Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Highlights: Anti-Taliban forces say they’ve taken three districts in Afghanistan’s north

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Updated: August 23, 2021 10:24:31 am

Afghanistan News Updates, Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Latest Update, Kabul Latest News Today August 21 Highlights: Taliban to unveil new governing framework for Afghanistan in next few weeks, says official; Taliban vow to be accountable, investigate reports of Afghanistan reprisals; No foreigners kidnapped, but some being queried, says Taliban official; IAF plane evacuates 85 Indians from Kabul

Afghanistan-Taliban crisis Live Updates The Taliban will be accountable for its actions and will investigate reports of reprisals and atrocities carried out by members, an official said. (Picture: Reuters)

Taliban Afghanistan Crisis Latest Update August 21, Kabul Latest News: The Taliban will be accountable for its actions and will investigate reports of reprisals and atrocities carried out by members, an official of the group on Saturday said, as the Taliban is planning to unveil a new governing model for Afghanistan within the next few weeks. “Legal, religious and foreign policy experts in the Taliban aim to present the new governing framework in the next few weeks,” the official said as reported by Reuters. It has been nearly a week since the Taliban surprisingly took over the control of Afghanistan last Sunday.

People are feeling Afghanistan as chaos continues with no clarity on what will happen next. At least 12 people have been killed in and around the Kabul airport since Sunday. So far, more than 18,000 people have been evacuated since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. International organisations and several countries have intensified efforts to evacuate people with the situation worsening in Afghanistan. The Taliban has been facing severe criticism. Civilians have been protesting against the Taliban’s take over.

As the situation worsens in Afghanistan, stay with us as we bring the latest news from the country:

Live Blog

Highlights

    22:29 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Taliban trying to provide 'smooth exit' for people fleeing Kabul

    The Taliban are making progress in forming a government in Afghanistan and ensuring security across the country since taking the capital Kabul last weekend, a Taliban official said on Saturday.

    He said security risks could not be ruled out at Kabul airport where thousands gather each day trying to leave.The Taliban are "aiming to improve the situation and provide a smooth exit" at the airport over the weekend, he said. (Reuters)

    20:56 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    As Kabul turmoil mounts, Taliban's PR offensive falters

    In the last few days, TV crews from Afghanistan's Al-Emarah Studio, which produces pro-Taliban multimedia content, have been out on the streets of Kabul speaking to residents with reassuring messages about life returning to normal.

    "How confident are you?" asked an interviewer with a Al-Emarah microphone in the city centre. "100%," came the reply.

    "Security is good, there are no thieves, we are very happy."The message is in sharp contrast to the chaos in parts of Kabul since the Islamist militants swept in last Sunday after a lightning conquest of Afghanistan.

    Thousands of people have swarmed around the airport, desperate to escape amid fears of reprisals by the insurgents and harsh Islamic law now that they are back in power.

    It has presented one of the toughest tests yet for the movement's communications strategy, which has grown into a sophisticated operation in recent years and yet is struggling to calm widespread panic.

    The Al-Emarah interviews were a tiny step towards trying to win back control of the message.

    For the moment, Al-Emarah websites in five different languages have been difficult to access or apparently offline from Friday, for reasons which remain unclear. The clips could be seen on social media accounts, however.

    On Saturday, several Taliban spokesmen took to television studios to reassure residents that the streets were safe. On the same day, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the top Taliban political leader in Afghanistan, arrived in Kabul to set up a police force. (Reuters)

    20:39 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Anti-Taliban forces say they've taken three districts in Afghanistan's north

    Forces holding out against the Taliban in northern Afghanistan say they have taken three districts close to the Panjshir valley where remnants of government forces and other militia groups have gathered.

    Defence Minister General Bismillah Mohammadi, who has vowed to resist the Taliban, said in a tweet that the districts of Deh Saleh, Bano and Pul-Hesar in the neighbouring province of Baghlan to the north of Panjshir had been taken.

    It was not immediately clear what forces were involved but the incident adds to scattered indications of opposition to the Taliban who swept to power in a lightning campaign that saw them take all of Afghanistan's main cities in a week.

    Local television station Tolo News quoted a local police commander who said Bano district in Baghlan was under the control of local militia forces and said there had been heavy casualties.

    The Taliban have not commented on the incident.

    Former Vice President Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud, son of former anti-Soviet Mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, have vowed to resist the Taliban from Panjshir, which repelled both Soviet forces and the Taliban in the 1980s and 1990s.

    People close to Massoud say that more than 6,000 fighters, made up of remnants of army and Special Forces units as well as local militia groups, have gathered in the valley. (Reuters) 

    20:17 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Vladimir Putin and Tayyip Erdogan agree to strengthen coordination on Afghan issues

    Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan discussed the situation in Afghanistan during a phone call and agreed to strengthen bilateral coordination on Afghan issues, the Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday.

    The presidents emphasised the priority was counter-terrorism and efforts to tackle drug trafficking, the Kremlin said. | Read More

    19:43 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: EU says no recognition of Taliban, no political talks

    The European Union has not recognised the Taliban, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday, nor is it holding political talks with the militants, a week after they seized control of Afghanistan.The Taliban completed a lightning takeover of Afghanistan on Sunday, walking into the capital Kabul without firing a shot.The head of the EU executive spoke after visiting a reception centre in Madrid for Afghan employees of EU institutions evacuated from Kabul.Von der Leyen said she would propose an increase in the 57 million euros ($67 million) in humanitarian aid which the Commission had allocated this year for Afghanistan.She said EU development aid is tied to respect of human rights, good treatment of minorities and respect for the rights of women and girls."We may well hear the Taliban's words but we will measure them above all by their deeds and actions," von der Leyen told a news conference.She said the Commission was ready to provide funding to EU countries which help resettle refugees, and she planned to raise the resettlement issue at a G7 meeting next week.After a peak in 2015 when more than one million migrants came to the EU, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, the EU has cut the number of arrivals thanks to a deal with Turkey which receives EU funds to host asylum seekers in its territory. (Reuters) -

    19:18 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Not giving up: Afghan relatives in UK reach out for help

    For people with family members trying to get out of Afghanistan, recent days have brought a frantic mix of fear and frustration. In west London, many relatives are doing what they can: seeking advice and information from the Afghanistan & Central Asian Association. The organization was set up to support refugees 20 years ago, the same year a U.S.-led international force drove the Taliban from power after the 9/11 attacks. Shah Hamdam, 52, said he would do anything to get his sister, a television journalist, out of Kabul, now that the Taliban are back in control of Afghanistan. "She is begging," Hamdam said Friday. "She says, Find a solution, find a way for me to get out of this situation at the moment.' I try, I try, I knock every door to find a way to bring her over if possible."With the U.S. still planning to have all its troops withdrawn from Afghanistan by Aug. 31, there's a mad scramble to get out -- and a corresponding sense of dread among Afghan families already abroad.. Crowds of people clutching documents and sometimes stunned-looking children were outside the gates of the international airport in Kabul on Saturday, blocked by coils of razor wire. (AP)

    19:01 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Indians detained on way to Kabul airport; Released subsequently

    A group of Indian nationals is learnt to have been stopped and taken to an unknown location near the Kabul airport on Saturday for questioning and verification of travel documents, triggering some confusion and concerns in India.These Indians were learnt to have been released subsequently.People tracking the developments in Kabul said there were no specific reports of any harm to Indians in Kabul so far.The Indians were among 150 people who were heading towards the Kabul airport when they were stopped by Taliban fighters, according to Afghan media reports.Kabul Now news portal initially reported that the group was "abducted" by the Taliban fighters but it later updated the report saying all the people were released and on their way back to the Kabul airport.The people cited above said the Indians were taken away for questioning and it is not unusual under the current circumstances.There was no immediate official comment or reaction on the matter. (PTI) 

    18:46 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Taliban bans co-education in Afghanistan's Herat province

    Days after vowing to respect women's rights in Afghanistan, Taliban officials in the restive Herat province have banned co-education in government and private universities, describing it as the 'root of all evils in society'.The decision was taken after a meeting between varsity professors, owners of private institutions, and Taliban authorities, Khaama Press News Agency reported on Saturday.This is the first 'fatwa' issued by the Taliban after its swift takeover of Afghanistan last week. Capital Kabul's capture on Sunday signified the end of the US's longest war, launched after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

    On Tuesday, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban's longtime spokesman in his first-ever public appearance to address those concerns at a news conference, promised the Taliban would honour women's rights within the norms of Islamic law, in an effort to portray a more moderate stance.During a three-hour meeting of university professors and owners of private educational institutions, Taliban representative and Head of Higher Education, Afghanistan, Mullah Farid said there is no alternative and co-education must end.He also said virtuous female lecturers would be allowed to teach only female students but not the male ones.Farid called co-education the 'root of all evils in society', the report said.In the last two decades, Afghanistan has implemented a mixed system of co-education and gender-based separate classes in all universities and institutes.Educationalists said government universities would not be affected by the decision but private institutes would struggle with already a low number of female students.Herat, according to official estimates, has 40,000 students and 2,000 lecturers in private and government universities and colleges. (PTI)

    18:30 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    In Kabul, a fearful wait for US to deliver on evacuation vow

    Tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan waited nervously on Saturday to see whether the United States would deliver on President Joe Biden's new pledge to evacuate all Americans and all Afghans who aided the war effort. Meanwhile, the Taliban leader arrived in Kabul for talks with the group's leadership on forming a new government.Time is running out ahead of Biden's Aug 31 deadline to withdraw most remaining US troops, and the president on Friday night did not commit to extending it. He faces growing criticism as videos depict pandemonium and occasional violence outside the airport, and as vulnerable Afghans who fear the Taliban's retaliation send desperate pleas not to be left behind.In a new security warning, the US Embassy on Saturday told citizens not to travel to the Kabul airport without "individual instructions from a US government representative," citing potential security threats outside its gates. Tens of thousands of Afghan translators and others, and their close family members, seek evacuation after the Taliban's shockingly swift takeover of Afghanistan in a little over a week's time. The fall of Kabul marked the final chapter of America's longest war, which began after the Sept 11, 2001, terror attacks.Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who negotiated the religious movement's 2020 peace deal with the US, was in Kabul for meetings with the group's leadership, a Taliban official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to the media. Baradar's presence is significant because he has often held talks with former Afghan leaders like ex-president Hamid Karzai. Afghan officials familiar with talks held in the capital say the Taliban have said they will not make announcements on their government until the August 31 deadline for the troop withdrawal passes.  (AP)

    18:15 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: US warns citizens away from Kabul airport due to potential threats

    The United States advised Americans in Afghanistan to avoid travelling to Kabul airport in an embassy travel advisory on Saturday as thousands try to flee the country.

    “Because of potential security threats outside the gates at the Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid travelling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so,” the advisory said. | Read More

    18:00 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar arrives in Kabul to hammer out new government as airport chaos grows

    Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar has arrived in Kabul for talks with other leaders to hammer out a new Afghan government, a Taliban official said on Saturday, almost a week after the Islamist militants took over the capital without resistance. The Taliban completed their sudden advance across the country as U.S.-led forces pulled out, coinciding with what German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said was the “breathtaking collapse” of the Afghan army. Since then, thousands have thronged Kabul airport, with security worsening by the day, as Western nations struggle to ramp up the pace of evacuations of its citizens and vulnerable Afghans amid the chaos and reports of Taliban violence. The Taliban official said that the group planned to ready a new model for governing Afghanistan within the next few weeks, with separate teams to tackle internal security and financial issues. | Read More

    17:46 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: EAM S Jaishankar, German's Heiko Maas discusse evacuation challenges in Afghanistan

    External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar receives a call from his German counterpart Heiko Maas; "Discussed the evacuation challenges in Afghanistan and the policy implications of the changes there," the EAM tweets  (File photo)Image

    17:37 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: US warns citizens away from Kabul airport due to potential threats

    The United States advised Americans in Afghanistan to avoid travelling to Kabul airport in an embassy travel advisory on Saturday as thousands try to flee the country. "Because of potential security threats outside the gates at the Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid travelling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so," the advisory said. (Reuters)

    17:23 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: UK will work with Taliban if necessary, says PM Johnson

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK's diplomatic efforts to find a solution in Afghanistan remain ongoing, which leaves open the prospect of working with the Taliban "if necessary". Speaking to the media after an emergency Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms (COBRA) meeting to discuss the crisis in the region on Friday, Johnson said "formidable" challenges remain around the evacuation of British nationals and supporters from Kabul airport but the situation was getting "slightly better". "What I want to assure people is that our political and diplomatic efforts to find a solution for Afghanistan, working with the Taliban, of course if necessary, will go on and our commitment to Afghanistan is lasting," Johnson said. "The situation is getting slightly better and we are seeing a stablisation at the airport. So yesterday [Thursday] we were able to get out about 1,000 people and today [Friday] another 1,000 people; a lot of those UK eligible persons coming back to this country and a lot of them people coming back under the Afghanistan Resettlement and Assistance Programme (ARAP) "interpreters and others to whom we owe debts of gratitude and honour," he said, adding that the operation will continue at a fast pace.  (AP)

    17:22 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Packed US refugee plane carried record number

    The US Air Force says the cargo plane packed with Afghan refugees whose photo was widely shared online actually carried even more people than originally thought '823' and marked a new passenger record for the aircraft. The brief statement by the Air Mobility Command on Friday said the C-17 that departed the capital, Kabul, last Sunday had an initial count of 640 passengers, but that figure inadvertently left out 183 children sitting on people's laps. (AP)

    17:21 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: German military has evacuated almost 2,000 people from Kabul airport, says German defence minister

    German defence minister says German military has evacuated almost 2,000 people from Kabul airport (Reuters)

    17:08 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Taliban co-founder arrives in Kabul to hammer out new govt; Thousands throng Kabul airport as security deteriorates

    Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar has arrived in Kabul for talks with other leaders to hammer out a new Afghan government, a Taliban official said on Saturday, almost a week after the Islamist militants took over the capital without resistance.The Taliban completed their sudden advance across the country as U.S.-led forces pulled out, coinciding with what German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said was the "breathtaking collapse" of the Afghan army.Since then, thousands have thronged Kabul airport, withsecurity worsening by the day, as Western nations struggle to ramp up the pace of evacuations of its citizens and vulnerable Afghans amid the chaos and reports of Taliban violence. The Taliban official said that the group planned to ready a new model for governing Afghanistan within the next few weeks, with separate teams to tackle internal security and financial issues. "Experts from the former government will be brought in for crisis management," he told Reuters. The new government structure would not be a democracy byWestern definitions, but "it will protect everyone's rights", the official added. The Taliban, who follow an ultra-hardline version of Sunni Islam, have presented a more moderate face since returning to power, saying they want peace, will not take revenge against old enemies and will respect the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law. When in power from 1996-2001, they stopped women from working or going out without wearing an all-enveloping burqa and stopped children from going to school. Baradar will meet militant commanders, former government leaders and policy makers, as well as religious scholars among others, the official said without elaborating. About 12,000 foreigners and Afghans working for embassies and international aid groups have been evacuated from Kabul airport since Taliban insurgents entered the capital, a NATO official said. "The evacuation process is slow, as it is risky, for we don't want any form of clashes with Taliban members or civilians outside the airport," the NATO official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. (Reuters)

    16:42 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Switzerland postpones evacuation flight as security at Kabul airport worsens

    Switzerland has postponed a charter flight to Uzbekistan aimed at helping the evacuation effort from neighbouring Afghanistan, its foreign ministry said on Saturday, citing worsening security that has hindered access on the ground to Kabul airport. "The security situation around Kabul airport has worsened significantly in the last hours. A large number of people in front of the airport and sometimes violent confrontations are hindering access to the airport in Kabul," the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) said in a statement. Thousands of foreigners and Afghans working for embassies and international aid groups have been evacuated from Kabul airport since Taliban insurgents entered the capital a week ago. (Reuters)

    16:25 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Taliban bans co-education in Afghanistan's Herat province, says report

    Days after vowing to respect women's rights in Afghanistan, Taliban officials in the restive Herat province have banned co-education in government and private universities, describing it as the 'root of all evils in society'. The decision was taken after a meeting between varsity professors, owners of private institutions, and Taliban authorities, Khaama Press News Agency reported on Saturday. This is the first 'fatwa' issued by the Taliban after its swift takeover of Afghanistan last week. Capital Kabul's capture on Sunday signified the end of the US's longest war, launched after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. On Tuesday, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban's longtime spokesman in his first-ever public appearance to address those concerns at a news conference, promised the Taliban would honour women's rights within the norms of Islamic law, in an effort to portray a more moderate stance. During a three-hour meeting of university professors and owners of private educational institutions, Taliban representative and Head of Higher Education, Afghanistan, Mullah Farid said there is no alternative and co-education must end. (PTI)

    16:19 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Taliban co-founder Baradar arrives in Kabul for talks with militant commanders, former govt leaders, religious scholars

    Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar has arrived in the Afghan capital of Kabul for talks with militant commanders, former government leaders and religious scholars, an official of the Islamist group told Reuters on Saturday. About 12,000 foreigners and Afghans working for embassies and international aid groups have been evacuated from Kabul airport since Taliban insurgents entered the capital a week ago, a NATO official said. "The evacuation process is slow, as it is risky, for we don't want any form of clashes with Taliban members or civilians outside the airport," the NATO official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "We don't want to start a blame game regarding the evacuation plan." The Taliban completed a lighting takeover of the country, walking into the capital Kabul last Sunday without firing a shot. Since then, individual Afghans and international aid and advocacy groups have reported harsh retaliation against protests, and roundups of those who had formerly held government positions, criticised the Taliban or worked with Americans. (Reuters)

    15:48 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee President rejects Afghanistan kidnapping news

    Around 300 Sikhs who are in the gurudwara premises in Afghanistan are safe. No incident like kidnapping has occurred with them. Any report regarding such an incident is false: Manjinder S Sirsa, President, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (ANI)

    15:41 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Indians detained on way to Kabul airport; Released subsequently, say reports

    A group of Indian nationals is learnt to have been stopped and taken to an unknown location near the Kabul airport on Saturday for questioning and verification of travel documents, triggering some confusion and concerns in India. These Indians were learnt to have been released subsequently. People tracking the developments in Kabul said there were no specific reports of any harm to Indians in Kabul so far. The Indians were among 150 people who were heading towards the Kabul airport when they were stopped by Taliban fighters, according to Afghan media reports. Kabul Now news portal initially reported that the group was "abducted" by the Taliban fighters but it later updated the report saying all the people were released and on their way back to the Kabul airport. The people cited above said the Indians were taken away for questioning and it is not unusual under the current circumstances. (PTI)

    15:07 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Uzbekistan accepts 400 more refugees from Afghanistan - Russian state media

    Uzbekistan has accepted about 400 more refugees from Afghanistan and put them up in temporary accommodation near the Afghan border, the Russian state news agency TASS reported on Saturday, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter. It is unclear how many Afghans have crossed into the former Soviet republic as Taliban insurgents overran Afghanistan. The Tashkent government has denied that senior Afghan figures such as ethnic Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dustum were among them.However, approximately 650 Afghan officers from units commanded by Dustum were already at the same health centre, TASS cited the source as saying.Uzbekistan said on Friday that it had sent 150 Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan as per an agreement with the Taliban and after requests from the refugees themselves. (Reuters)

    15:01 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    All Indians citizens in Kabul awaiting evacuation are safe: Government sources

    All Indians citizens in Kabul awaiting evacuation are safe. They were offered lunch and have now left for Kabul airport: Government sources (ANI)

    14:45 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Will handle all security challenges, including that of Taliban, in Kashmir, says IGP

    Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar on Saturday said security forces were alert and would handle all challenges, including that of the Taliban, in the Valley. He sought the cooperation of the people in maintaining peace in Jammu and Kashmir. "Speaking as a police officer whichever terrorist comes here, it is my job to generate input and neutralise him, as well as the threat, in an operation with the Army," Kumar told reporters at the headquarters of the Army's Victor Force in Awantipora area of Pulwama district. "We will handle all the challenges in a professional manner and we are totally alert," he said when asked about the threat of the Taliban in Kashmir. The IGP urged people to share information about militants, suicide bombers, or someone planning to set up IEDs, saying the society is harmed by such elements. (PTI)

    14:39 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Taliban to set up separate teams to deal with internal security and financial crisis

    • Taliban to set up separate teams to deal with internal security and financial crisis: Taliban official 
    • No foreigner is being kidnapped by Taliban but 'we are questioning some of them before they exit the country' - Taliban official
    • Experts from former govt will be brought in for crisis management - Taliban official
    • 'Our fighters will continue to demonstrate restraint' - Taliban official
    • Mullah Baradar in Afghanistan to delegate responsibility to commanders, meet former govt leaders, local militia commanders, policy makers, religious scholars - Taliban official (Reuters)

    14:19 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Taiwan says China wants to 'emulate' the Taliban

    Taiwan's foreign minister accused China on Saturday of wanting to "emulate" the Taliban, saying the island that Beijing claims as sovereign Chinese territory did not wish to be subject to communism or crimes against humanity. The rapid fall of the U.S.-backed Afghan government has sparked heated debate in Taiwan about whether they could suffer the same fate to a Chinese invasion, while state media in China has said Kabul's fate showed Taiwan it cannot trust Washington. (Reuters)

    13:36 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Angelina Jolie makes Instagram debut, shares heartbreaking letter from young Afghan girl

    Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has joined Instagram and said she will use the platform to share voices fighting for their basic human rights, including those coming out of Afghanistan after the country's takeover by the Taliban. In her first post on the social media platform, Jolie shared a letter she said she received from an anonymous teenage girl in Afghanistan, who feared living in the country under the current circumstances. "Right now, the people of Afghanistan are losing their ability to communicate on social media and to express themselves freely. "So I've come on Instagram to share their stories and the voices of those across the globe who are fighting for their basic human rights," the 46-year-old Oscar-winning actor wrote. The Taliban swept into Kabul on Sunday after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, bringing a stunning end to a two-decade campaign in which the US and its allies had tried to transform Afghanistan. (PTI)

    13:32 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: All Indians are safe, reports Afghan media; documents being processed for evacuation

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    13:14 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: 14 people arrested from across Assam for social media posts supporting Taliban

    Fourteen people were arrested from across Assam for alleged social media posts supporting the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, police said on Saturday. The arrests were made since Friday night and they have been booked under different sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, IT Act and CrPC, a senior police officer said. "We were on alert and monitoring social media for inflammatory posts," the officer said. Two people each were arrested from Kamrup Metropolitan, Barpeta, Dhubri and Karimganj districts, police said. One person each was arrested from Darrang, Cachar, Hailakandi, South Salmara, Goalpara and Hojai districts, they said. (PTI)

    12:53 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Europe fears Afghan refugee crisis after Taliban takeover

    From above, the new border wall separating Turkey from Iran looks like a white snake winding through the barren hills. So far it only covers a third of the 540-km (335-mile) border, leaving plenty of gaps for migrants to slip across in the dead of night. Traffic on this key migration route from central Asia to Europe has remained relatively stable compared to previous years. But European countries, as well as Turkey, fear the sudden return of Taliban rule in Afghanistan could change that. Haunted by a 2015 migration crisis fuelled by the Syrian war, European leaders desperately want to avoid another large-scale influx of migrants and refugees from Afghanistan. Except for those who helped Western forces in the country's two-decade war, the message to Afghans considering fleeing to Europe is: If you must leave, go to neighbouring countries, but don't come here. "It must be our goal to keep the majority of the people in the region," Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said this week, echoing what many European leaders say. (AP)

    12:35 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Taliban kidnap people awaiting evacuation, including Indian citizens

    • Multiple Afghan media outlets report kidnapping by Taliban of persons awaiting evacuation from #Kabul. Among them are reported to be Indian citizens. No official confirmation of this, more details awaited
    • Ahmadullah Waseq, a Taliban spokesman has denied this report to a member of the Afghan media that reported on this story. More details are awaited. (ANI)

    12:20 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Taliban co-founder Baradar in Kabul for talks on setting up govt

    Taliban co-founder Baradar in Kabul for talks on setting up govt: official, reports AFP#Afghanistan (ANI)

    12:09 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: President Biden warns lives could be lost in massive Kabul airlift operations

    President Joe Biden has said that the mass evacuation from Kabul, one of the largest and most difficult airlifts in history, is not without risk of loss of lives, but vowed to bring all Americans and partners home from Afghanistan, as his administration grappled with the fallout from the chaotic exit. Biden's remarks on Friday come as the US rushed to airlift as many people as possible out of the Afghan capital ahead of a self-imposed deadline to depart Afghanistan by August 31. In a speech delivered from the White House, Biden said the United States has evacuated more than 18,000 people since July and approximately 13,000 since the airlifts began on Saturday. Biden continued to defend his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and said the US has made "significant progress" in its evacuation efforts since chaos broke out at the Kabul airport on Monday. "This is one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history, and the only country in the world capable of projecting this much power on the far side of the world with this degree of precision is the United States of America," Biden said. "Let me be clear. Any American who wants to come home, we will get you home." (PTI)

    12:06 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: In Kabul, a fearful wait for US to deliver on evacuation vow

    Tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan waited nervously on Saturday to see whether the United States would deliver on President Joe Biden's new pledge to evacuate all Americans and all Afghans who aided the war effort, as US helicopters plucked people from locations beyond the teeming, chaotic Kabul airport and its Taliban checkpoints. Time is running out ahead of Biden's Aug 31 deadline to withdraw most remaining US troops, and the president on Friday night did not commit to extending it. He faces growing criticism as videos depict pandemonium and occasional violence outside the airport, and as vulnerable Afghans who fear the Taliban's retaliation send desperate pleas not to be left behind. The Gulf nation of Bahrain on Saturday announced it was allowing flights to use its transit facilities for the evacuation, an option that should ease pressure after the US faced issues Friday with its facilities at Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar rapidly filling up. The backlog forced flights from the Kabul international airport to stop for several hours. (AP)

    11:51 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Bahrain says allows airport use for evacuations

    The island kingdom of Bahrain has said it is "allowing flights to make use of Bahrain's transit facilities" amid the evacuations of Afghanistan. The kingdom made the announcement in a statement released early Saturday. Bahrain, in the Persian Gulf off Saudi Arabia, is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. The announcement comes as the U.S. faced issues Friday with its facilities at Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar filling up with those fleeing the Taliban takeover of the country. The kingdom also said it is hoping that "all parties will commit to stabilizing the internal situation and to protecting the lives of civilians and the rule of law". (AP) 

    11:32 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Indian Air Force flight with over 85 Indians takes off from Kabul

    An Indian Air Force C-130J transport aircraft took off from Kabul with over 85 Indians. The aircraft landed in Tajikistan for refuelling. Indian government officials are helping in evacuation of Indian citizens on the ground in Kabul: Sources (ANI)

    11:26 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Slow Kabul evacuation aims to avert clashes with Taliban, civilians at airport - NATO official

    About 12,000 foreigners and Afghans working for embassies and international aid groups have been evacuated from Afghanistan since Taliban insurgents entered the capital, Kabul, a NATO official said on Friday. "The evacuation process is slow, as it is risky, for we don't want any form of clashes with Taliban members or civilians outside the airport," the official, who sought anonymity, told Reuters. Amid chaos and reports of Taliban violence, Western nations have struggled to ramp up the pace of evacuations since the Islamist movement's lightning takeover just a week ago. The Taliban have disowned responsibility for the disorder at the airport, besieged by thousands desperate to flee, saying the West could have had a better plan to evacuate. (Reuters)

    11:24 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Taliban vow to be accountable, probe reports of Afghanistan reprisals

    The Taliban will be accountable for its actions and will investigate reports of reprisals and atrocities carried out by members, an official of the Islamist militant group told Reuters on Saturday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that the group planned to ready a new model for governing Afghanistan within the next few weeks. It has been just a week since the Taliban completed a lighting fast takeover of the country, finally walking into Kabul last Sunday without firing a shot. Since then, individual Afghans and international aid and advocacy groups have reported harsh retaliation against protests, and roundups of those who formerly held government positions, criticised the Taliban or worked with Americans. "We have heard of some cases of atrocities and crimes against civilians," the official said. "If Talibs (members) are doing these law and order problems, they will be investigated."He added,  "We can understand the panic, stress and anxiety. People think we will not be accountable, but that will not be the case." Although the group has sought to present a more moderate face since its takeover, the Taliban ruled with an iron fist from 1996 to 2001, before being toppled by U.S.-led forces for sheltering al Qaeda militants behind the Sept. 11 attacks. (Reuters)

    11:22 (IST)21 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: PCB puts national camp and team selection on hold for Afghanistan series

    The Pakistan Cricket Board has put on hold a training camp that was scheduled to start on Saturday in Lahore and also the announcement of its squad for the One-Day series against Afghanistan next month in Sri Lanka. With Taliban taking over the reins of Afghanistan and the country facing its worst crisis in last two decades, the PCB wants a confirmation from Afghanistan Cricket Board whether the series is on and only the  will they announce the squad. The series is due to begin on September 3 in Hambantota in Sri Lanka with the Sri Lanka board hosting the matches on behalf of the ACB. The official said the Afghanistan cricket authorities are yet to confirm when their players will leave Kabul for Colombo and also the schedule of the matches. (PTI)

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