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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Afghanistan-Taliban crisis Highlights: Amid Kabul evacuation chaos, Biden under pressure to extend deadline

Kabul, Afghanistan-Taliban crisis Highlights: Joe Biden had warned that the evacuation was going to be "hard and painful" and said a lot could still go wrong. US troops might stay beyond their Aug. 31 deadline to oversee the evacuation, he had said.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 29, 2021 10:38:17 am
A Taliban fighter holding an M16 assault rifle in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Reuters)

Afghanistan-Taliban crisis Highlights: With thousands of desperate Afghans and foreigners crowding into Kabul airport in the hope of fleeing Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers, pressure grew on US President Joe Biden on Monday to extend the deadline for the evacuation operation.

Biden had warned that the evacuation was going to be “hard and painful” and said a lot could still go wrong. US troops might stay beyond their Aug. 31 deadline to oversee the evacuation, he had said.

Meanwhile, the Taliban forces have recaptured three districts in northern Afghanistan that fell to local militia groups last week, a Taliban spokesman on Monday. The districts of Bano, Deh Saleh, Pul e-Hesar in Baghlan province were taken by local militia groups in one of the first signs of armed resistance to the Taliban since their seizure of the capital Kabul on Aug. 15, Reuters reported.

Live Blog

Afghanistan-Taliban crisis Highlights: Taliban mass near Panjshir province; India to evacuate 125 Afghan Sikhs to Tajikistan today; UK to push Biden for Afghan deadline extension. Follow all the latest news and live updates here.

00:03 (IST)24 Aug 2021
UK's Johnson discuss Afghan evacuation plans -White House    

US President Joe Biden discussed Afghanistan evacuation efforts with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday, emphasizing the importance of close coordination in handling the current crisis as well as Afghanistan policy, the White House said.

"They discussed the ongoing efforts by our diplomatic and military personnel to evacuate their citizens, local staff, and other vulnerable Afghans," the White House said, in advance of a G7 virtual leaders meeting on Tuesday. (Reuters)

22:24 (IST)23 Aug 2021
PM Modi, German Chancellor Merkel discuss Afghan situation 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday and discussed the unfolding security situation in Afghanistan and its implications on the region and the world, as the leaders emphasised the importance of maintaining peace and security.

The Prime Minister's Office said in a statement that the two leaders held that the most urgent priority is the repatriation of stranded people.

They also discussed bilateral issues, including cooperation in Covid-19 vaccines, development cooperation with a focus on climate and energy, and fostering trade and economic relations, news agency PTI reported.

22:21 (IST)23 Aug 2021
Amid Kabul evacuation chaos, Biden under pressure to extend deadline

With thousands of desperate Afghans and foreigners crowding into Kabul airport in the hope of fleeing Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers, pressure grew on U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday to extend the deadline for the evacuation operation. Biden had warned that the evacuation was going to be "hard and painful" and said a lot could still go wrong. US troops might stay beyond their Aug. 31 deadline to oversee the evacuation, he had said.

Joe Biden's 'inshallah' to Donald Trump: The word that distracted many  during presidential debate | World News,The Indian Express

21:20 (IST)23 Aug 2021
Another man arrested in Assam for supporting Taliban on FB, count rises to 16

Another person was arrested in Assam for allegedly supporting the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan on social media, taking the total number of such apprehensions in the state to 16, police said on Monday.

The man, who worked in a tyre shop in Jorabat area of Guwahati, was arrested for his Facebook post in support of the Taliban, a senior police officer said.

Fifteen people, including an Assam Police constable, a senior leader of the state unit of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, a medical student and a journalist, were arrested from various districts on August 20 and 21 for their social media posts supporting the extremist group's takeover of Afghanistan. --PTI

21:17 (IST)23 Aug 2021
We'll never even think of going back to Afghanistan now: Women refugees in India

On August 15, when her native city Kabul fell to the Taliban, 19-year-old Mariam Arzo Nooyar was crying at her house in south Delhi's Bhogal, saying all hope of redemption for her war-torn Afghanistan was replaced by nightmares. Nooyar, an Afghan refugee, along with her family had moved to India seven years ago in hope of a safer and prosperous future.

"India is our home now and every year August 15 is the day of festivities in the country to mark its Independence Day. But this August 15, when India was celebrating its 75th Independence Day, we lost our, as Kabul fell to the Taliban that very day. I was depressed and sad, and cried the whole day in my room," she said with a heaviness in her voice. She was among the hundreds of Afghan refugees, mostly youths, who gathered and vociferously protested in front of the UNHCR office here amid deepening crisis in Afghanistan in the wake of takeover of the strife-torn nation by the Taliban.

"The Taliban claim to do their acts in the name of Islam. But killing innocent people and curbing rights of women, is it Islam? Today, the Taliban people are hunting those who worked for the US when it occupied Afghanistan and government officials, musicians, artists, journalists. I have no hope left for my Afghanistan," Nooyar said. --PTI

19:28 (IST)23 Aug 2021
Russia ready to deliver weapons to allies near Afghanistan at low prices

Russia is ready to supply weapons and military hardware to its allies in the CSTO security bloc that border Afghanistan at special low prices, Russia's deputy prime minister was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency on Monday. --Reuters

19:10 (IST)23 Aug 2021
Will attend all-party meet on Afghanistan crisis: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said that representatives of the ruling TMC in the state would be attending the all-party meeting called by the Centre to discuss the Afghanistan crisis. The Centre has called for an all-party meeting on August 26 to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, following the Taliban takeover. "We will definitely be attending Thursday's all-party meeting on Afghanistan, called by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)," the TMC supremo told reporters at the state secretariat. The Taliban swept across Afghanistan this month, seizing control of almost all key towns and cities, including Kabul, following the withdrawal of the US forces from the country. --PTI

18:19 (IST)23 Aug 2021
UK expands evacuation staff in Kabul as Boris Johnson convenes G7 meet

The UK government said on Monday that it has reinforced its staff presence in Kabul to assist with the evacuation of British nationals from the Afghan capital. Five staff from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) have joined 14 already working on the evacuation operation in Kabul, four of them arriving on Monday morning and one on Sunday night. "This brings the total FCDO staff currently in Kabul to 19. This includes Ambassador Laurie Bristow, staff from British Embassy Kabul and FCDO rapid deployment team members," an FCDO statement said. --PTI

18:05 (IST)23 Aug 2021
Afghan refugees protest in front of UNHCR office in Delhi

Amid deepening crisis in Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the war-torn nation, a large number of Afghan refugees in India vociferously protested in front of the UNHCR office here on Monday demanding release of "support letters" from the UN agency to migrate to other countries for better opportunities. Hundreds of these demonstrators, both male and female drawn from Delhi and neighbouring cities, started gathering in front of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Vasant Vihar since morning. --PTI

17:29 (IST)23 Aug 2021
Taliban warns of 'consequences' if Afghan pullout extended: report

According to AFP, a Taliban spokesman has warned of 'consequences' if the Afghan pullout date (August 31) gets extended.

17:23 (IST)23 Aug 2021
Taliban name acting head of central bank

The Taliban have appointed an acting head of the Afghanistan central bank to help ease growing economic turmoil, more than a week after the Islamist movement seized the capital Kabul, a statement said on Monday. Haji Mohammad Idris was named as acting governor of the central bank to help bring order to a war-crippled economy, which has been adrift for more than a week with banks closed and many government offices empty. (Reuters)

17:12 (IST)23 Aug 2021
Hope Afghanistan doesn’t become ‘epicentre of terrorism’ again: Singapore PM

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday said Afghanistan is a key battlefront in the global fight against terrorism from where extremist ideas have been exported to the region, hoping that the country does not become an “epicentre of terrorism” after the Taliban seized Kabul.

Lee, at a press conference here along with visiting US Vice President Kamala Harris, said that America’s intervention in the region 20 years ago has stopped terrorist groups from using Afghanistan as a safe base. Read more here.

Lee Hsein Loong

16:23 (IST)23 Aug 2021
Taliban say they have retaken three northern districts

Taliban forces have recaptured three districts in northern Afghanistan that fell to local militia groups last week, a Taliban spokesman on Monday. The districts of Bano, Deh Saleh, Pul e-Hesar in Baghlan province were taken by local militia groups in one of the first signs of armed resistance to the Taliban since their seizure of the capital Kabul on Aug. 15, Reuters reported.

By Monday, Taliban forces had cleared the districts and were established in Badakhshan, Takhar and Andarab near the Panjshir valley, according to the Twitter account of spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

Forces loyal to Ahmad Massoud, son of the anti-Soviet mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, have established themselves in the Panjshir valley, a mountainous area northwest of Kabul which resisted the Taliban before 2001.

16:08 (IST)23 Aug 2021
Putin says vital to prevent spillover of radical Islam from Afghanistan

Russian President Vladimir Putin told leaders in Central Asia on Monday it was vital to avoid any spillover of radical Islam into the region from Afghanistan and to keep Islamist extremists at bay, news agency Reuters reported.

Putin, while addressing an online summit of regional leaders, also said it was important to keep a close eye on the Afghan drug trade. According to Kremlin, Putin and Central Asian leaders also voiced concerns that Islamic State still had a foothold in Afghanistan and was a threat. The leaders agreed to coordinate joint action on Afghanistan, it said.

Vladimir Putin says Russia works to develop new weapons | World News,The Indian  Express

16:03 (IST)23 Aug 2021
'The lines don't seem to end': BBC journalist on Kabul evacuation efforts

"Heading towards every single plane are long queues of Afghans. The lines don't seem to end. They have been told they can only bring one suitcase and the clothes they are wearing, as they leave their country behind - the country now controlled by the Taliban. But it's not just the country they are leaving. They are leaving behind the life they lived - and for the young, educated generation, the life they built up, the dreams they cherished over 20 years," BBC's chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet said on evacuation efforts at Kabul airport.

15:49 (IST)23 Aug 2021
WHO says it cannot fly medical supplies into Kabul airport

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that it was unable to fly 500 tons of medical supplies to the Kabul airport at present due to the ongoing evacuation efforts.

Spokeswoman Inas Hamam wrote in an email to the Reuters news agency that supplies including surgical equipment and treatment for childhood pneumonia "were ready and planned to be delivered to Afghanistan to arrive this week," however "now that the airport is closed to commercial flights, we can no longer get them in."

The WHO is calling on empty planes to retrieve the equipment from the organization's storage hub in Dubai before flying on to Kabul airport to assist with the evacuations. (DW)

15:21 (IST)23 Aug 2021
Who is Ahmad Massoud, the man building an anti-Taliban resistance?

Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was one of the main leaders of Afghanistan’s anti-Soviet resistance in the 1980s and was assassinated on September 9, 2001, at the behest of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, is following the footsteps of his father: gathering mujahideen fighters in the Panjshir Valley who are prepared to once again take on the Taliban.

Ahmad Massoud has been leading the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan. He closely resembles his father in appearance and commands a militia in the valley. Social media images show the ousted vice president, Saleh, meeting Massoud, and the duo appears to be assembling the first pieces of a guerrilla movement to take on the Taliban. Click here to know more about him.

14:32 (IST)23 Aug 2021
In photos: a long wait at the Kabul airport

Thousands of Afghans and foreigners have been thronging the airport for days, hoping to catch a flight out after Taliban fighters captured Kabul on Aug. 15.

14:11 (IST)23 Aug 2021
Taliban won't extend Aug. 31 deadline for Western forces to leave, say Taliban sources

The Taliban will not extend an Aug. 31 deadline for Western forces to leave Afghanistan, two sources in the Islamist group told Reuters on Monday.

The sources, however, said no Western government or official had approached the Taliban to extend the deadline. (Reuters)

14:05 (IST)23 Aug 2021
Afghan cricket board gets new chairman post-Taliban takeover

Former chief Azizullah Fazli was on Sunday named acting chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), the first new appointment in the governing body since Taliban’s takeover of the strife-torn nation.

Fazli earlier served as ACB chairman from September 2018 to July 2019. (Read more)

Explained: Taliban takeover and India’s options

The swift takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban almost exactly 20 years after they were militarily ousted by the United States forces in response to the 9/11 attacks, has shocked the world.

After their victory, the Taliban, whose previous stint as rulers of Afghanistan from 1996-2001 is remembered as a reign of terror and medieval brutality, are now involved in setting up a government to rule over the country once again.

Taliban fighters stand guard at a checkpoint in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 22, 2021. (AP Photo)

168, including two Afghan MPs, arrive from Kabul: ‘Nothing is left. It’s zero…’

TWO AFGHAN Members of Parliament and their families were among 168 people, including 107 Indians, airlifted from Kabul to the Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad, in an Indian Air Force C-17 military transport aircraft, on Sunday morning.

According to reports, the group had 24 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, including the two minority MPs, Narinder Singh Khalsa and Anarkali Kaur Honaryar.

“India is our second home. We have been living there since generations. We pray to God that Afghanistan is rebuilt, and we can go back to tend to our gurdwaras and temples and serve the people,” Khalsa told PTI.

 

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