Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Highlights: U.S. President Joe Biden meets families of 13 troops killed in Kabul airport suicide attack

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Updated: September 2, 2021 11:28:49 am

Afghanistan Latest News, Afghanistan Terror Attack Highlights, Afghanistan-Taliban-Kabul Crisis, Kabul evacuation Today News August 29 Highlights: US forces are in the final phase of their evacuation from Kabul and just over 1,000 civilians inside the airport remain to be flown out before troops are withdrawn.

Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live, Afghanistan Terror Attack, Kabul airport evacuation LiveSince August 14, the US has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of around 113,500 people. (Picture: Reuters)

Kabul Afghanistan Taliban Crisis News Today August 29 Highlights: The situation continues to stay tensed in Afghanistan ahead of the August 31 deadline for evacuation. Several countries including the UK and Spain have completed their evacuations. The US has reached the final phase of evacuations. Just over 1,000 civilians inside the Kabul airport remain to be flown out before troops are withdrawn from Kabul, said a Western security official as reported by Reuters. As the countdown for the end of America’s longest military mission begins in Afghanistan, the US has evacuated over 2,000 people from the Kabul airport in the last 24 hours, the White House has said. Since August 14, the US has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of around 113,500 people. Since the end of July, it has re-located approximately 119,000 people, it said.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has warned of another terrorist attack on the Kabul airport in the next 24 to 36 hours. The State Department also urged all US citizens to leave the area near the airport because of a “specific, credible threat”. The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high. Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours,” Biden said on Saturday as reported by Reuters.

Stay with us as we bring you the latest on the Afghanistan crisis:

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Highlights

    22:23 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Kabul Afghanistan Taliban Crisis News Today Live: U.S. strikes at Islamic State militants in Kabul as withdrawal nears end

    A U.S. drone strike on Sunday hit a suicide bomber in a vehicle who was aiming to attack Kabul airport as U.S. forces worked to complete a withdrawal that will end two decades of military involvement in Afghanistan, U.S. officials said.

    The strike was the second by the U.S. military since an Islamic State suicide bomb just outside the airport on Thursday killed 13 U.S. troops and scores of Afghan civilians.

    The airport has been the scene of a massive airlift by U.S. and allied forces evacuating their citizens and Afghans desperate to leave a country since the Islamist Taliban took control two weeks ago. (Reuters) 

    22:06 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Kabul Afghanistan Taliban Crisis News Today Live: US evacuates over 5,500 American nationals from Afghanistan

    The US has safely evacuated more than 5,500 American nationals from Afghanistan including about 50 people in the last day and there are nearly 250 Americans who are trying to leave the war-torn country, the State Department said on Sunday.

    Chaos has enveloped Kabul after Afghanistan's government collapsed and the Taliban seized control on August 14.

    The Taliban insurgents stormed across the country, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, two weeks before the US was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war.

    "Nearly 5,500 American citizens and likely more have been safely evacuated from Afghanistan since August 14. This includes an additional roughly 50 individuals in the last day," a State Department spokesperson said.

    The official said there remain up to approximately 250 Americans in Afghanistan who are trying to leave the country. (PTI) 

    21:49 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Kabul Afghanistan Taliban Crisis News Today Live: Assessing the possibilities of civilian casualties in strike, says Bill Urban, spokesperson, US Central Command  

    Significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material. We are assessing the possibilities of civilian casualties, though we have no indications at this time: Bill Urban, spokesperson, US Central Command (ANI)

    21:29 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Kabul Afghanistan Taliban Crisis News Today Live: U.S. President Joe Biden meets families of 13 US troops killed in the Kabul airport suicide attack

    President Joe Biden met in solemn privacy Sunday with the families of the 13 US troops killed in the suicide attack near the Kabul airport as the remains of their loved ones returned to U.S. soil from Afghanistan.Biden and first lady Jill Biden were also to attend the "dignified transfer" of the fallen troops while at Dover Air Force Base, a military ritual of receiving the remains of those killed in foreign combat. 

    The dead ranged in age from 20 to 31, and came from California and Massachusetts and states in between.

    They include a 20-year-old Marine from Wyoming who had been expecting his first child in three weeks and a 22-year-old Navy corpsman who in his last FaceTime conversation with his mother assured her that he would stay safe because "my guys got me." Five were just 20, born not long before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that spurred the United States to invade Afghanistan in order to topple al-Qaida and dismantle their Taliban hosts who ruled the country. 

    At their deaths, the 13 young service members were on the ground for the U.S. coda to its longest war, assisting a chaotic evacuation of Americans and of Afghans who helped the U.S. war effort and are now fleeing the Taliban after their return to power."The 13 service members that we lost were heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our highest American ideals and while saving the lives of others," Biden said in a statement Saturday. "Their bravery and selflessness has enabled more than 117,000 people at risk to reach safety thus far."

    Family members of the fallen often travel to Dover to be present as flag-draped transfer cases are taken off the transport plane that returns them to American soil. Aside from the quiet commands of honour guards who carry the transfer cases, the short prayers of the chaplain typically are the only words spoken during the ritual. 

    Biden's three most recent predecessors as presidents all attended dignified transfers for troops killed in the nearly 20-year Afghanistan war. It will be the Biden's first time attending the ritual as president, but he has been here before.

    Biden attended a dignified transfer for two U.S. soldiers killed in a suicide blast at Bagram Airfield in the final months of his vice presidency in 2016. In 2008, while a senator and at the request of the grieving family, he attended one for a soldier killed in a car bombing in Iraq.

    Biden told CBS' "Face the Nation" that he had to get permission from the Pentagon to attend the transfer.

    The 13 troops who died in Kabul were the first U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan since February 2020. That was when the Trump administration reached an agreement with the Taliban that called for the militant group to halt attacks on Americans in exchange for a U.S. commitment to remove all American troops and contractors by May 2021.   Biden announced in April that he would have all forces out by September.

    Eleven of the 13 Americans killed were Marines. One was a Navy sailor and one an Army soldier. (AP) 

    21:23 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Kabul Afghanistan Taliban Crisis News Today Live: US military forces conducts unmanned over-the-horizon airstrike on a vehicle in Kabul

    US military forces conducted a self-defense unmanned over-the-horizon airstrike today on a vehicle in Kabul, eliminating an imminent ISIS-K threat to Hamid Karzai International Airport. We're confident we successfully hit the target: Bill Urban, US Central Command spokesperson (ANI)

    21:14 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Kabul Afghanistan Taliban Crisis News Today Live: US airstrike targeted a suicide bomber in a vehicle who wanted to attack the Kabul international airport

    US airstrike targeted a suicide bomber in a vehicle who wanted to attack the Kabul international airport, reports The Associated Press quoting a Taliban spokesman

     
    20:52 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Kabul Afghanistan Taliban Crisis News Today Live:  Private convoy helps evacuate 147 people from Kabul, German Foreign Office says

    A privately organised convoy reached the airport in Kabul with 147 people in need of protection, all of whom were evacuated Sunday morning, according to Germany's Foreign Office.  Those evacuated via the convoy, which was operated by a German security contractor, included local staff for the German government and employees of the contractor.

    The operation was conducted with help from US forces, and in close communication with the German Foreign Office. (AP) 

    20:30 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Kabul Afghanistan Taliban Crisis News Today Live: US carried out a military strike targetting suspected ISIS-K terrorists in Kabul 

    Afghanistan: US carried out a military strike targetting suspected ISIS-K terrorists in Kabul, reports Reuters quoting two US officials

    20:02 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Kabul Afghanistan Taliban Crisis News Today Live: Rocket strikes neighborhood northwest of Kabul’s airport killing a child 

    A rocket struck a neighbourhood just northwest of Kabul's international airport Sunday as the U.S. evacuation there winds down following the Taliban's lightning takeover of the country, killing a child, an Afghan police chief said. The attack comes as the United States winds down a historic airlift that saw tens of thousands evacuated from Kabul's international airport, the scene of much of the chaos that engulfed the Afghan capital since the Taliban took over two weeks ago.After an Islamic State affiliate's suicide attack that killed over 180 people, the Taliban increased its security around the airfield as Britain ended its evacuation flights Saturday. 

    U.S. military cargo planes continued their runs into the airport Sunday, ahead of a Tuesday deadline earlier set by President Joe Biden to withdraw all troops from America's longest war. 

    The rocket struck Kabul's Khuwja Bughra neighborhood, said Rashid, the Kabul police chief who goes by one name. No group immediately claimed the attack, however militants have fired rockets in the past.

    Meanwhile, the family of a folk singer north of Kabul say the Taliban killed him. 

    The shooting of Fawad Andarabi came in the Andarabi Valley for which he was named, an area of Baghlan province some 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Kabul.

    The valley had seen upheaval since the Taliban takeover, with some districts in the area coming under the control of militia fighters opposed to the Taliban rule. The Taliban say they have since retaken those areas, though neighboring Panjshir in the Hindu Kush mountains remains the only one of Afghanistan's 34 provinces not under its control.

    The Taliban previously came out to Andarabi's home and searched it, even drinking tea with the musician, his son Jawad Andarabi told The Associated Press. But something changed Friday. "He was innocent, a singer who only was entertaining people," his son said. "They shot him in the head on the farm." His son said he wanted justice and that a local Taliban council promised to punish his father's killer. 

    Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the AP that the insurgents would investigate the incident, but had no other details on the killing.

    Andarabi played the ghichak, a bowed lute, and sang traditional songs about his birthplace, his people and Afghanistan as a whole. A video online  showed him at one performance, sitting on a rug with the mountains of home surrounding him as he sang. "There is no country in the world like my homeland, a proud nation," he sang. "Our beautiful valley, our great-grandparents' homeland."

    Karima Bennoune, the United Nations special rapporteur on cultural rights, wrote on Twitter that she had "grave concern" over Andarabi's killing. "We call on governments to demand the Taliban respect the #humanrights of #artists," she wrote. 

    Agnes Callamard, the secretary-general of Amnesty International, similarly decried the killing. "There is mounting evidence that the Taliban of 2021 is the same as the intolerant, violent, repressive Taliban of 2001," she wrote on Twitter. "20 years later. Nothing has changed on that front."

    Meanwhile on Sunday, private banks across Afghanistan resumed their operations. However, they limited withdrawals to no more than the equivalent of USD 200 a day. While some complained of still being unable to access their money, government employees say they haven't been paid over the last four months. The Afghani traded around 90.5 to $1, continuing its depreciation as billions of dollars in the country's reserves remain frozen overseas. (AP)

    19:40 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Kabul Afghanistan Taliban Crisis News Today Live: Explosion heard in Afghanistan's capital Kabul, reports local media

    Explosion heard in Afghanistan's capital Kabul, reports local media (ANI)

    19:15 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: Security situation in Kashmir valley under control, nothing to worry about fallout of Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, says Indian Army

    Security situation in Kashmir valley under control, nothing to worry about fallout of Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan: Army (PTI)

    18:43 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: U.S. in final phase of Kabul evacuations, Taliban prepares government

    U.S. forces were in the final phase of pulling out of Kabul, ending two decades of costly involvement in Afghanistan, as the country's new Taliban rulers prepared to take control of the airport. Just over 1,000 civilians remained at the airport on Sunday to be flown out before the troops finally leave, a Western security official told Reuters.

    "We want to ensure that every foreign civilian and those who are at risk are evacuated today. Forces will start flying out once this process is over," said the official, who is stationed at the airport. U.S. President Joe Biden has said he will stick by his deadline to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Tuesday.

    A U.S. official told Reuters on Saturday that fewer than 4,000 troops remained at the airport.U.S. and allied forces have mounted a massive two-week effort to ferry foreign nationals and tens of thousands of vulnerable Afghans out of the country. The airlift - one of the biggest such evacuation operations ever - marked the end of a 20-year Western mission in Afganistan that began when U.S.-led forces ousted a Taliban government that had provided safe haven for the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

    The final chapter came quickly after the United States and the Taliban made a deal to end the foreign involvement. The Western-backed government and Afghan army melted away as Taliban fighters swept across the country and took control of Kabul on Aug. 15.

    The United States and allies have taken about 114,400 people out of Afghanistan in the past two weeks, but tens of thousands who want to go will be left behind. "We tried every option because our lives are in danger. They (the Americans or foreigners) must show us a way to be saved. We should leave Afghanistan or they should provide a safe place for us," said one woman outside the airport.

    A Taliban official told Reuters the Islamist group had engineers and technicians ready to take charge of the airport. "We are waiting for the final nod from the Americans to secure full control over Kabul airport as both sides aim for a swift handover," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    Britain's last military flight left Kabul on Saturday night after a chaotic two weeks at the airport that was plunged into a bloodbath on Thursday when an Islamic State suicide bomb attack outside the airport gates killed at least 90 Afghans and 13 American troops. Biden headed on Sunday to Dover Air Force Base to honor members of the U.S. military killed in the attack as their remains were returned to the United States. (Reuters)

    18:15 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: UK's Johnson defends Kabul airlift after blame game erupts

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended Britain's airlift from Kabul on Sunday following growing criticism that ministers had been "asleep on watch", potentially leaving thousands of eligible Afghans behind in the country.

    Britain, like the United States, has been criticised for failing to predict how quickly the Afghan government would fall, meaning it had not made sufficient preparation for the chaos that would follow when the Taliban seized power.

    Britain's last military flight left Kabul late on Saturday, ending a chaotic two weeks in which soldiers helped to evacuate more than 15,000 people from the crowds who descended on the capital's airport, desperate to flee the country.

    Richard Dannatt, former chief of staff of the British army, said the government now needed an inquiry to establish why it had been so ill-prepared for the rapid turn of events.

    "It is unfathomable why it would appear that the government was asleep on watch," he told Times Radio. "We've had this chaotic extraction, we should have done better, we could have done better."

    The Observer newspaper said thousands of emails sent to the Foreign Office by lawmakers and charities, detailing cases of Afghan citizens who needed help to leave, had not been read.

    A Foreign Office spokesperson said it had worked tirelessly to evacuate people but it had always cautioned that it would not be able to help everyone. The spokesperson declined to give any further details on the process.

    Britain's defence minister, Ben Wallace, predicted last week that time had run out to evacuate around 1,000 Afghans who were eligible to come to Britain, including former staff to the UK.

    Lisa Nandy, the opposition spokeswoman for the foreign office, said ministers had been completely unprepared for the withdrawal. "It really is an unparalleled moment of shame for this government, that we've allowed it to come to this," she told Sky News.

    Johnson said however that while Britain would not have wished to leave Afghanistan in the way it did, the armed forces should still be proud of their achievements.

    Speaking to the 150,000 men and women who completed a tour of Afghanistan, and the families of the 457 who died there, Johnson said they had succeeded in keeping Britain safe and in improving the livelihoods for Afghan locals.

    "I thank everyone involved, and I believe they can be very proud of what they've done," he said in a video online.A flight carrying troops and London's ambassador, Laurie Bristow, landed in Britain on Sunday, with further flights expected. Bristow said Britain's embassy to Afghanistan would operate in Qatar for now, before it can return when safe to do so. (Reuters)

    17:42 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: US will not have an embassy presence in Afghanistan as of Sept 1 - Sullivan

    US will not have an embassy presence in Afghanistan as of Sept 1 - Sullivan (Reuters)

    17:39 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: Biden aide guarantees safe passage for Americans from Afghanistan

    The Biden administration expects the Taliban to continue allowing safe passage for Americans and others to leave Afghanistan after the U.S. military withdrawal is completed next week, according to a top official. "The Taliban have both communicated privately and publicly that they will allow for safe passage," said Jake Sullivan, U.S. President Joe Biden's national security adviser, in a CBS TV interview set to be broadcast Sunday. U.S. forces are set to wind up their evacuation mission in Kabul before a Tuesday deadline set by Biden after the Taliban took control of much of the country. That effort has been complicated by the threat of more attacks like Thursday's blast that killed scores of Afghans and 13 American troops. "After August 31st, we will make sure there is safe passage for any American citizen, any legal permanent resident," Sullivan said, according to a transcript of CBS' "Face the Nation.""And yes, we will ensure the safe passage of those Afghans who helped us to continue coming out after the 31st of August. "Such safe passage would suggest some form of ongoing cooperation between Washington and the Taliban, which now controls a country it ran from 1996 to 2001, before being toppled by the United States in retaliation for providing safe haven to the al Qaeda militants who planned the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. "Our current plan is not to have an ongoing embassy presence in Afghanistan as of September 1st," said Sullivan. (Reuters)

    17:21 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: Ex-UK Marine leaves Kabul with dogs, cats but no local staff

    A former UK Royal Marine who waged a high-profile campaign to leave Afghanistan with almost 200 rescued dogs and cats has flown to safety  with the animals, but without his charity's Afghan staff, who were left behind in Kabul. A privately funded chartered plane carrying Paul 'Pen' Farthing and his animals took off from Kabul late Saturday after a saga that gripped and divided Britain, raising difficult questions about the relative value placed on human and animal lives. Animal welfare campaigner Dominic Dyer, who has acted as a UK-based spokesman for Farthing, said the plane was due to land at London's Heathrow Airport on Sunday. Farthing, who started the Nowzad charity after serving with British forces in Afghanistan 15 years ago, was eligible for evacuation in Britain's military airlift along with Afghan members of his staff and their dependents. But he refused to leave without the animals. (AP)

    17:07 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: US in final phase of Kabul evacuations, Taliban prepares government

    U.S. forces were in the final phase of pulling out of Kabul, ending two decades of costly involvement in Afghanistan, as the country's new Taliban rulers prepared to take control of the airport. Just over 1,000 civilians remained at the airport on Sunday to be flown out before the troops finally leave, a Western security official told Reuters. "We want to ensure that every foreign civilian and those who are at risk are evacuated today. Forces will start flying out once this process is over," said the official, who is stationed at the airport. U.S. President Joe Biden has said he will stick by his deadline to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Tuesday. A U.S. official told Reuters on Saturday that fewer than 4,000 troops remained at the airport.U.S. and allied forces have mounted a massive two-week effort to ferry foreign nationals and tens of thousands of vulnerable Afghans out of the country. (Reuters)

    17:00 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: Educators call on Taliban not to replace system

    Former officials and lecturers at Afghanistan universities have called on the Taliban to maintain and upgrade the country's education system instead of creating a new one. Former minister of higher education Abas Basir said Sunday at a conference on higher education held by the Taliban that starting over is a mistake made by previous governments. He says: "Lets not reject everything, starting a new system, we should work more on what we already have." Taliban caretaker higher education minister Abdul Baqi Haqqani criticised the current education system founded by the international community, saying that religious education was considered insignificant. "World tried to take religion out of scientific education which harmed the people," Haqqani said. He added that "every item against Islam in the educational system will be removed." (AP)

    16:47 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: Taliban kills Afghan folk singer in restive province

    Taliban fighter shot dead an Afghan folk singer in a restive mountain province under unclear circumstances, his family said Sunday. The killing reignited concerns among activists that the insurgents would return to their oppressive rule in the country after their military blitz toppled the government. The slaying of Fawad Andarabi comes as the United States winds down a historic airlift that saw tens of thousands evacuated from Kabul's international airport, the scene of much of the chaos that engulfed the Afghan capital since the Taliban took over two weeks ago. After an Islamic State affiliate's suicide attack that killed over 180 people, the Taliban increased its security around the airfield as Britain ended its evacuation flights Saturday. US military cargo planes continued their runs into the airport Sunday, ahead of a Tuesday deadline earlier set by President Joe Biden to withdraw all troops from America's longest war. The shooting Friday of the folk singer came in the Andarabi Valley for which he was named, an area of Baghlan province some 100 kilometres north of Kabul. The valley had seen upheaval since the Taliban takeover, with some districts in the area coming under the control of militia fighters opposed to the Taliban rule. The Taliban say they have since retaken those areas, though neighbouring Panjshir in the Hindu Kush mountains remains the only one of Afghanistan's 34 provinces not under its control. (AP)

    15:52 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: UK's Johnson defends Kabul airlift as criticism grows

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended Britain's airlift out of Kabul on Sunday and praised the troops for their mission after criticism grew that the government had been "asleep on watch" in Afghanistan. Britain's last military flight left Kabul late on Saturday, ending a chaotic two weeks in which soldiers helped to evacuate more than 15,000 people from the crowds who descended on the capital's airport, desperate to flee the Taliban. Johnson said Britain would not have wished to leave Afghanistan in this manner following its near 20-year presence there, but he said the armed forces should be proud of their achievements none the less. "I thank everyone involved, and I believe they can be very proud of what they've done," he said in a video online. (Reuters)

    15:50 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: No existence of Taliban in Bangladesh: Home Minister

    There is no existence of the Taliban in Bangladesh and other smaller notorious outfits in the country cannot create chaos, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Kamal has said, dismissing concerns that the insurgent group's victory in Afghanistan may encourage militants in the Muslim-majority nation. The minister's comments came after Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam said the Taliban's victory in Afghanistan would create a new wave of militancy in the sub-continent, including in Bangladesh, the Dhaka Tribune reported. Talking to reporters after the inauguration of a supermarket in Savar,  Kamal said that there is no existence of Taliban and other militants in Bangladesh. "Bangladesh is a country of peace. Taliban have come to power in Afghanistan and Kabul is located far from Bangladesh. So it has no effect in Bangladesh," the newspaper quoted Kamal as saying. (PTI)

    14:29 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: Last UK troops begin arriving from Afghanistan

    Military planes carrying British troops and diplomats from Kabul are landing at a UK air base after the U.K.'s two-week evacuation operation ended. The U.K. ambassador to Afghanistan, Laurie Bristow, was among those who arrived Sunday at RAF Brize Norton northwest of London, hours after the government announced that all British personnel had left Kabul. Britain says it has evacuated more than 15,000 U.K. citizens and vulnerable Afghans in the past two weeks but that as many as 1,100 Afghans who were entitled to come to the U.K. have been left behind. Vice Adm. Ben Key, who was in charge of the British operation, said: "We tried our best." In a video message, Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the "colossal" effort, saying it was "a mission unlike anything we've seen in our lifetimes". (Reuters)

    13:46 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: Malaysia seeking to confirm reports of two nationals detained in Afghanistan

    Malaysia is seeking help from foreign security agencies to confirm media reports that two of its nationals have been arrested by the Taliban in Afghanistan for their alleged involvement in Islamic State, the country's top police official said on Saturday. Inspector-General of Police Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said authorities had no information regarding the involvement of any Malaysians in the militant group in Afghanistan. "The Royal Malaysian Police has requested security agencies abroad to confirm the reports as well as the allegations," he said in a statement. "Investigations are also being carried out on whether those reports involved Malaysian Islamic State fighters who are already overseas." British publication The Times on Saturday had reported the arrest of six Islamic State operatives, including two Malaysians, citing a Taliban official. (Reuters)

    12:34 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: The changing equation in Afghanistan is a challenge for us, says Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

    The changing equation in #Afghanistan is a challenge for us... These situations have forced our country to rethink its strategy. We are changing our strategy and the formation of QUAD underlines this strategy: Defence Minister Rajnath SinghImage

    12:27 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: Venice Film Festival announces Afghan directors panel to discuss Taliban takeover

    The Venice International Film Festival has invited Afghan filmmakers Sahraa Karimi and Sahra Mani to talk about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan with "particular attention to the situation of filmmakers and artists" since the hardline religious group seized control of the country. The 78th edition of the movie gala, also called La Biennale di Venezia, will be held on the Lido from September 1 to 11. According to Biennale's official website, the panel will take place September 4 at 3 pm at the Palazzo del Casino (Lido of Venice), in the Press Conference Room. Topic of the panel is "the dramatic situation of Afghan filmmakers and artists in general, the need for the creation of humanitarian corridors and the guarantee of the granting of political refugee status, as well as concern for their future and the need to provide for their accommodation once they arrive in Europe". Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on August 15, several Afghans have fled the country, many of whom said they had been threatened by the Taliban. (PTI)

    12:04 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: Veteran Afghan strongmen to form new front for negotiating with Taliban

    A band of veteran Afghan leaders, including two regional strongmen, are angling for talks with the Taliban and plan to meet within weeks to form a new front for holding negotiations on the country's next government, a member of a group said. Khalid Noor, son of Atta Mohammad Noor, the once-powerful governor of northern Afghanistan's Balkh province, said the group comprised of veteran ethnic Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostum and others opposed to the Taliban's takeover. "We prefer to negotiate collectively, because it is not that the problem of Afghanistan will be solved just by one of us," Noor, 27, told Reuters in an interview from an undisclosed location. "So, it is important for the entire political community of the country to be involved, especially the traditional leaders, those with power, with public support," Noor said. (Reuters)

    11:30 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: Taliban, US aim for swift handover of Kabul airport - Taliban official

    The Taliban, Afghanistan's new rulers, and the departing U.S. forces are aiming for a swift handover of Kabul airport, a Taliban official told Reuters on Sunday. "We are waiting for the final nod from the Americans to secure full control over Kabul airport," the official said on condition of anonymity. He said the militants, who seized control of the capital on Aug. 15 after a lightning advance against the Western-backed government, had a team of technical experts and highly qualified engineers ready to take over the airport. (Reuters)

    10:51 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: EAM Jaishankar speaks to US Secretary of State Blinken, discusses Afghan crisis

    External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday spoke to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan. The conversation came two days after a suicide bombing just outside the Kabul airport killed 13 American troops and around 170 Afghan people. "Spoke to US Secretary of State Blinken. Continued our discussions on Afghanistan. Also exchanged views on the agenda of UNSC," Jaishankar tweeted. On his part, the US Secretary of State said he and Jaishankar discussed shared priorities of the two countries including continued coordination on Afghanistan. "Spoke with Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar today to discuss our shared priorities including continued coordination on Afghanistan and in the United Nations. Look forward to continuing to deepen our partnership," Blinken said on Twitter. Separately, spokesperson in the US State Department Ned Price said Blinken and Jaishankar agreed to remain "closely coordinated on shared goals and priorities to deepen the US-India partnership." (PTI)

    10:50 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: Final UK evacuation flight leaves Kabul; troops head home

    British troops have left Kabul, ending the UK's evacuation operation and its 20-year military involvement in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the "heroic" evacuation effort, even as the government acknowledged some eligible Afghan civilians had been left behind. The UK's top military officer conceded that "we haven't been able to bring everybody out." The UK government said late Saturday that about 1,000 troops who ran an airlift of British nationals and Afghan civilians had departed from Kabul airport, hours after the final evacuation flight for civilians. Most countries apart from the United States had already left. Before departing, Britain's ambassador to Afghanistan, Laurie Bristow, said from Kabul airport that it was "time to close this phase of the operation now". (AP)

    10:49 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: Biden says another terrorist attack on Kabul airport is 'highly likely'

    Another terrorist attack on the Kabul airport is "highly likely" in the next 24 to 36 hours, President Joe Biden has warned, as the US rushed to evacuate the few remaining Americans and Afghan allies ahead of the August 31 deadline to withdraw from Afghanistan.    The State Department also urged all US citizens to leave the area near the airport because of a "specific, credible threat".  "The situation on the ground continues to be extremely dangerous, and the threat of terrorist attacks on the airport remains high. Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours," Biden said on Saturday. Biden directed them to take every possible measure to prioritise force protection. He ensured that they have all the authorities, resources and plans to protect US men and women on the ground. Biden also wowed to keep up retaliatory strikes against the terrorists responsible for Thursday's suicide bombing at the airport that killed 13 US service members and at least 170 Afghans. (PTI)

    10:47 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: US evacuates about 2,000 people from Kabul in the last 24 hours

    The US has evacuated approximately 2,000 people from the Kabul airport in the last 24 hours, the White House has said, as the countdown for the end of America's longest military mission begins in Afghanistan. Since August 14, the US has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 113,500 people. Since the end of July, it has re-located approximately 119,000 people, it said. "From August 28 at 3:00 AM EDT to August 28 at 3:00 PM EDT, a total of approximately 2,000 people were evacuated from Kabul. This is the result of 11 U.S. military flights (11 C-17s), which carried approximately 1,400 evacuees, and 7 coalition flights, which carried 600 people," the White House said on Saturday. (PTI)

    10:45 (IST)29 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis updates: Massachusetts woman among US troops killed in Kabul blast

    Condolences poured in from across Massachusetts and dozens gathered in a vigil Saturday upon learning that a Marine from Massachusetts was among the US service members killed in a suicide bombing at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. The family of Sgt Johanny Rosario Pichardo was notified Friday evening and asked for privacy, said Jaime Melendez, director of veterans services in Lawrence, where Rosario attended high school. "We will not allow her to be forgotten," Melendez said. Dozens attended a vigil in Rosario's memory Saturday afternoon in Boston that was hosted by Massachusetts Fallen Heroes, an organisation founded by veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. (AP)

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