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Afghanistan Highlights: Afghan PM appeals past govt officials to return; assures ‘full protection’

Afghanistan-Taliban Highlights: "We paid a heavy price for seeing this historic moment in Afghanistan," Mullah Hasan said on Wednesday, a day after the Taliban unveiled an interim Cabinet after seizing power in Kabul.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 10, 2021 7:35:25 am
Taliban soldiers stand guard in Panjshir province, northeastern of Afghanistan, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. (AP)

Afghanistan crisis Highlights:  Afghanistan’s acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund has appealed to former officials of past governments to return to the country and assured them “full protection”, saying the period of bloodbath is over and they face a humongous task to rebuild the war-ravaged nation.

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“We paid a heavy price for seeing this historic moment in Afghanistan,” Mullah Hasan was quoted as saying by PTI on Wednesday, a day after the hardline Islamic insurgents unveiled an interim Cabinet after seizing power in Kabul.

Earlier today, a US lawmaker sought sanctions against Pakistan for reportedly aiding the Taliban offensive in Panjshir. Congressman Adam Kinzinger said this in a tweet after Fox News report quoted a CENTCOM source saying that the Pakistani military are assisting the Taliban offensive in Panjshir, including 27 helicopters full of Pakistani Special Forces, backed up by Pakistani drone strikes.

Days after announcing the new government, Taliban has reportedly banned all unauthorised demonstrations and women’s sports — women’s cricket specifically. Meanwhile, ex-president Ashraf Ghani apologised to the people for leaving Afghanistan abruptly and denied reports that he left Kabul with millions of dollars in cash from the treasury.

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Afghanistan Live Highlights: Ghani defends decision to flee Kabul; last Jew leaves Afghanistan; reports of violence at Kabul protests. Follow this space for updates on Afghanistan.

21:38 (IST)09 Sep 2021
As women take to streets, Taliban says no protest without permission

The Taliban government have banned demonstrations that do not have official approval, a day after women faced whips and sticks at a protest held against the appointment of an all-male government in Afghanistan.

A decree issued by the Taliban government’s interior ministry, led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is a UN-designated global terrorist since 2007, states that protestors have to secure permission for demonstrations or face “severe legal consequences”.

Women have been at the forefront of protests in Kabul and other cities of Afghanistan, fearing a repeat of the repressive policies seen during Taliban’s 1996-2001 rule. More details here.

Women gather to demand their rights under the Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul on September 3. (AP)
21:33 (IST)09 Sep 2021
Flight with civilians onboard leaves Kabul, signalling airport is back in action

The first international commercial flight since the end of the chaotic Western airlift from Afghanistan last month departed from Kabul airport on Thursday, Qatar’s foreign minister said.

A large group of foreigners were aboard the Doha-bound flight, Al Jazeera television reported. The Qatar Airways plane had arrived in Kabul earlier on Thursday carrying aid, it said. Read the full report here.

taliban, afghanistan, Taliban government, pashtun, indian express, indian express news, afghanistan news, current affairs
A member of Taliban forces stands guard next to a plane that has arrived from Kandahar at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan September 5, 2021. (Reuters)
19:33 (IST)09 Sep 2021
Dozens of Westerners, including Americans, leave Kabul

Dozens of foreigners, including Americans, have left Kabul on an international commercial flight, marking the first large-scale evacuation since US and NATO forces left Afghanistan late last month. Their departure on Thursday represented a breakthrough in the bumpy coordination between the US and Afghanistan’s new Taliban leaders. More details here.

18:56 (IST)09 Sep 2021
Kabul Airport 90% ready for operations, re-opening planned gradually: Qatari officials

Afghanistan's Kabul Airport is about 90 per cent ready for operations but its reopening is planned gradually, a Qatari official told Reuters on Thursday. Kabul airport had been closed since the end of the massive US-led airlift of its citizens, other Western nationals and Afghans who helped Western countries.

16:38 (IST)09 Sep 2021
Afghan PM appeals past govt officials to return; assures 'full protection'

Afghanistan's acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund has appealed to former officials of past governments to return to the country and assured them "full protection", saying the period of bloodbath is over and they face a humongous task to rebuild the war-ravaged nation.

"We paid a heavy price for seeing this historic moment in Afghanistan," Mullah Hasan was quoted as saying by PTI on Wednesday, a day after the hardline Islamic insurgents unveiled an interim Cabinet after seizing power in Kabul.

Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund 
15:09 (IST)09 Sep 2021
As its immediate neighbour, India has one of the highest stakes in developments in Afghanistan, says MeenakshiLekhi

As an immediate neighbour of Afghanistan with long standing historical linkages, India has one of the highest stakes in the developments in the war-torn country, Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakashi Lekhi has said, highlighting that the USD 3 billion Indian investment in different welfare projects was aimed for the benefit of the Afghan people.

Lekhi said India's contributions for the people of Afghanistan, having executed development and welfare projects across all of its 34 provinces was all aimed for the benefit of its people.

She noted that under India's Presidency of the Security Council last month, the Council adopted Resolution 2593 which unequivocally underlined that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter, train terrorists, or plan or finance terrorist acts. (PTI)

13:05 (IST)09 Sep 2021
US lawmaker seeks sanctions against Pak for 'aiding' Taliban offensive in Panjshir

A US lawmaker has sought sanctions against Pakistan for reportedly aiding the Taliban offensive in Panjshir. "If confirmed, not only must we cut off all aid, we must enact sanctions. Pakistan is now showing what they lied about for years, they created and protected the Taliban," Congressman Adam Kinzinger said.

Kinzinger said this in a tweet after Fox News report quoted a CENTCOM source saying that the Pakistani military are assisting the Taliban offensive in Panjshir, including 27 helicopters full of Pakistani Special Forces, backed up by Pakistani drone strikes. (PTI)

12:40 (IST)09 Sep 2021
Al-Qaeda may seek comeback in Afghanistan, says Pentagon chief

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday the al-Qaeda extremist group that used Afghanistan as a staging base to attack United States 20 years ago may attempt to regenerate there following an American withdrawal that has left the Taliban in power.

"That's the nature of the organisation," he told a small group of reporters in Kuwait City at the conclusion of a four-day tour of Persian Gulf states. He said the United States is prepared to prevent an al-Qaeda comeback in Afghanistan that would threaten the United States.

"We put the Taliban on notice that we expect them to not allow that to happen," Austin said, referring to the possibility of al-Qaeda using Afghanistan as a staging base in the future. (AP)

11:59 (IST)09 Sep 2021
Pakhtoons to sing theme song of Durga Puja committee of North Kolkata

As music knows no barriers, a Durga Puja committee in north Kolkata has decided to get its theme song rendered by two Pakhtoons residing in the city, thousands of miles away from trouble-torn Afghanistan.

As the taking over of Kabul by Taliban hugged headlines, the Aswaninagar Bandhu Mahal Club got in touch with the two Pakhtoons, who sing in their spare time besides their main money lending business, puja committee spokesman Swarup Nag said on Wednesday.

"We wanted to convey the message of fraternity and solidarity to our friends in Afghanistan. We want to convey the message of peaceful co-existence which is the hallmark of our external policy," he said. The theme song, in the 40th year of the popular puja in the Baguiati, Kestopur, Lake Town and Dumdum Park area, will have typical Afghan folk tunes and Pushtu language. (PTI)

10:55 (IST)09 Sep 2021
Taliban to allow 200 Americans, other civilians to leave Afghanistan, says US official


Taliban authorities have agreed to let 200 American civilians and third country nationals who remained in Afghanistan after the end of the US evacuation operation to depart on charter flights from Kabul airport, a US official
said.

The Taliban were pressed to allow the departures by US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, said the official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.The departures were expected on Thursday. 

The official could not say whether these Americans and third country nationals were among people stranded for days in Mazar-i-Sharif because their private charters have not been allowed to depart. (Reuters)

10:49 (IST)09 Sep 2021
In photo: journalists tortured by Taliban in Kabul

Photos of two journalists detained and tortured by the Taliban have emerged on social media. The journalists were taken away while covering the Kabul protests on Wednesday. The Taliban have now issued a decree to end all protests in the country — unless demonstrators get prior permission, including approval of slogans and banners. (Read more)


10:45 (IST)09 Sep 2021
About 60,000 in Afghan evacuation brought to US

The US Department of Homeland Security says about 60,000 people have arrived in the country since August 17 from Afghanistan as part of the evacuation formally known as Operation Allies Welcome.

DHS said in the latest updated released Wednesday that 17% of those arrivals are US citizens and permanent residents who were in Afghanistan when the government there fell to the Taliban. The remaining 83% are a mix of people. They include those with Special Immigrant Visas, for people who worked as interpreters or in some other capacity for the US or NATO. There are also other visa holders as well as applicants for visas who have not yet completed their processing.

The remainder are various types of "vulnerable" Afghans who would be threatened under the Taliban, such as women and human rights advocates. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said a small number of evacuees have been prevented from entering the US through "multi-layered" security vetting but he declines to provide specific numbers of provide details about the cases.  (AP)

09:06 (IST)09 Sep 2021
Taliban decrees end to unapproved demonstrations

The interior ministry of the new Taliban government is seeking to end protests in Afghanistan after days of demonstrations that have brought heavy-handed assaults on protesters.

The minister has issued an order to end all protests in the country — unless demonstrators get prior permission, including approval of slogans and banners. It's unlikely the women who have been leading near daily protest demanding their rights from the country's hardline Islamic rulers will be allowed to protest under the new rules.

In the words of the ministry's statement: "It is announced to all citizens not to attempt at the present time to hold any demonstrations under any name whatsoever." (AP) 

08:48 (IST)09 Sep 2021
Taliban cabinet illegitimate: Afghan embassy in Delhi

A DAY after the Taliban announced its cabinet, with with no representation of women and lack of adequate representation of ethnic minorities, Afghanistan’s embassy in New Delhi on Wednesday issued a statement in the name of the Afghan Foreign Ministry and “condemned” the announcement by the Taliban of its “so-called cabinet” as “illegitimate and unjustifiable”.

There has been no response from New Delhi yet on the Taliban announcement, nor on the Afghan embassy’s statement. The Afghan embassy’s statement clearly distances itself from the new rulers of Afghanistan, the Taliban, who captured power last month. (Read more)

08:12 (IST)09 Sep 2021
Afghanistan, security on table as key US, Russian officials arrive in Delhi

The evolving situation in Afghanistan and its implications on regional security dominated the conversation at separate meetings that the top Indian leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, held with visiting Russian NSA Nikolay Patrushev and CIA chief William J Burns.

A Russian government statement said that following up on the telephone conversation between Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 24, an “exchange of views took place on the military, political and socio-economic situation in Afghanistan” at Patrushev’s meetings on Wednesday. (Read more)

07:28 (IST)09 Sep 2021
Explained: Who are the Haqqani Network, the most powerful group in the Taliban government?

The Haqqani Network has emerged as the most powerful group in the new Taliban government, with four of the clan nominated as cabinet members.

The Haqqani Network takes its name from the leader of the group, Jalaluddin Haqqani, who first fought the Soviet Army in Afghanistan as a loyal ally of the CIA and the ISI, and then fought the US and NATO forces, while he led a protected existence in North Waziristan, where Pakistan gave him and the entire group safe haven. (Read more)

07:02 (IST)09 Sep 2021
'Incredible fear' among women across Afghanistan, says UN official

A lack of clarity on the Taliban's position on women in Afghanistan has generated "incredible fear" across the country, a senior UN official said on Wednesday, warning there were daily reports of curbs on the rights of women.

Alison Davidian, deputy head of UN Women in Afghanistan, said some women were being prevented from leaving home without a male relative, women in some provinces were forced to stop work, protection centers for women fleeing violence had been targeted and safe houses for rights activists were at full capacity.

"The lack of clarity of the Taliban's position on women's rights has generated incredible fear. And this fear is palpable across the country," Davidian, speaking from Kabul, told reporters in New York. (Reuters)

06:55 (IST)09 Sep 2021
US not in a rush to recognise Taliban govt, says White House

The United States is not in a rush to recognise the new interim government in Afghanistan, the White House said on Wednesday, asserting that it is talks with the Taliban to get American citizens out of the strife-torn country.

'No one in this administration, not the President nor anyone on the national security team, would suggest that the Taliban are respected and valued members of the global community. They have not earned that in any way, and we have never assessed that. This is a caretaker cabinet that does include four former imprisoned Taliban fighters,' White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference. (Read more)

22:50 (IST)08 Sep 2021
Women won't be allowed to play sport: Taliban

In an exclusive interview with SBS News, the deputy head of the Taliban's cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, said that sport is not seen as something that is important for women. "I don't think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play cricket," Wasiq said. 

However, the Taliban has allowed men's cricket to continue. Last week, a top official of the Afghan cricket board told The Indian Express that the team’s tour of Australia this year, which will include the first-ever Test between the two countries, has received green signal from the Taliban.

22:40 (IST)08 Sep 2021
Afghanistan's last Jew leaves after Taliban takeover

The last member of Afghanistan's Jewish community has left the country.

Zebulon Simentov, who lived in a dilapidated synagogue in Kabul, kept kosher and prayed in Hebrew, endured decades of war as the country's centuries-old Jewish community rapidly dwindled. But the Taliban takeover last month seems to have been the last straw. Read the full report here.

In this Aug. 29, 2009 file photo, Zebulon Simentov, the last known Jew living in Afghanistan, closes the window to the synagogue he cares for in his Kabul home. (AP) 

Haqqanis in, so is Talib who brought the Buddhas down

Unveiling their interim government which had the Pakistani stamp all over, the Taliban Tuesday announced that Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the hardliner chief of the decision-making Rehbari Shura and the man who ordered the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001, will be the new Prime Minister of Afghanistan.

Mullah Hassan edged out Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of the Taliban political office in Qatar capital Doha, for the top post, ending the race and the war within for power-sharing, three days after Pakistan ISI chief Lt General Faiz Hameed reached Kabul to decide government formation.

Here from Afghanistan, many say they need help getting back on their feet

A few elderly people sit inside Guru Arjan Dev Ji Gurdwara premises in New Mahavir Nagar as a small child plays nearby. Some volunteers are busy arranging snacks for the evening.

The people here are part of a group of 44 Indian nationals who were airlifted from Afghanistan and discharged from ITBP’s Chhawla Camp Wednesday after completing a 14-day quarantine. They had reached the facility on August 24.

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