today.

The Afghanistan MP further said that at least 200 Hindu Sikhs are stranded in the war-torn country.
“The situation is worrisome. But religious places are safe as of now,” he added.
Khalsa also said, “The Taliban is troubling MPs, senators and others by conducting searches in their homes and seizing guns and vehicles.”
Earlier he had put out a video in which he thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian government for rescuing people from Afghanistan, which was taken over by the Taliban a week ago. He expressed extreme gratitude to the government for safely evacuating him and others to India amid a situation of crisis.
An Afghan woman who was among the evacuees said that situation was worrisome in her country.
“Situation was deteriorating in Afghanistan, so I came here with my daughter and two grandchildren. Our Indian brothers and sisters came to our rescue. They (Taliban) burnt down my house. I thank India for helping us,” she said.
Several others also thanked the Indian government for conducting timely evacuation of people.
There was visible joy and relief on the faces of people who arrived from Afghanistan.

Among the evacuees were several children and an infant too. “An infant has also landed in a special IAF flight to India without a passport,” an evacuation co-ordinating official told ANI.
The IAF aircraft took off from Afghanistan’s Kabul earlier this morning with 168 people including 107 Indian nationals onboard.
The passengers were taken for COVID-19 RT-PCR test at the airport.
According to government sources, India has been allowed to operate two flights per day from Kabul to evacuate its nationals stranded in Afghanistan.
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 after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
Countries have been urgently evacuating their citizens from the war-torn nation as tens of thousands of people attempt to flee the country. The Kabul airport is witnessing nowadays a heavy chaos due to instability in the region.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said the government is committed to the safe return of all Indian nationals from Afghanistan.

Brutal video reportedly shows Afghan police chief executed by Taliban

Video footage has emerged of what appears to be an Afghan police chief being brutally executed by the Taliban after he surrendered to the group.

Kabul [Afghanistan] August 22 : A video posted circulated on Twitter appears to show Haji Mullah Achakzai, who headed the police in Bagdhis province in Herat. The man in the clip is blindfolded and kneeling before several bullets ring out and his lifeless body flops onto the ground, New York Post reported. “This is their public amnesty,” a US journalist who posted the clip on his account wrote in a sarcastic comment.
The video follows a “general amnesty” announced on Tuesday by the Taliban for all Afghan government officials and urged them, including women, to return to work.
The terrorist group also shared the video through a Taliban-related network, Afghan security advisor Nasser Waziri, who personally knew Achakzai, told Newsweek adding that the clip was verified by other police officers and government officials.
The Taliban have also released 340 “political prisoners” in Farah province in western Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is witnessing its worst-ever crisis in decades as the Taliban control has forced people to seek evacuations as they fear the atrocities they might face under the Taliban. Afghans have flocked to the Kabul airport in order to flee the Taliban.
Terrorists on the streets of Kabul are reportedly preventing people from entering the airport using force. The situation continues to deteriorate at the airport and around its perimeter, which is under Taliban control.
Soon after the terror group claimed control of the Afghan capital, several countries evacuated their diplomatic personnel from the country, and thousands of people flocked to the Kabul airport in a desperate attempt to leave Afghanistan.
The world is closely watching the unfolding situation in Afghanistan as the countries have scrambled to evacuate their citizens from Afghanistan in an attempt to secure their people.

Finally Home: flight from Kabul with 168 evacuees lands at Hindon IAF base

                

Ghaziabad [Uttar Pradesh] [India]: A special Indian Air Force repatriation flight ferrying 168 evacuees from Kabul landed at the Ghaziabad Hindon air base here on Sunday.

The flight had 107 Indian nationals among those evacuated from Afghanistan, which has been overtaken by the Talban a week ago. Passengers who arrived here will first undergo a COVID RT PCR test.
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.

Spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs (MEA), Arindam Bagchi, tweeted earlier to say that two Nepalese citizens were among those on board the Air India flight from Kabul.

“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,” he tweeted very early on Sunday morning. (ANI)

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.

Germany airlifts another 172 evacuees from Kabul to Tashkent

Tashkent [Uzbekistan]: The Airbus A400M military transport aircraft of the German Air Force delivered another 172 evacuees from the Afghan capital to Uzbekistan, an employee of the Tashkent International Airport told.


“Last night, an Airbus A-400M of the German Air Force delivered another group of evacuees from Kabul, with 172 passengers on board,” an airport official said, adding that they would then fly to Frankfurt. After the security situation in Afghanistan worsened, Uzbekistan served as an intermediate evacuation point for Afghan nationals seeking escape to foreign countries. On Thursday, the Uzbek transport ministry told that Tashkent loaned its aircraft to Germany for evacuation at the request of the German embassy in Uzbekistan.


Berlin continues to evacuate its citizens and Afghan nationals from the Central Asian country, with over 1,000 people already transported to Tashkent since the operation began.


On August 15, the Taliban entered Kabul, causing the Afghan government to collapse. The change of power has forced thousands of Afghans to depart from the country for fear of reprisals from the Taliban, adding to the hectic situation at Kabul airport.

We must prevent terrorists entering Afghanistan : Putin

Speaking about Afghanistan, the Russian president said the “irresponsible politics of imposing foreign values from outside must be stopped”.  

Moscow , Russia, August 21 : Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday criticised the politics of “imposing foreign rules from outside” during a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel was in Moscow to discuss the crisis in Afghanistan, the separatist conflict in Ukraine and Moscow’s treatment of imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, among other issues.

Speaking about Afghanistan, Putin said the “irresponsible politics of imposing foreign values from outside must be stopped”.

He went on to say that Russia learned itself how counterproductive it is to impose foreign forms of government on Afghanistan, referencing the Soviet invasion of the country that ended in withdrawal in 1989.

He added that “it’s important to prevent the incursion of terrorists to countries neighbouring Afghanistan”.

Scroll to Top