Afghanistan Crisis Highlights: Taliban to declare Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from presidential palace in Kabul

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Updated: August 18, 2021 9:44:36 am

Afghanistan News Today: Taliban wants peaceful transfer of power in Afghanistan in 'next few days', reports AFP

Afghanistan Crisis Latest Live Updates, Kabul Latest Live Updates, Taliban Latest Live Updates, Herat, Kunduz, Mazar-e-SharifTaliban fighters patrol streets of Herat in Afghanistan. (Reuters photo)

Afghanistan Updates August 15 Latest News: It looks like 1996 all over again but with a difference. The latest reports coming from Afghanistan suggest that Taliban forces have entered the capital city of Kabul. FE Online has learnt that since morning, there was a strong buzz about Taliban ‘infiltrators entering the city. Now, the latest updates say that the Taliban fighters took over the city riding scooters! This shows that there was almost zero resistance from the Afghan government forces.  The BBC says that the Taliban, meanwhile, has issued a statement saying that its fighters are still on the borders of Kabul as the consultations are underway.  It should be noted that all this is happening while around 3,000 US troops are in Kabul overseeing the crucial evacuation of its staff and other members of the allied forces. Days after the US announced that it would withdraw its forces after staying in the war-torn nation for 20 years, the Taliban forces began taking control of cities, at times without any resistance whatsoever. In the latest development, Mazar-e-Sharif, one of the key areas also came under Taliban control. If we look at the geography, Taliban forces have surrounded Kabul. Many say that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani faces tough choices between intense battle or abject surrender.

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

Live Blog

Highlights

    23:47 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Britain says Taliban should not be recognized as Afghan government

    Britain says Taliban should not be recognized as Afghan government (Reuters)

    23:07 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: British Airways has ordered pilots to avoid Afghan airspace due to deteriorating security

    British Airways has ordered pilots to avoid Afghan airspace because of deteriorating security there: British Airways Spokesperson (ANI)

    23:01 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Situation in Afghanistan does not augur well for India, says Punjab CM

    Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday emphasised on remaining extra vigilant at all borders of the country, saying Afghanistan's "fall" to the Taliban "does not augur well" for India.      "Afghanistan's fall to #Taliban doesn't augur well for our country. It'll strengthen the Sino-Pak nexus against India (China has already sought militia's help on Uyghur). The signs are not at all good, we need to be extra vigilant now at all our borders," the senior Congress leader said in a tweet.    India is gearing up to evacuate hundreds of its officials and citizens from Kabul with the Taliban on the brink of seizing control of the Afghan capital after President Ashraf Ghani left the country on Sunday following an intense onslaught by the militant outfit.    Afghanistan's Tolo News reported that Ghani and his close aides have left the country as the Taliban entered Kabul after capturing almost all major cities and provincial capitals. (PTI)

    22:52 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: India closely monitoring situation in Afghanistan; gearing up to evacuate staff from Kabul

    India is gearing up to evacuate hundreds of its officials and citizens from Kabul with the Taliban on the brink of seizing control of the Afghan capital after President Ashraf Ghani left the country on Sunday following an intense onslaught by the militant group.        Afghanistan's Tolo News reported that Ghani and his close aides have left the country after the Taliban entered Kabul after capturing almost all leading cities and provincial capitals.         As Afghanistan stares at an uncertain future with the imminent fall of Kabul into the hands of the Taliban, several countries including the US and the UK scrambled to evacuate their staff from the city that has been gripped by fear and panic.         People tracking developments in Afghanistan said India has prepared all contingencies and eventualities including evacuating its staff in its embassy in Kabul as well as Indian citizens stranded in the country.        It is learnt that a fleet of C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force is kept on standby to undertake evacuation missions.        The people cited above said India will not put the lives of its staffers at the embassy and its citizens in Kabul at any risk and plans have already been finalised for emergency evacuation.        "The government is closely monitoring fast-paced developments in Afghanistan. We will not put the lives of our staff at the Indian Embassy in Kabul at any risk," said a source.        However, there is no official comment from India on the fast-paced developments in Afghanistan. (PTI)

    22:36 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Taliban official says they will soon declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace in Kabul

    A Taliban official says the group will soon declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace in the capital, Kabul.       That was the name of the country under the Taliban government ousted by US-led forces after the September 11, 2001, attacks.    The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media. (AP) 

    22:30 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Afghan leaders form council to meet Taliban

    Afghan leaders have created a coordination council to meet with the Taliban and manage the transfer of the power, after the religious militia's lightening offensive swept to the capital, Kabul.       In a statement posted on social media by former president Hamid Karzai, he said the body will be lead by the head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, as well as the leader of Hizb-e-Islami, Gulbudin Hekmatyar, and himself. The statement said the move was "to prevent chaos and reduce the suffering of the people," and to manage peace and a "peaceful transfer." (AP) 

    22:25 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: "The security situation in Kabul is changing quickly including at the airport, says US Embassy in Kabul in an alert

    In a security alert, US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan says, "The security situation in Kabul is changing quickly including at the airport. There are reports of the airport taking fire". (ANI)

    22:09 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: US Embassy in Kabul tells Americans to shelter in place, says airport reportedly taking fire

    US Embassy in Kabul tells Americans to shelter in place, says airport reportedly taking fire. (AP) 

    21:29 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Taliban commanders say they have taken control of Afghan presidential palace

    The Taliban has taken control of Afghanistan's presidential palace, two senior Taliban commanders present in Kabul told Reuters on Sunday, after President Ashraf Ghani left the country.There was no confirmation from the Afghan government about the Taliban's claim. Government officials were not immediately contactable.  (Reuters)

    21:24 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: I can't believe the world abandoned Afghanistan. Our friends are going to get killed, says a woman who arrived in Delhi from Kabul

    "I can't believe the world abandoned #Afghanistan. Our friends are going to get killed. They (Taliban) are going to kill us. Our women are not going to have any more rights," says a woman who arrived in Delhi from Kabul (ANI) 

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    21:18 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Afghan nationals are worried over developments back home

    The situation is really dangerous there. We don't want to wear Chadaree. I want freedom. I am not able to sleep & eat in peace, says Arifa, an Afghan national (ANI) 

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    21:05 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Afghan nationals are worried over developments back home

    "My relatives live in Herat, Afghanistan. Everything is shut there. There is no peace. Women and girls are not allowed to go outside without wearing Chadaree. We want independence," says Abdul Kazir (ANI) 

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    20:51 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Afghan nationals are worried over developments back home 

    Delhi | Afghan nationals are worried over developments back home 

    "Leaders are running away & civilians are facing hardships. I've spoken to my friends who told me that Taliban have entered Kabul. Recently I've lost my cousin due to this war," says Hidayatullah in Jangpura (ANI) 

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    20:41 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Coronavirus Live Tracker: Taliban spokesman says in order to prevent looting and chaos their forces will enter some parts of Kabul 

    Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says in order to prevent looting and chaos their forces will enter some parts of Kabul, Afghanistan & occupy outposts that have been evacuated by security forces. He asks the people to not panic from their entrance into the city: TOLOnews (ANI)

    20:21 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis LIVE: Air India flight AI244 carrying 129 passengers from Kabul lands in Delhi

    Air India flight AI244 carrying 129 passengers from Kabul lands in Delhi (ANI)

    20:13 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Abdullah Abdullah, head of the HCNR, asks Afghan forces to cooperate in ensuring security

    Abdullah Abdullah, head of the HCNR, asks Afghan forces to cooperate in ensuring security. He asks Taliban to allow some time for talks before entering the city of Kabul. He calls Ashraf Ghani 'former president' & says Ghani has left the country: TOLOnews (ANI)

    19:57 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken rejects comparison between Kabul and Saigon

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken insists Afghan mission 'successful', rejects comparison between Kabul and Saigon (AFP)

    19:27 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has left the country for Tajikistan

    Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has left the country for Tajikistan, senior interior ministry official says (Reuters)

    19:07 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: NATO says it is “helping to maintain operations at Kabul airport to keep Afghanistan connected with the world”

    NATO says that it is “helping to maintain operations at Kabul airport to keep Afghanistan connected with the world.”

    In a statement it says that it would also maintain its diplomatic presence in Kabul. “The security of our personnel is paramount, and we continue to adjust as necessary,” it added.

    NATO provided no details on its number of staff still in Afghanistan, but said it was “constantly assessing developments” in the country.

    “We support Afghan efforts to find a political solution to the conflict, which is now more urgent than ever,” the statement said. (AP)

    18:39 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Delhi-bound Air India flight takes off from Kabul with 129 passengers on board

    Delhi-bound Air India flight takes off from Kabul with 129 passengers on board (ANI)

    18:33 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: American diplomats in Afghanistan being moved from embassy in Kabul to the airport as Taliban enter capital

    A U.S. official says American diplomats in Afghanistan are being moved from the embassy in Kabul to the airport as the Taliban enter the capital.

    The official says military helicopters are shuttling between the embassy compound and the airport, where a core presence will remain for as long as possible given security conditions.

    The official was not authorized to discuss diplomatic movements and spoke on condition of anonymity.

    Relocating a core group of embassy staff to the airport had been a contingency plan as the Taliban made dramatic territorial gains over the past several weeks before the final withdrawal of U.S. troops by Aug 31. (AP)

    18:11 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: NATO says political solution in Afghanistan 'more urgent than ever'

    Political solution in Afghanistan 'more urgent than ever': NATO (AFP)

    17:56 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Air India's last commercial flight flies out of Kabul

    Latest reports suggest that Air India's last commercial flight has flown out of Kabul. There are around 250 passengers. 

    17:24 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: India keeps C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft on standby, says PTI

    It is learnt that a fleet of the C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force is kept on standby to undertake evacuation missions. - PTI

    17:10 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Sources hint at India's cautious approach

    FE Online has learnt that India is closely monitoring the rapidly changing situation in Afghanistan. 'It's a dynamic situation,' say sources. On evacuation of staff from Kabul Mission, sources say that no decision has been taken.

    16:51 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Cricketer Rashid Khan tweets for peace

    As the situation worsens with every passing minute, Afghan cricketer Rashid Khan took to Twitter and posted a single word tweet calling for 'peace'.

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    16:36 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Ali Ahmad Jilali, former interior minister, seen heading an interim Afghan administration

    Ali Ahmad Jilali, a U.S.-based academic and former Afghan interior minister, is likely to be named to head an interim administration in Kabul, three diplomatic sources said on Sunday as Taliban fighters gathered around the city.Earlier, acting Interior Minister Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal said in a televised address that a peaceful transition would take place but no details have as yet been confirmed.It was not immediately clear whether the Taliban had given their final agreement to Jalali's appointment but he was seen as a potentially acceptable compromise figure to oversee the transition of power, the sources said. – Reuters

    16:01 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Taliban negotiators are heading to Afghan presidential palace

    Taliban negotiators are heading to Afghan presidential palace to prepare for a 'transfer' of power, reports Associated Press quoting Afghan official

    15:59 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Afghan forces surrender Bagram air base to Taliban

    An Afghan official says forces at Bagram air base, home to a prison housing 5,000 inmates, have surrendered to the Taliban. Bagram district chief Darwaish Raufi said Sunday that the surrender handed the one-time American base over to the insurgents. The prison housed both Taliban and Islamic State group fighters. It came as the Taliban entered the outskirts of Kabul. - AP

    15:49 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: UK parliament to be recalled next week to discuss Afghanistan - source

    The British parliament will be recalled from its summer recess next week to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, a source at Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Downing Street office said on Sunday, as Taliban insurgents entered Kabul.The entry into the capital caps a lightning advance by the Islamist militants, who were ousted 20 years ago by the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks.Britain's interior ministry said earlier that it was working to protect its citizens and help other eligible former UK staff to leave Afghanistan.  – Reuters

    15:34 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Russia says Taliban promised safety of embassy

    Russia's state news agency reported Sunday that the Taliban promised to guarantee the safety of the Russian embassy in Kabul. Tass quoted Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban's political office, as saying that the organisation has ‘good relations with Russia’ and a ‘policy in general to ensure safe conditions for the functioning of the Russian and other embassies.’ The Kremlin's envoy on Afghanistan said Sunday that there are no plans to evacuate the Russian embassy in Kabul. Zamir Kabulov told the Interfax news agency that Russia's ambassador and its staff are ‘calmly carrying out their duties.’ The reports came as Taliban fighters entered Kabul after a week-long blitz ahead of the final pullout of American and NATO troops. The Taliban said they don't plan to take the capital city by force. - AP

    15:19 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Tolo News tweets Acting Interior Minister's video statement

    Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal, the Acting Interior Minister, has issued a statement saying that the people of Kabul must not fear. He said that the capital city won't be attacked and there would be a peaceful power transition, says Tolo News  

    14:39 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live:Taliban's gains in Afghanistan pose fears of JMB's resurgence in East: Experts

    When the special task force of Kolkata Police nabbed three Bangladeshis suspected of links with terrorist outfit JMB in the eastern metropolis in July, warning bells started ringing among South Asia's security community. A month later, as the Taliban took over Herat, Kandahar and other cities in Afghanistan, analysts have started worrying that Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), which has its roots in an earlier Afghan war, may once again grow in strength. "We have seen how the JMB was founded by Afghan war veterans and how they started a reign of terror in neighbouring Bangladesh in the early 2000s. "It is well known that they want to bring a form of medieval rule in South Asia and both Bangladesh and India need to guard against the aftermath of a possible Taliban takeover of Afghanistan," Shantanu Mukharji, a strategic affairs analyst and former IPS officer, said. - PTI

    14:37 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Where is Ashraf Ghani?

    President Ashraf Ghani, who spoke to the nation Saturday for the first time since the offensive began, appears increasingly isolated as well. Warlords he negotiated with just days earlier have surrendered to the Taliban or fled, leaving Ghani without a military option. Ongoing negotiations in Qatar, the site of a Taliban office, also have failed to stop the insurgents' advance. - AP

    14:09 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Taliban issues statement

    Three Afghan officials told The Associated Press that the Taliban were in the districts of Kalakan, Qarabagh and Paghman in the capital. The militants later pledged not to take the capital ‘by force’ as sporadic gunfire could be heard in the capital. “No one's life, property and dignity will be harmed and the lives of the citizens of Kabul will not be at risk," the Taliban said. - AP

    13:41 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Taliban forces enter Kabul

    The latest report from AFP and other local media outlets suggest that Taliban fighters have entered Kabul. There is no news on the whereabouts of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. 

    12:39 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Taliban takes provincial Afghan capital just west of Kabul

    An Afghan lawmaker and the Taliban say the militants have seized a provincial capital just west of Kabul. The militants took Maidan Wardak, the capital of Maidan Wardak, on Sunday. That's about 90 kilometers from Kabul. Helicopters are landing at the US Embassy in Kabul as diplomatic vehicles leave the compound amid the Taliban advanced on the Afghan capital. The rapid shuttle runs by helicopters came Sunday as wisps of smoke rose from the embassy's roof. US officials previously said that diplomats inside had begun destroying sensitive documents. - AP

    12:09 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Taliban seize Jalalabad, cut off Afghan capital from east

    The Taliban on Sunday seized the last major city outside of Kabul held by the country's increasingly isolated central government, cutting off the capital to the east and tightening their grip on the nation as tens of thousands fled their rapid advance. The collapse of Jalalabad, near a major border crossing with Pakistan, leaves Afghanistan's central government in control of just Kabul and seven other provincial capitals out of the country's 34. In a nationwide offensive that has taken just over a week, the Taliban has defeated, co-opted or sent Afghan security forces fleeing from wide swathes of the country, even with some air support by the US military. President Ashraf Ghani, who spoke to the nation Saturday for the first time since the offensive began, appears increasingly isolated as well. Warlords he negotiated with just days earlier have surrendered to the Taliban or fled, leaving Ghani without a military option. Ongoing negotiations in Qatar, the site of a Taliban office, also have failed to stop the insurgents' advance. - AP

    12:08 (IST)15 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Helicopters land at US Embassy in Kabul amid Taliban advance

    The Taliban on Sunday seized the last major city outside of Kabul held by the country's increasingly isolated central government, cutting off the capital to the east as helicopters began landing at the US Embassy there. The collapse of Jalalabad, near a major border crossing with Pakistan, leaves Afghanistan's central government in control of just Kabul and seven other provincial capitals out of the country's 34. In a nationwide offensive that has taken just over a week, the Taliban has defeated, co-opted or sent Afghan security forces fleeing from wide swathes of the country, even with some air support by the US military. The rapid shuttle-run flights near the embassy began a few hours later as diplomatic armoured SUVs could be seen leaving the area around the post. The US government did not immediately acknowledge the movements. However, wisps of smoke could be seen near the embassy's roof as diplomats urgently destroyed sensitive documents, according to two American military officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the situation. - AP

    23:26 (IST)14 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: An Afghan lawmaker says the city of Mazar-e-Sharif has fallen to the Taliban

    An Afghan lawmaker says the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, has fallen to the Taliban after the insurgents launched a major assault there. (AP)

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