LIVE: 'Whether it's Afghanistan or India, LeT, JeM operating with impunity'

EAM Jaishankar. Photo: ANI
Afghanistan crisis LIVE updates: The Taliban have pledged not to seek "revenge" against their opponents in Afghanistan in their first press conference since taking power, as the United States said they would hold the terrorists to their promises to respect human rights. The Taliban announcements came Tuesday after the return of their to Afghanistan of their co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

The Taliban have agreed to allow “safe passage” from Afghanistan for civilians struggling to join a US-directed airlift from the capital, US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser said on Tuesday after reports emerged of some civilians “being turned away or pushed back or even beaten” as they tried to reach the Kabul international airport.

Meanwhile, the Afghan vice president claimed that after President Ashraf Ghani fled in the face of the Taliban sweep into Kabul over the weekend and with his whereabouts unknown, the vice president is the country’s ‘legitimate’ caretaker president.

Stay tuned for latest news on Afghanistan Taliban crisis


MEA urges Indian nationals in Afghanistan requiring assistance to contact special Afghan cell

UNESCO calls for preservation of Afghanistan's cultural heritage in its diversity

The UNESCO Thursday called for the preservation of Afghanistan's cultural heritage in its diversity, and taking all precautions to protect the country's historic assets from "damage and looting", amid deepening crisis in the war-torn nation since the Taliban takeover.
In a statement, the UNESCO also reminded of the "deliberate destruction" of the iconic Bamiyan Buddhas, a world heritage site in Afghanistan's Bamiyan Valley, in 2001.
Amid the rapidly unfolding events, and 20 years after the deliberate destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay has called for preservation of cultural heritage of Afghanistan, the statement said.
Azoulay shared the UNESCO statement and tweeted, "We are calling for the preservation of #Afganisthan cultural heritage in its diversity, in full respect of international law, and for taking all necessary precautions to spare and protect cultural heritage from damage and looting."
The Taliban swept across the country this month, seizing control of almost all key towns and cities in the backdrop of withdrawal of the US forces that began on May 1.

None of us are safe until all of us are safe: Jaishankar at UNSC on terrorism

DU Acting VC assures Afghan students of all possible help

Delhi University Acting Vice-Chancellor PC Joshi on Thursday assured Afghan students of all the possible help after they shared their woes during a meeting with varsity officials, PTI reported.

Days after the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan, the officials from Dean Students' Welfare and Foreign Students Registry held a meeting with Afghan students.

There are around 200 Afghan students studying in the university in various undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Many of them are back home since the classes are being held online and due to semester break. Around 48 students attended the meeting on Thursday.

LeT, JeM continue to operate with impunity, whether it's Afghanistan or India: EAM

US footprint in Kabul is now over 5,200 total troops on the ground

'Keeping our word on evacuations,' says Taliban official

The Afghan Taliban are "keeping their word" by providing foreign powers with their full support in evacuating their nationals from Kabul airport, a Taliban official told Reuters.
"We are facilitating safe-exit passage not just for foreigners but also to Afghans," the official said.
"We are preventing any form of violent, verbal clash at the airport among Afghans, foreigners and Taliban members." Flag-waving protesters took to the streets of more Afghan cities on Thursday as popular opposition to the Taliban takeover spread, and a witness said several people were killed when the militants fired on a crowd in Asadabad in the east.

Greece's border forces on alert to avoid repeat of mass arrivals of migrants seen in 2015

With Taliban in power, China eyes highly lucrative rare-earth mines in Afghanistan

China appears to be eyeing to clinch lucrative projects to exploit mineral-rich Afghanistan, especially the trillions of dollars worth of rare-earth metals, as it calibrated its policy to recognise the Taliban government, PTI reported.

Rare-earth metals in Afghanistan were estimated to be worth anywhere between USD one trillion to USD three trillion in 2020, a CNBC report this week quoted Ahmad Shah Katawazai, a former diplomat at the Afghan Embassy in Washington.

Rare-earth metals are a key component for a host of advanced technologies like IPhones and hi-tech missile guidance systems.

Biden: Greater threats than Taliban-controlled Afghanistan

President Joe Biden says even with the Taliban in power in Afghanistan, he sees a greater threat from outposts of al-Qaida and its affiliated groups in other countries, and that it was no longer rational to continue to focus US military power there, AP reported.

We should be focusing on where the threat is the greatest, Biden said in an interview that aired on ABC's Good Morning America Thursday.

And the idea we can continue to spend a trillion dollars, and have tens of thousands of American forces in Afghanistan, when we have North Africa and Western Africa the idea we can do that and ignore those looming problems, growing problems, is not rational.

Taliban move quickly to suppress dissent despite promises of moderation

US troops may stay in Afghanistan past an Aug. 31 deadline to evacuate Americans: Biden

Biden administration suspends all arms sales to Afghanistan govt

The Biden administration has suspended all arms sales to the government of Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country, AP reported.

In a notice to defence contractors posted Wednesday, the State Department's Political/Military Affairs Bureau said pending or undelivered arms transfers to Afghanistan had been put under review.

In light of rapidly evolving circumstances in Afghanistan, the Directorate of Defense Sales Controls is reviewing all pending and issued export licenses and other approvals to determine their suitability in furthering world peace, national security and the foreign policy of the United States, it said.

New Taliban govt in Afghanistan will not at the current time be allowed to access loans: IMF

The International Monetary Fund says that the new Taliban government in Afghanistan will not at the current time be allowed to access loans or other resources from the 190-nation lending organisation.

In a statement Wednesday, the IMF said it would be guided by the views of the international community.

The statement said, There is currently a lack of clarity within the international community regarding recognition of a government in Afghanistan, as a consequence of which the country cannot access SDRs or other IMF resources.

Govt to prioritise rescue of Indian workers from Afghanistan

The government has decided to rescue Indian workers on priority and steps are being taken to contact them at the earliest, sources said here on Thursday, IANS reported.

These Indian workers have been working at the different projects in Afghanistan and are anxiously waiting to return to India after the Taliban took full control of the country on August 15, 2021.

Amid reports of clashes between Taliban militia and the Afghan Army in some places like Jalalabad and Khost, it has become challenging for Indian authorities to contact Indian workers and bring them back to Kabul safely, the sources further said.

Afghans protest Taliban in emerging challenge to their rule

Afghan protesters defied the Taliban for a second day Thursday, waving their national flag in scattered demonstrations that were met with renewed violence by the militants who are facing growing challenges to their rule, AP reported.
A UN official warned of dire food shortages in this nation of 38 million people reliant on imports and experts said the country was severely short on cash, highlighting that the Taliban face the same problems as the civilian government they dethroned without the level of international aid it enjoyed.
In light of these challenges, the militants have moved quickly to suppress any dissent, despite their promises that they have become more moderate since they last imposed draconian rule on Afghanistan. Many fear the Taliban will succeed in erasing two decades of efforts to expand women's and human rights and remake the country.

Spirits run low in Delhi's 'Little Kabul' on Afghanistan's Independence Day

For the Afghan community living in India, August 19 is a milestone as Afghanistan had achieved Independence on this very day in 1919, but following the takeover of the war-torn country by the Taliban, the mood at Delhi's 'Little Kabul' is anything but celebratory, PTI reported.

From restaurants to departmental stores, the spirit of freedom, otherwise peaking on the anniversary day, was running low on Thursday in Lajpat Nagar, Bhogal and neighbouring Hazrat Nizamuddin area.

A view of Kabul airport as people try to leave Afghanistan

Desperate Afghan women throw babies over razor wire at Kabul airport compound

Kabul airport has become a picture of chaos and desperation after the fall of Afghanistan into the hands of the Taliban, ANI reported.
As per the reports of Sky News, in a heartbreaking incident, desperate Afghan women were seen throwing their babies over the razor wire of the Kabul airport compound.
A senior British officer told Stuart Ramsay from Sky News that they can hear the sound of shouting, the noise of desperation as thousands of people are flooding towards Kabul airport that will, for some, be the gateway to freedom - and for many others, the end of a dream of escaping the Taliban.

Resident of Karnataka's Ullal back home from Afghanistan

Several Afghan nationals living in Delhi flock to foreign embassies in hope of getting visas

Biden's promise to evacuate over 20,000 at-risk Afghans runs into obstacles

Left Kabul to prevent bloodshed, says Ashraf Ghani

A large portion of the Afghanistan Air Force has ended up in neighbouring Uzbekistan

Several provinces across Afghanistan witness protests

Several killed amid firing by Taliban and stampede during rally in Afghan city: Witness

Several people were killed on Thursday in the Afghan city of Asadabad when Taliban fighters fired on people waving the national flag at an Independence Day rally, according to an eyewitness Reuters spoke to.
It was not clear if the casualties came from the firing or from a stampede it triggered, witness Mohammed Salim said from the eastern city, the capital of Kunar province.
A Taliban spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Taliban limit access to Kabul airport to people with travelling documents

Days before Taliban capture, IAF evacuated around 50 Indians from Mazar-e-Sharif

Afghanistan's fate means West is now perceived as weak: UK minister

The fate of Afghanistan after a 20-year war led by the United States means that the West's resolve is now perceived as weak by major adversaries such as Russia, British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Thursday. "That is something we should all worry about: if the West is seen not to have resolve and it fractures, then our adversaries like Russia find that encouraging," Wallace told LBC radio, according to Reuters.

EU diplomat warns against 'Afghanistan catastrophe'

The European Union's foreign policy chief branded developments in Afghanistan "a catastrophe and a nightmare" on Thursday, and said there had been a failure of intelligence to anticipate the Taliban's return to power there. Josep Borrell told the European Parliament that a first group of 106 members of the EU staff in Afghanistan had been airlifted from the country and had arrived in Madrid, Reuters reported.

US troops to remain in Afghanistan until all Americans leave: Biden

President Joe Biden has said US troops would remain in Afghanistan until all Americans leave the country -- even if it takes longer than his Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw. He added chaos was unavoidable as troops withdrew.

Kabul remains calm while residents live in uncertainty

Kabul has remained relatively peaceful since the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital four days ago, but the residents have been living in uncertainty as the new establishment is yet to formally replace the former administration.
In a rapid but peaceful move, the Taliban fighters captured Kabul on Sunday. Since then the city has been calm with no major security incidents reported.
However, the government offices, as well as private and state-run schools and universities, have mostly remained closed despite the Taliban's call on the employees to attend their offices and continue their work, reports Xinhua news agency.

Taliban keep some evacuees from reaching Kabul airport, as US vows to finish airlift

Armed members of the Taliban kept people desperate to flee Afghanistan from reaching Kabul’s airport on Wednesday, witnesses said, while President Joe Biden vowed to keep US troops in the country until all Americans are evacuated.
"Everyone wants out,” a member of an Afghan family told Reuters after arriving in Germany. "Every day is worse than the day before. We saved ourselves but we couldn’t rescue our families."

Jennifer Aniston urges fans to donate for Afghan refugees amid crisis

The battle to stop the ongoing turmoil in Afghanistan still continues unabated. Expressing her concerns for the women and other refugees stuck in the crisis, Hollywood star Jennifer Aniston urged fans to donate and help the needy.
Taking to her Instagram Stories, the 'Friends' alum raised concerns for women's safety amid the crisis. By sharing a few posts, she amplified the resources that can help Afghan girls, women activists, and other refugees.
In her first Instagram Story, Aniston shared Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai's article that seeks the need to reach out to Afghan women. Sharing the article, the Emmy award-winning actor wrote, "This is a devastating step backward for women and girls in Afghanistan."
In other stories, Aniston shared posts to aware people of the process and portal where they can donate for the crisis. Aniston wrote, "Let's get these women and their families out ASAP..."

Afghanistan crisis: Afghan nationals gather outside Australian Embassy in New Delhi

"I heard that Australian Govt has announced to accept refugees & grant them immigration visas. But the embassy here is not giving us any clear answer. I don't know what to do," says Syed Abdullah, an Afghan national

American troops can't escort Afghans to Kabul airport: US defense secretary

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has said that the US military doesn't have the capacity at this point to extend security forces beyond the perimeter of the Kabul airport in order to get more civilians safely evacuated out of Afghanistan.
Afghans and aid organisations have said that citizens are having a hard time getting past the Taliban and into the airport, in a mass exodus triggered by the insurgents' rapid takeover of the country and its capital on Sunday.
Austin told reporters at a Pentagon press conference on Wednesday that the US is working to get as many people through the evacuation process and out of the country as quickly as possible, but "we're not close to where we want to be".
The Pentagon says that about 5,000 civilians have been taken out of Afghanistan so far, but officials have said they want to get to a goal of getting a maximum of 5,000 to 9,000 people out a day.
Austin said securing the airport is the paramount mission right now and he doesn't want to do anything to detract from that.

Not just Afghanistan; you can find Taliban wherever people reject modernity

The Taliban represent a powerful strand in Afghan society: fiercely anti-colonial and distrustful of the West. They are not alone. These sentiments can be found throughout the region. The mullahs in Iran and the crown princes in Saudi Arabia, despite their many mutual disagreements, have their own versions of this ideology. Given their historical experiences, who can blame them.
We also make a fatal category error when we assume that fundamentalism is somehow a Middle Eastern or Islamic character flaw. Outside the region, you can find the Taliban wherever people gather in the name of rejecting modern politics in favor of tribal affiliations, decrying the permissiveness of liberal culture, and elevating religious dogma to the single principle governing society.
When anti-vaxxers gather, the Taliban is there.
When homophobes decry gay marriage and “family values” activists complain about gender fluidity, the Taliban is there.
When Christian fundamentalists launch their own jihad against abortion, the Taliban is there.
When right-wing extremists devise conspiracy theories about “globalists,” the Taliban is there.
So, let’s stop all the hand-wringing about the barbarians massing at the gates of the West. Whether it’s Steve Bannon, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., or Jim Dobson, the barbarians have been inside the gates all along.
The U.S. war in Afghanistan is over. Let’s now focus on the fight against these homegrown extremists. Read on...

Over threefold rise in trauma cases in Afghanistan: WHO

There has been more than a threefold rise in the number of trauma cases in Afghanistan in recent weeks, said the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday, urging that delivery of lifesaving aid and medical supplies to millions of Afghans must not be cut.
According to the UN health agency, 70 WHO-supported medical facilities across Afghanistan treated nearly 14,000 conflict-related cases last month, which compares with 4,057 cases seen a year ago.
This comes amid an intensification of violence in Afghanistan. On Sunday, the Taliban took control of the Afghan's capital Kabul after months of an offensive against civilians and Afghan forces.

FM Jaishankar, his British counterpart exchange views on Afghanistan

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his British counterpart Dominic Raab on Wednesday exchanged views on developments and the immediate challenges.
"Welcome the conversation today with UK Foreign Secretary @DominicRaab. Exchanged views on the Afghanistan developments and the immediate challenges," Jaishankar, who is on a 4-day visit to the US, tweeted.
Dominic Raab also held talks over Afghanistan with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday and took control of the presidential palace.
Soon after the terror group claimed control over the Afghan capital, several countries evacuated their diplomatic personnel from the country, and hundreds of people flocked to the Kabul airport in an attempt to leave Afghanistan.

Taliban ramp up on social media, complicate things for Facebook, Twitter

As the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday, a spokesman for the group uploaded five videos to his official YouTube page. The videos, each between two and three minutes long, showed Taliban leaders congratulating fighters on their victories.
“Now is the time to serve the nation and to give them peace and security,” Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban, said in one video in Pashtun as he sat in front of senior officials in a curtained office.

Afghanistan conflict LIVE: Food agency warns of hunger in Afghan conflict

The head of the UN food agency in Afghanistan has said that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding with 14 million people facing severe hunger following the Taliban takeover of the country.
Mary Ellen McGroarty, the World Food Program's country director, said in a video briefing to UN correspondents from Kabul on Wednesday that the conflict in Afghanistan, the nation's second severe drought in three years, and the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed an already dire situation into a catastrophe".
McGroarty said over 40 per cent of crops have been lost and livestock devastated by the drought, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced as the Taliban advanced, and winter is fast approaching.
"Really the race is on to get food where it's most needed, she said.

Brussels: Afghan diaspora protest Taliban takeover, seeks EU's intervention

Hundreds of Afghans protested in front of the European Commission, European Council, and the European External Action Service (EEAS) against the Taliban takeover and urged the 27-nation bloc to save people of Afghanistan from the terror group's inhumane regime.
The protest was organised by the Network of Afghan Diaspora Organisations in Europe (NADOE) and the Afghan Refugee Committee of Belgium organised on Wednesday.
Holding Afghan flags and placards inscribed with their demands, the protestors called on European Union institutions to step forward to save Afghans from the Taliban.
The protest demonstration was attended by about 200-250 members of the Afghan diaspora.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani releases video, 1st since fleeing Kabul

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday defended his decision to flee Kabul in the face of the Taliban advance, describing it as the only way to prevent bloodshed.
He also denied claims by his country's ambassador to Tajikistan that he had stolen millions of dollars from state funds.
Ghani posted a video on his Facebook page late on Wednesday, confirming that he was in the United Arab Emirates.
He thanked Afghan security forces in his message, but also said that the failure of the peace process led to the Taliban snatching power.

Afghanistan conflict LIVE: Food agency warns of hunger in Afghan conflict

The head of the UN food agency in Afghanistan has said that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding with 14 million people facing severe hunger following the Taliban takeover of the country.
Mary Ellen McGroarty, the World Food Program's country director, said in a video briefing to UN correspondents from Kabul on Wednesday that the conflict in Afghanistan, the nation's second severe drought in three years, and the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed an already dire situation into a catastrophe".
McGroarty said over 40 per cent of crops have been lost and livestock devastated by the drought, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced as the Taliban advanced, and winter is fast approaching.

Germany to provide $11.7 million for Afghanistan's people support programme

Germany is set to provide 10 million euros ($ 11.7 million) for a program to support people in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.
The German Foreign Ministry will provide 10 million euros ($11.7 million) for a program to support people in Afghanistan, Sputnik quoted Foreign Minister Heiko Maas as saying on Wednesday.
"We are looking into the period after the evacuation, I spoke about this with representatives of German human rights organizations... These days, many representatives of NGOs, science and culture addressed us. In recent years, they have maintained a close partnership with civil society (in Afghanistan) which they would like to continue to support," Maas said.
"To ensure this, we are creating a support fund for those who campaigned for human rights, freedom of science and culture, we want to expand specific protection programs for Afghanistan... and we are allocating immediately 10 million euros for this," he added.

Germany to provide $11.7 million for Afghanistan's people support programme

Germany is set to provide 10 million euros ($ 11.7 million) for a program to support people in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.
The German Foreign Ministry will provide 10 million euros ($11.7 million) for a program to support people in Afghanistan, Sputnik quoted Foreign Minister Heiko Maas as saying on Wednesday.
"We are looking into the period after the evacuation, I spoke about this with representatives of German human rights organizations... These days, many representatives of NGOs, science and culture addressed us. In recent years, they have maintained a close partnership with civil society (in Afghanistan) which they would like to continue to support," Maas said.
"To ensure this, we are creating a support fund for those who campaigned for human rights, freedom of science and culture, we want to expand specific protection programs for Afghanistan... and we are allocating immediately 10 million euros for this," he added.

Taliban captured key US military biometric devices: Report

The Taliban have captured the US military's biometric devices compromising crucial data of the US army and the local Afghans who played crucial roles during the war, a media report said on Wednesday.
The devices, known as HIIDE, for Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment, were seized last week during the Taliban's offensive, according to a Joint Special Operations Command official and three former US military personnel, all of whom worried that sensitive data they contain could be used by the Taliban, America's The Intercept reported.
These devices contain iris scans, fingerprints, and biological information. These data are used to access larger databases. However, it remains unclear that how much data has been compromised.

Ghani says 'in talks to return' to Afghanistan, terms cash allegation 'baseless'

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who has taken refuge in the UAE, said that he is in talks to return to Afghanistan and denied the allegation that he left Kabul with suitcases full of cash, a media report said.
Ghani, who left Kabul on Sunday as the Taliban entered Kabul, said that he is in talks to return to Afghanistan, a media report said.
He also said the allegations that he escaped with suitcases of cash were "completely baseless", saying it was all "political and personality assassination", Al Jazeera reported. On Monday, Russian Embassy in Kabul said that Ghani left Kabul with four cars and a helicopter stuffed with cash.

Karnataka assures support to Afghan students in state

With several Afghan students studying in Karnataka growing desperate following the Taliban takeover of their country, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra on Wednesday assured them of extending all necessary assistance as well as steps to address their grievances.
"We will extend every possible help to those of the students who come to study from Afghanistan in our state. The state government will take every possible step to address their grievances that have arisen due to political developments in their country," he told reporters.
Jnanendra added that there are about 300 Afghan nationals, including students, presently residing in the state. "The state government will interact with the Union Government relating to any issues on extending visa of the Afghan students residing in Karnataka," the home minister said.
Karnataka on Wednesday also appointed senior IPS officer, Additional Director General of Police, CID, Bengaluru, Umesh Kumar, as nodal officer to coordinate with the Centre on bringing back stranded Kannadigas from Afghanistan.

Germany says window for Afghan airlifts limited

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by phone on Wednesday with US President Joe Biden about the situation in Afghanistan, her office said. During the call, Merkel stressed the importance of enabling as many Afghans as possible who supported German military and civilian efforts in the country to leave.
The two leaders agreed to fly out as many people in need of protection as possible, her office said.
Germany's foreign minister said his country's ambassador in Kabul has begun talks in Doha with Taliban representatives to ensure they allow Afghans to reach the airport. Heiko Maas said Germany has flown more than 500 people out of Afghanistan, including about 200 Afghan citizens, since Sunday and we want to continue doing so in this quantity in the coming days.

India's priority in Afghanistan is getting citizens home safely: Jaishankar

India's priority in Afghanistan is safely getting back home its citizens in the country that has been over-run by the Taliban and it is discussing the matter with UN and US officials, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said here on Wednesday.

"Our focus is on ensuring the security in Afghanistan and the safe return of Indian nationals who are there," he told reporters.

"That is really what has been very much the focus of my own engagements here, talking to the UN Secretary General (Antonio Guterres), to other colleagues who are here, as well as with the US Secretary of State (Antony Blinken) a few days ago," he said.

India has been running an airlift of its citizens from Afghanistan and Jaishankar discussed it with Blinken, whose country is controlling the Kabul airport.

He said that these were "early days" of the new situation in Afghanistan and "at the moment, we are like everybody else very carefully following developments in Afghanistan". As regards future relations with Afghanistan, he emphasised the historic people-to-people ties.

Karnataka appoints nodal officer for safe return of stranded people from Afghanistan

Karnataka government on Wednesday appointed Additional DGP (CID) Umesh Kumar as the nodal officer to coordinate with the Central government for bringing back the people of the state stuck in Afghanistan.
Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 aircraft carrying 120 Indian officials from Afganistan landed in Gujarat's Jamnagar.
The government is committed to the safe return of all Indian nationals from Afghanistan and will institute flight arrangements once Kabul airport is open for commercial operations, MEA said on Tuesday. Taliban had entered Kabul on Sunday and took over the presidential palace.

‘Doing everything we can to support those who have helped the UK mission in Afghanistan’: UK PM

4,500 US troops at Kabul airport

UAE says hosting Ashraf Ghani on 'humanitarian' grounds

The United Arab Emirates said it is hosting Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani and his family. “The UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds,” the UAE foreign ministry said in a statement.

Many from Darjeeling, Terai region in Bengal are stranded in war-torn Afghanistan: Mamata

China encourages the Taliban to pursue a moderate religious policy

Afghanistan: At least 3 dead in anti-Taliban protests in Jalalabad

At least three people were killed in anti-Taliban protests in the Afghan city of Jalalabad on Wednesday, witnesses said, as the militant group tried to set up a government and Western countries stepped up evacuations of diplomats and civilians, Reuters reported.

More than a dozen people were injured after Taliban militants opened fire on protesters in the eastern city, two witnesses and a former police official told Reuters.

The Taliban have promised peace following their sweep into Kabul, saying they will not take revenge against old enemies and will respect the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law.

India should have publicly engaged with Taliban earlier: Former external affairs minister K Natwar Singh

UK aiming to airlift 1,000 from Afghanistan a day

Deeply worried about Afghan women & girls: 21 countries in a joint statement

EU must take in Afghans: European Parliament chief

WB govt is coordinating with Centre for safe return of over 200 people

Australia's first rescue flight from Afghanistan evacuated 26 people

We are observing the situation in Afghanistan: MoFA Turkmenistan

Afghan central bank's $10 billion stash mostly not within reach of Taliban

Afghanistan's former president Karzai meets senior Taliban faction leader

Afghanistan's former president has met with a senior leader of a powerful Taliban faction who was once jailed and whose group has been listed by the U.S. as a terrorist network, AP reported
Former President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, a senior official in the ousted government met with Anas Haqqani as part of preliminary meetings that a spokesman for Karzai said would would facilitate eventual negotiations with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the top Taliban political leader.

Fallout of botched Afghan exit overwhelms White House

The White House is finding itself in a new crisis after a botched withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, overwhelmed by withering criticism from home and abroad, IANS reported.

A viral video clip shows a crowd of Afghans running alongside a US military transport aircraft, with some clinging to the fuselage, as it gained speed on the tarmac at an airport in Kabul. Another segment films what appears to be individuals falling in mid-air after the plane took off, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The terrifying scenes reportedly occurred after the Taliban entered Kabul over the past weekend in a swift offensive that brought what many described as an embarrassing end to two decades of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. The Taliban, which ruled the landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and South Asia in the late 1990s, was toppled by US-led forces in 2001.

UK getting 1,000 out a day from Afghanistan

Afghans evacuated to Germany describe terrifying scenes at Kabul airport

Thousands of Afghans enter Pakistan

UN Human Rights Council to hold special session over 'serious human rights concerns' in Afghanistan

Member of the Taliban's political office met with former Afghan President Karzai: Report

PM chairs security meeting amid fast changing situation in Afghanistan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday reviewed the government's strategy to evacuate Indian citizens in the next few days and ensure safety to the Hindu and Sikh communities in Afghanistan, in a Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting, IANS reported.

This is the second meeting of CCS within 24 hours amid the fast changing situation in Afghanistan.

Modi chaired the first CCS meeting on Tuesday evening and directed the officials for speedy evacuation of Indians who are still in the war torn country, in the next few days and also to provide all possible help to "Afghan brothers and sisters who are looking towards India for assistance."

Evacuations from Afghanistan gather momentum as Taliban promise peace

More than 2,200 diplomats and other civilians have been evacuated from Afghanistan on military flights, a Western security official told Reuters on Wednesday, as efforts gathered pace to get people out after the Taliban seized the capital, Reuters reported.
The Taliban have said they want peace, will not take revenge against old enemies and would respect the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law. But thousands of Afghans, many of whom helped U.S.-led foreign forces over two decades, are desperate to leave.

Taliban could be different this time, says Britain's army chief

The world should give the Taliban the space to form a new government in Afghanistan and may discover that the insurgents cast as militants by the West for decades have become more reasonable, the head of the British army said on Wednesday, according to a report by Reuters.
The leaders of the Taliban will show themselves to the world, an official of the Islamist movement said on Wednesday, unlike during the last 20 years, when its leaders have lived largely in secret.

China wakes up to border threat issues after Afghanistan falls to Taliban

China has expressed concern over its border security in the wake of Taliban overtaking Afghanistan, with one scholar pointing out the terrorist outfit's reach closer to home, ANI reported.

More than 400 "separatists" in China's northwest Xinjiang region had been trained in light and heavy weapons and explosive devices in Taliban training camps, according to Wang Yaning, a lecturer at the Chinese Armed Police Force Academy who published a paper in the school's journal in 2002, the Washington Post reported.

Efforts on for safe return of people from Uttarakhand stranded in Afghanistan: CM

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has said all efforts are being made by the Uttarakhand government to ensure the safe return of people from the state stranded in Afghanistan following the Taliban's takeover of that country, PTI reported.

"People from Uttarakhand stranded in Afghanistan will soon return to their homes safely," Dhami said.

He also spoke to the Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday requesting it to take all necessary steps in this regard, according to an official release.

'The first French evacuation flight from Kabul yesterday included 21 Indian nationals'

Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra assures help to Afghans in Karnataka

Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra on Wednesday assured of extending all necessary assistance to the Afghan students studying in the state and to take steps to address their grievances following the political developments in their country.
"The state government will extend all help to those of the students from Afghanistan, studying in Karnataka, in addressing their grievances arising out of the strife, if any, in their nation," Jnanendra told reporters here. He noted that there are about 300 Afghan nationals, including students presently residing in the state. "The state government will interact with the Union Government relating to any issues on extending Visa of the Afghan students residing in Karnataka", the minister said. Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the students studying in Karnataka grew desperate, fearing for the safety of their relatives back home.

Afghanistan crisis LIVE: Samajwadi MP booked for sedition after remarks defending Taliban

Samajwadi Party MP Shafiqur Rehman Barq has been booked for sedition following his recent remarks allegedly defending the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan and equating it with India's own freedom struggle, police said on Wednesday.
He was charged under Indian Penal Code section 124A (sedition) following a complaint from BJP leader Rajesh Singhal on Tuesday, Superintendent of Police Chakresh Mishra said.
Singhal in his complaint said that Barq's "controversial statement comes in the category of sedition", he said.
The MP has been also booked under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), Mishra said.
Besides Barq, two others -- Mohammad Muqueem and Chaudhary Faizan have also been booked under these sections, the officer said, adding that the matter is being probed.

Ashraf Ghani, man who was to save Afghanistan becomes villain-in-hiding

If anyone was supposed to know how to fix Afghanistan, it was Ashraf Ghani.
Before becoming president in 2014, Ghani spent much of his life studying how to boost growth in poor nations. A Fulbright Scholar with a doctorate from Columbia University, he taught at some of America’s elite academic institutions before stints at the World Bank and United Nations. Later he co-wrote “Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World.”
Now Ghani’s whereabouts are a mystery after he fled Afghanistan on Sunday. Reports have spotted him everywhere from Tajikistan to Oman to Abu Dhabi, with the Russians claiming he left with four cars and a helicopter full of cash. In Afghanistan he’s become a villain: his central bank chief and key members of his administration have denounced him publicly. Efforts to reach him or his close aides were unsuccessful. Read on...

Centre to make all efforts to bring back Indians from Afghanistan: Scindia

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has said the central government will make all efforts, like it did in the 'Vande Bharat Mission', to bring back Indian citizens from Afghanistan, which has witnessed re-emergence of the militant group Taliban.
The Vande Bharat Mission was carried out last year to bring back Indians stranded in foreign countries after the suspension of regular international flights following the oubreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
The Indian government will bring its citizens back to their homes from Afghanistan, like we did in the Vande Bharat Mission, through Air India and the Indian Air Force (IAF) planes, whichever way is possible, Scindia told reporters late Tuesday night in Madhya Pradesh's Shajapur, where he reached as part of his 'Jan Ashirwad Yatra'.
Scindia said the Union government had started the evacuation from Afghanistan last Friday.
The evacuation process continued for three days. But, when a flight was about to take off on Sunday, NOTAM (a notice to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route) was received following gunshots fired at the Kabul airport, he said.
Following the NOTAM, the airspace over Kabul was closed, so the evacuation process was hindered on Monday, the minister said.
Later, an IAF plane went to Kabul on Tuesday and brought back Indian citizens, he said.

40 dead in Kabul airport shooting, stampede since Monday: Taliban leader

A Taliban commander at the Kabul airport said that at least 40 people were killed in shooting by the foreign forces and due to a stampede since Monday.
He said the people should not be deceived by fake rumours about travelling abroad and asked them to avoid coming to the airport, Afghan media reported.
The Taliban say that they are making every effort to bring lasting peace and progress in Afghanistan.
"They shouldn't be (hanging onto) airplanes of the foreigners, 30 to 40 people were killed and wounded in the airport yesterday (Monday), they should remain in their homes, there will be no problem for them," said Mohibullah Hekmat, the Taliban commander at the airport. Read on...

Kabul airport appears calmer: Report

The situation at Kabul airport appears calmer after the desperate scenes on Monday when thousands of Afghans attempted to crowd onto planes in the wake of the Taliban takeover of the capital. Civilian and military flights have resumed with more than 700 people moved out over the past 24 hours, Bloomberg reported a White House official as saying.

First Lufthansa plane with Afghan evacuees lands in Germany

The first Lufthansa plane carrying evacuees from Afghanistan landed in Frankfurt early on Wednesday with about 130 people aboard, Reuters reported the airline as saying. The Airbus A340 picked up passengers who had been taken by Bundeswehr flights from the Afghan capital of Kabul to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.

As the Taliban returns, 20 years of progress for women looks set to disappear overnight

Azadah Raz Mohammad, PhD student, The University of Melbourne; and Jenna Sapiano, Lecturer, Monash Gender Peace & Security Centre, Monash University Melbourne, Aug 18 (The Conversation)

As the Taliban takes control of the country, Afghanistan has again become an extremely dangerous place to be a woman. Even before the fall of Kabul on Sunday, the situation was rapidly deteriorating, exacerbated by the planned withdrawal of all foreign military personnel and declining international aid. In the past few weeks alone, there have been many reports of casualties and violence. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes. The United Nations Refugee Agency says about 80% of those who have fled since the end of May are women and children. What does the return of the Taliban mean for women and girls?

The history of the Taliban The Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 1996, enforcing harsh conditions and rules following their strict interpretation of Islamic law. Under their rule, women had to cover themselves and only leave the house in the company of a male relative. The Taliban also banned girls from attending school, and women from working outside the home. They were also banned from voting. Women were subject to cruel punishments for disobeying these rules, including being beaten and flogged, and stoned to death if found guilty of adultery

Biden, Johnson to hold virtual G7 leaders meeting next week on Afghan situation

US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have agreed to hold a virtual meeting of G-7 countries next week on the fast-unfolding developments in Afghanistan.
Biden and Johnson spoke over phone regarding the developments in Afghanistan, the White House said on Tuesday, adding that the two leaders commended the bravery and professionalism of their military and civilian personnel, who are working together in Kabul on the evacuation of their citizens and Afghan nationals who assisted in the war effort.
They also discussed the need for continued close coordination among allies and democratic partners on Afghanistan policy going forward, including ways the global community can provide further humanitarian assistance and support for refugees and other vulnerable Afghans, the White House said in a readout of the phone call.

Taliban blows up slain Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari's statue in Bamiyan

The Taliban have blown up slain Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari's statue in Bamiyan, a grim reminder of the destruction of Bamiyan Buddhas during its previous tenure.
"So Taliban have blown up slain Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari's statue in Bamiyan. Last time they executed him, blew up the giant statues of Buddha and all historical and archaeological sites. Too much of 'general amnesty," tweeted Saleem Javed, a human rights activist.
Mazari was a Hazara leader who was executed by the Taliban in 1995. Taliban over the years has been repeatedly attacking Hazaras.

Afghanistan LIVE: US military evacuated more than 3,200 people so far from Kabul

The US has so far evacuated more than 3,200 people from Kabul, including 1,100 on Tuesday alone, the White House said, after the Taliban insurgents seized power in Afghanistan.
Today, US military flights evacuated approximately 1,100 US citizens, US permanent residents, and their families on 13 flights, 12 with C-17 sorties and one with a C-130. Now that we have established the flow, we expect those numbers to escalate, a White House official said on Tuesday.
We have evacuated more than 3,200 people so far, including our personnel. In addition to these more than 3,200 total evacuated, we have relocated nearly 2,000 Afghan special immigrants to the United States, said the White House official.
Earlier in the day, US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan said the issue of evacuation is being resolved with each successive flight.

Afghanistan LIVE: Biden does not believe that US should be 'fighting and dying' in war, says NSA Sullivan

President Joe Biden does not believe that the country should be "fighting and dying" in a war for the purpose of sustaining American military boots near Tajikistan or Pakistan or Iran, his National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has said, defending the president's decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan.
President Biden 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.
The US has already pulled back the majority of its forces and is looking to complete the drawdown by August 31.
I would say that the President does not believe that the United States should be fighting and dying in a war for the purpose of sustaining American military boots near Tajikistan or Pakistan or Iran, Sullivan told reporters at a White House news conference on Tuesday.
We would not agree that it is right to ask American soldiers to risk their lives for the purpose of maintaining a presence near Tajikistan, he said in response to a question.

Afghanistan LIVE updates: Australia flies out 26 from Kabul, plans more

Australia had evacuated the first 26 people, including Australian and Afghan citizens, from Kabul since the Taliban overran the Afghan capital, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday.
An Air Force C-130 Hercules transport aircraft landed at an Australian military base in the United Arab Emirates with the 26 who included a foreign official working for an international agency, Morrison said. The remainder were Australians and Afghans.
This was the first of what will be many flights, subject to clearance and weather and we do note that over the back end of this week, there is some not too favorable weather forecast, Morrison said.
Two Hercules and two larger C-17A Globemaster transport aircraft will make further evacuation flights.

Afghanistan crisis: Jaishankar discusses Afghan situation in bilateral meetings with UNSG, counterparts

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar discussed the situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power in Kabul in his bilateral meetings here, including with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Jaishankar arrived in New York Monday as the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, the second time in just over the 10 days that the powerful UN body met under India's Presidency for the month of August to discuss the unravelling situation in the war-torn country.
Following his meeting with Guterres in the UN headquarters on Tuesday, the minister tweeted, Good to meet UN Secretary General @antonioguterres. Our discussions focused on Afghanistan, following upon the Security Council meeting yesterday.
He also met Estonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets and as UNSC members, discussed our working together on maritime and cyber security and other global issues. Exchanged views on the developments in Afghanistan. Look forward to her presence at the Council meeting tomorrow".

US intelligence predicted Afghan military collapse, despite Biden's assurances

A classified assessment by American spy agencies had predicted the collapse of the Afghan military and Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, despite US President Joe Biden's assurances that Kabul was unlikely to fall, according to the New York Times.
Mark Mazzetti, Julian E. Barnes and Adam Goldman, writing in the NYT said that even as US President Joe Biden was telling the public that Kabul was unlikely to fall, intelligence assessments painted a grimmer picture.
By July, many intelligence reports grew more pessimistic, questioning whether any Afghan security forces would muster serious resistance and whether the government could hold on in Kabul, the capital.

Taliban attempt to present themselves as different from past, experts doubtful

Taliban has after over two decades again seized control of Afghanistan's capital Kabul. This time, however, they have pledged to protect the rights of women and minorities and assured that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan would not pose a threat to any country.
Political experts, say that it might not be as plain as that and doubt whether the terror group which is yet to moderate its "draconian views" on justice will stand by its promises.
The Taliban had ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001 and in those five years they imposed Sharia Islamic law in the country, introducing punishments in line with their strict interpretation of the law - publically executing convicted murderers and adulterers and carrying out amputations of those found guilty of theft. Men were required to grow beards and women had to wear the all-covering hijab.

Bilawal lashes out at Pak PM over Afghan issue

Pakistan could not afford any more U-turns at Afghanistan's situation, hence the government should come up with a clear-cut policy on Afghanistan with political backing and consensus in the country, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said.
During a press conference on Tuesday, the PPP leader took a jibe at Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan over the current situation in Afghanistan, The News International reported.
"Prime Minister Imran Khan had come up with a stance on every vital national issue, but later on he took a U-turn on that, creating confusion in the country. Pakistan could not afford any more U-turns at this critical juncture," the local media outlet quoting Zardari reported.
Zardari further said that the government should not compromise on the issue of terrorism in the country and the National Action Plan (NAP) should be implemented in letter and spirit.
He said the fall of Kabul and Afghanistan had coincided with terrorism incidents in Dasu, Quetta and Karachi. If the government did not continue to implement NAP, then there was a danger that such incidents would increase.

About 1,100 US citizens evacuated from Afghanistan on Tuesday

The United States military has evacuated approximately 1,100 US citizens, permanent residents and their families on 13 flights from Afghanistan on Tuesday (local time), a White House official said.
According to CNN, twelve of those flights were C-17 sorties and one was a C-130.
At present, more than 3,200 people have been evacuated and nearly 2,000 Afghan special immigrants have been relocated to the US and the numbers are expected to increase, CNN reported.

Three sniffer dogs, delpoyed in Kabul, returned to India

Three sniffer dogs, who were a part of the security at the Indian embassy in #Afghanistan along with ITBP personnel deployed there, returned from Kabul to India yesterday.
The Indian officials from Kabul landed at Jamnagar, Gujarat yesterday and were brought to Delhi later.

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