Afghanistan updates: key news in one place thumbnail

Afghanistan updates: key news in one place

Afghanistan takeover Taliban taliban capture Kabul

The Afghan Taliban are back in power. They entered Kabul
on Sunday noon, completing the overall takeover of the country with the capture
of capital Kabul.

Since then there has been a slew of political developments. The flood of information makes it difficult for readers to make sense of the news. This page offers key highlights.

Monday, August 16, 2021

China willing to develop ‘friendly relations’ with Afghan Taliban

China announced Monday that it is willing to develop “friendly relations” with Afghanistan’s Taliban, AFP reported.

“We welcome this. China respects the right of the Afghan people to independently determine their own destiny and is willing to continue to develop… friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

Hua called on the Taliban to “ensure a smooth transition” of power and keep its promises to negotiate the establishment of an “open and inclusive Islamic government” and ensure the safety of Afghans and foreign citizens.

China’s embassy in Kabul remains operational.

President Ghani fled with helicopter full of cash: Russian embassy

The Russian embassy in Kabul has said that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country with four cars and a helicopter full of cash, Reuters reported.

Ghani’s current whereabouts are still unknown. He fled the country Sunday to “avoid bloodshed”.

“Four cars were full of money, they tried to stuff another part of the money into a helicopter, but not all of it fit. And some of the money was left lying on the tarmac,” Nikita Ishchenko, the Russian embassy’s spokesperson said.

PM holds National Security Council meeting

Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired an important meeting of the National Security Council today [Monday] to discuss the security situation in Afghanistan.

Top-level military civil and military leaders attended it.

Information Minister Sheikh Rasheed said the decisions taken in the meeting will be announced later in the day. Read the full story here.

At least five dead as chaos spreads at Kabul airport

At least five people were killed in Kabul airport as hundreds of people tried to forcibly enter planes leaving the Afghan capital, Reuters quoted witnesses as saying.

Kabul Airport scenes of mad rush
Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport on August 16, 2021, to flee the country as the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and conceded the insurgents had won the 20-year war. Photo: AFP

US troops fired shots into the air as people crowded onto
the tarmac in the hope of catching a flight after the Taliban takeover of the

“I feel very scared here. They are firing lots of shots into
the air,” a witness told AFP.

Read the full story here

Trump calls for Biden to resign over Taliban takeover of

Former US president Donald Trump called for his successor Joe Biden to resign on Sunday over the swift takeover of Afghanistan by Taliban militants, as US troops withdrew from the country after nearly 20 years on the ground.

“It is time for Joe Biden to resign in disgrace for what he
has allowed to happen to Afghanistan,” Trump said in a statement, also blasting
him over a surge in Covid-19 cases in the United States and domestic
immigration, economic and energy policies.

US lowers flag at Kabul embassy

The United States lowered the flag on its embassy in Kabul and has relocated almost all staff to the airport, where US forces are taking over air traffic control, officials said Sunday.

 “We are completing a
series of steps to secure the Hamid Karzai International Airport to enable the
safe departure of US and allied personnel from Afghanistan via civilian and
military flights,” the Pentagon and State Department said in a joint statement.

‘War over in Afghanistan’: Taliban look towards peaceful
foreign relations

The Taliban have declared the war in Afghanistan is “over” after they took control of the country’s presidential palace in the late hours of Sunday.

They are also looking towards having cordial relations with foreign countries while also committed to protecting the rights of women and minorities under sharia law.

Afghan taliban took over Afghanistan
Taliban fighters drive an Afghan National Army (ANA) vehicle through the streets of Laghman province, Afghanistan, on Aug. 15, 2021. Photo: AFP )

Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem told Al Jazeera that the
Taliban did not want to live in isolation. “We ask all countries and entities
to sit with us to settle any issues.”

Read the full story here

Qureshi tells India to play positive role in Afghanistan

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that India
should play a positive role in defusing the current situation in Afghanistan.

Appearing in Samaa TV’s morning show Naya Din, Qureshi said
that New Delhi should visibly act in a responsible manner.

He went on to say that Narendra Modi-led country should not
play the role of a spoiler while the world unites for peace in Afghanistan.

Read the full story here

Key TTP leaders released from Afghan prisons

Several key Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan leaders and key Afghan Taliban commanders have been released from prisons across Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of the country this weekend.

Faqir Mohammad of the TTP
A photo from Twitter of Faqir Mohammad of the TTP tweeted by @SaleemMehsud.

Of these militants one of the most recognised names is
Maulana Faqir Mohammad, the former deputy chief of the the TTP. Scenes of his
release have been circulating on social media. His release was confirmed in a
statement by a TTP spokesperson. Faqir has publicly stated that he has close
ties to Al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri.

Read the full story here

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Fled country to prevent bloodshed: Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that he had fled the
country to “prevent a flood of bloodshed”.

Ghani, who did not say where he had gone, said he believed
“countless patriots would be martyred and the city of Kabul would be destroyed”
if he had stayed behind.

“The Taliban have won… and are now responsible for the
honour, property and self-preservation of their countrymen,” he said in a
statement posted to Facebook.

Taliban take over presidential palace

The Taliban said their fighters have entered multiple districts
in the Afghan capital Kabul, while sources say they have also taken over the
presidential palace, hours after leader Ashraf Ghani fled the country.

“Military units of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan have entered Kabul city to ensure security,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted, adding that “their advance is continuing normally”.

Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo: AFP

Three senior Taliban sources also told AFP that the
insurgents had taken control of the presidential palace.

“Taliban (fighters) have entered the presidential palace,”
one senior Taliban commander told AFP.

“The mujahideen have entered the presidential palace and
have taken control of it,” a second commander said, adding that a meeting on
security in the capital was taking place there.

Hamid Karzai calls for peace

Former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai has asked both
government forces and the Taliban to protect the people.

“I am here in Kabul and I ask the Taliban to provide
security and safety for the people,” he said in a video message.

He asked the people to stay in their homes and remain calm, adding that he will continue efforts to solve issues peacefully along with other political leaders.

NATO working to keep Kabul airport running

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said the
alliance is working to keep Kabul airport running as foreign powers rushed to
evacuate staff after the Taliban closed in on power.  

“Spoke with UK PM Boris Johnson and the foreign ministers of
our allies Canada, Denmark and Netherlands on the situation in Afghanistan.
NATO is helping keep Kabul airport open to facilitate and coordinate
evacuations,” Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter.

Hostels vacated

The hostels of private universities in the city including
Kabul University have been vacated by students. All markets and business
centres have also been shut down.

Muhammad Irfan reports: the minister of defense,
General Bismillah along with his officials have also surrendered to the Taliban
in Kabul.

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