Afghanistan Taliban News Highlights: Taliban fighters open fire on people waving national flag at Independence Day rally in Asadabad, several killed

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Updated: August 25, 2021 8:30:30 am

Afghanistan News Updates, Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Latest Update, Kabul Latest News Today: After Khost and Jalalabad, Asadabad has also reported Taliban firing at dissenters.

Afghanistan Kabul News Today Live, Afghanistan Taliban Conflict Live, Kabul Live BlogIn their letter, the senators sought a full account of military equipment provided to the Afghan armed forces last year. (Photo credit: AP)

Taliban Afghanistan Crisis Latest Update August 19, Kabul Latest News: Chaos reigns supreme in Kabul and across Afghanistan with no clarity on what will happen next. The Hamid Karzai International Airport, the only way one can leave Afghanistan, has become a new flashpoint. Since the stunning Sunday takeover, 12 people have died at the Kabul Airport. On Monday, as many as seven people were killed in the US firing. Yesterday, five people lost their lives and several were injured during a stampede near one of the gates of the Kabul Airport. Latest reports from Kabul suggest that Taliban fighters have been deployed at all checkpoints leading up to the airport. The Taliban gunmen are allowing only foreigners to pass their cordon.

This comes at a time when several regions in Afghanistan are reporting about civilians taking the street to oppose the takeover. After Khost and Jalalabad, Nangarhar also saw similar scenes of dissent with locals opposing the Taliban flags.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Shah Massoud’s son has written in The Washington Post saying that the ‘resistance’ has begun. Son of the legendary military commander and the Afghan leader behind the Northern Alliance says that the Taliban won’t be allowed to rule Afghanistan. Ahmad Massoud says that his Mujahids are ready and they will fight against the Taliban just like his father. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has said that the US troops may have to stay in Afghanistan beyond the August 31st drawdown deadline.

Stay with us as we follow the ever-changing situation in Afghanistan and bring you the latest reactions, developments from Kabul and across the world:

Live Blog

Highlights

    23:00 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    India has historical relationship with Afghan people and that will continue to guide our thoughts and outlook: Jaishankar

    External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said that India has a historical relationship with the Afghan people and that will continue to guide its thoughts and outlook as he spoke on the volatile situation in the war-torn country at the UN Security Council.       Jaishankar, addressing reporters at the UN Security Council stakeout after chairing a high-level United Nations Security Council briefing on 'Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts' held under India's current presidency of the UNSC, said that the focus is on the safe return of Indian nationals who are there in the country.     "We have a historical relationship with the Afghan people and I think that relationship will continue to guide our thoughts and outlook," he said.     On another question, he said: "we're working with international partners in this regard, especially the US, as it controls the airport."     He emphasised that repatriation of Indian nationals from Afghanistan remained its top priority.    India on Tuesday rushed back home its ambassador Rudrendra Tandon and staff from the embassy in Kabul in a military transport aircraft following escalating tension, fear and uncertainty gripping the Afghan capital after the Taliban insurgents seized the Afghan capital on Sunday. (PTI)

    22:31 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Takeover of Kabul by Taliban on eve of 20th anniversary of 9/11 would be remembered as historic, says Davood Moradian, Director, AISS

    "Takeover of Kabul by Taliban on eve of 20th anniversary of 9/11 would be remembered as historic...One of the passengers that fell from flying airplane was reportedly from Afghan National Football team...," Davood Moradian, Director, Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies (ANI)  

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    22:05 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    MEA urges all Indian nationals in Afghanistan requiring assistance to contact Special Afghanistan Cell

    Ministry of External Affairs urges 'All Indian nationals in Afghanistan requiring assistance to contact Special Afghanistan Cell, if not done so already. Contact details below' 

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    21:50 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghan officials: Taliban can't rule by force

    A delegation of prominent Afghan leaders and officials has warned that a Taliban government will not survive for long if it repeats past mistakes.The delegation, headed by Afghan parliament speaker, Mir Rehman Rehmani, spoke to reporters in Islamabad on Thursday, after meeting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and other government and military officials this week. The Afghans arrived in the Pakistani capital on Monday, a day after the Taliban swept into Kabul and took over Afghanistan.A former Afghan vice president, Mohammad Younis Qanooni, said the future government in Afghanistan should be inclusive, with the participation of all ethnic groups."We oppose a rule by one party or group," he said. Khalid Noor, a prominent politician, said the Taliban cannot rule by force in Afghanistan. He says they have taken power by force, but warned their rule would be short-lived if they didn't respect the rights of the people.Other members of the Afghan delegation include Salahud-din-Rabbani, Ahmad Zia Massoud and Ahmad Wali Massoud. (AP) 

    21:23 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: DU Acting VC assures Afghan students of all possible help

    Delhi University Acting Vice-Chancellor PC Joshi on Thursday assured Afghan students of all the possible help after they shared their woes during a meeting with varsity officials. Days after the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan, the officials from Dean Students' Welfare and Foreign Students Registry held a meeting with Afghan students.There are around 200 Afghan students studying in the university in various undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Many of them are back home since the classes are being held online and due to semester break. Around 48 students attended the meeting on Thursday."The Afghan students shared their worries and woes about the current situation in their country. The university authorities patiently listened to their problems which included visa extension, ICCR scholarship, hostel accommodation, financial problems, etc," said a statement from the varsity. Joshi assured the students that the university will extend all possible help and assistance to them and the DU stands in solidarity with its Afghan students, it added. (PTI) 

    20:51 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Biden says Taliban must decide if it wants international recognition

    The Taliban must decide whether it wants to be recognized by the international community, U.S. President Joe Biden said in an ABC interview aired on Thursday, adding that he did not think the group had changed its fundamental beliefs. (Reuters) 

    20:34 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: US footprint in Kabul is now over 5,200 total troops on the ground

    The US footprint in Kabul is now over 5,200 total troops on the ground. Kabul Airport remains secure and open for flight operations. Since the start of evacuation operations on Aug 14, we have evacuated approx 7,000 total evacuees: US Army Major General William “Hank” Taylor (ANI)

    20:12 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Business of Pakistani human smugglers boom as thousands of Afghans attempt to leave after Taliban takeover

    Pakistani human smugglers operating in areas bordering Afghanistan are raking in money as thousands of Afghans try to exit their country by clandestine means following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban.Thousands of Afghans are fleeing Afghanistan to escape the new Taliban regime and seek asylum in different nations, including the US and many European nations, in quest of a better living environment.  "Business has been booming even before the Taliban entered Kabul. We have smuggled in around 1,000 people from across the border since last week and business is booming," Hameed Gul, who operates from a small town near the Chaman-Spin Boldak border with Afghanistan, told PTI over telephone.He was reluctant to divulge how much they charge for smuggling the Afghani people into Pakistan, but Hameed was also the only one willing to speak to this correspondent but he also confirmed that there were others like him operating from near border towns."These people are afraid of what will happen under the Taliban rule and just want to get out of Afghanistan in whatever way possible and for that they are willing to pay whatever we demand and also be smuggled into Pakistan," he said.He said the human smugglers operate clandestinely from border areas and use their own transport to smuggle the Afghanis into Pakistan.    A source, who is aware of this human smuggling racket, said they mostly operate from border areas like Chaman, Chaghi and Badani in the restive Balochistan province.The source said most of the unofficial refugees tend to move onto Quetta or other Pakistani cities once they are safely in Pakistan and some of them already have relatives working in Karachi or Quetta who are there to support them.  (PTI)

    19:51 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    With Taliban in power, China eyes highly lucrative rare-earth mines in Afghanistan

    China appears to be eyeing to clinch lucrative projects to exploit mineral-rich Afghanistan, especially the trillions of dollars worth of rare-earth metals, as it calibrated its policy to recognise the Taliban government.

    Rare-earth metals in Afghanistan were estimated to be worth anywhere between USD one trillion to USD three trillion in 2020, a CNBC report this week quoted Ahmad Shah Katawazai, a former diplomat at the Afghan Embassy in Washington.

    Rare-earth metals are a key component for a host of advanced technologies like iPhones and hi-tech missile guidance systems. | Read More

    19:29 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Biden says Taliban now in 'existential crisis'

    President Joe Biden says the Taliban have not changed but are going through an "existential crisis" about whether they want legitimacy on the global stage as they've taken over Afghanistan.In an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," Biden said that he's "not sure" the Taliban want to be "recognized by the international community as being a legitimate government."He also said that the threat from al-Qaida and their affiliate organizations is "greater in other parts of the world than it is in Afghanistan, adding that it's 'not rational' to ignore the 'looming problems' posed by al-Qaida affiliates in Syria or East Africa, where he said the threat to the US is 'significantly greater.'

    "We should be focusing on where the threat is the greatest," Biden said, in defense of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.Biden also pushed back against concerns about the treatment of women and girls in the country, arguing that it's 'not rational' to try to protect women's rights around the globe through military force. Instead, it should be done through "diplomatic and international pressure" on human rights abusers to change their behavior. (AP) 

    19:10 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Several killed amid firing by Taliban and stampede during rally in Afghan city - witness

    Several people were killed on Thursday in the Afghan city of Asadabad when Taliban fighters fired on people waving the national flag at an Independence Day rally, a witness said.

    It was not clear if the casualties came from the firing or from a stampede it triggered, witness Mohammed Salim said from the eastern city, the capital of Kunar province.

    A Taliban spokesman was not immediately available for comment. (Reuters) 

    18:39 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Biden administration suspends all arms sales to Afghanistan govt

    The Biden administration has suspended all arms sales to the government of Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country.      In a notice to defence contractors posted Wednesday, the State Department's Political/Military Affairs Bureau said pending or undelivered arms transfers to Afghanistan had been put under review.    "In light of rapidly evolving circumstances in Afghanistan, the Directorate of Defense Sales Controls is reviewing all pending and issued export licenses and other approvals to determine their suitability in furthering world peace, national security and the foreign policy of the United States," it said.   The notice said it would issue updates for defense equipment exporters in the coming days. (AP) 

    18:24 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    New Taliban government in Afghanistan will not at the current time be allowed to access loans or other resources: IMF

    The International Monetary Fund says that the new Taliban government in Afghanistan will not at the current time be allowed to access loans or other resources from the 190-nation lending organisation.      In a statement Wednesday, the IMF said it would be guided by the views of the international community.    The statement said, "There is currently a lack of clarity within the international community regarding recognition of a government in Afghanistan, as a consequence of which the country cannot access SDRs or other IMF resources."    SDRs are special drawing rights which serve as a reserve that IMF member countries can tap into to meet payment obligations. (AP)

    18:05 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Taliban fighters open fire on people waving national flag at Independence Day rally in Asadabad, several killed

    Several people were killed in the Afghan city of Asadabad when Taliban fighters fired on people waving the national flag at an Independence Day rally, a witness said (Reuters) 

    17:55 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    India should be "open-minded" about dealing with the Taliban: Yashwant Sinha

    Former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha on Thursday said India should be "open-minded" about dealing with the Taliban and suggested that it should open its embassy in Kabul and send back the ambassador.     Noting that the people of Afghanistan have great love for India while Pakistan is not popular among them, Sinha told PTI in an interview that the Indian government should not conclude that the Taliban will place itself "in Pakistan's lap" as every country furthers its own interests.      As a big country, India should approach the issues of the Taliban with a degree of confidence and should not indulge in a "widow's wail" as if Pakistan has taken over Afghanistan or has an advantage over it, he added.     That the Taliban now controls most of Afghanistan is a reality, Sinha said, adding that India should adopt "wait and watch" mode and be in no hurry either to recognise or to dismiss its regime.     The Taliban swept across Afghanistan this month, seizing control of almost all key Afghan towns and cities in the country following the withdrawal of the US forces from the country. Kabul also fell to the Taliban on Sunday after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani left the country for an unknown destination.     "It appears on the face of it that the Taliban of 2021 is not the same Taliban of 2001. There appears to be some difference. They are making mature statements. That is something we have to take note of," Sinha said.     "I am not saying that take their statements at face value but I will also suggest that they should not be dismissed off-hand because of their past behaviour. We have to look at present and future," he added.      Sinha was the foreign minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government but became a critic of the Modi government and quit the BJP. He is currently vice president in the Trinamool Congress. (PTI) 

    17:30 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Taliban more ‘clear eyed and rational’ than before: China

    China on Thursday said it is in talks with the Taliban and called for an objective judgement on their actions after it seized power in Afghanistan, saying the militant group appears to be more clear eyed and rational and hoped that it will deliver on its promises, including protection of women’s rights.

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that although the situation hasn’t cleared up completely, it is believed that the “Afghan Taliban will not repeat the history of the past and now they are clear-eyed and rational compared to their last rule. | Read More

    16:58 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Spirits run low in Delhi's 'Little Kabul' on Afghanistan's Independence Day

    For the Afghan community living in India, August 19 is a milestone as Afghanistan had achieved Independence on this very day in 1919, but following the takeover of the war-torn country by the Taliban, the mood at Delhi's 'Little Kabul' is anything but celebratory. From restaurants to departmental stores, the spirit of freedom, otherwise peaking on the anniversary day, was running low on Thursday in Lajpat Nagar, Bhogal and neighbouring Hazrat Nizamuddin area. Sharifa Ashuri, 23, who had moved to Delhi from Kabul in 2015, after the death of her father, said what is happening in Afghanistan is "weighing heavy on our minds". At a restaurant in Lajpat Nagar -- dubbed as ''Little Kabul'' of Delhi -- where she works to make a living, she scrolls through social media feed to read about the situation in the war-torn country, her colleagues, also Afghans, huddle around her to watch videos, purportedly showing the Taliban roaming the streets. - PTI

    16:32 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Turkey offers to run Kabul Airport

    While the world powers are busy in evacuating their diplomats and Afghan staff, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that if the Taliban agrees, Turkey is ready to protect and run the Kabul Airport. The president said that he is ready to hold talks with the Taliban officials.

    16:11 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Romania says evacuates single citizen from Kabul

    Romania's foreign ministry says that a military aircraft has evacuated a single Romanian citizen from Kabul airport to Islamabad. It said in a statement that ‘the particularly difficult security conditions in Kabul meant that the access of other groups of Romanian citizens to the airport could not be achieved.’ The C-130 Hercules aircraft, which evacuated a NATO employee on Wednesday evening, had military personnel and a mobile consular team onboard ready to provide ‘specialised assistance.’ It is set to return to Kabul airport to continue evacuating Romanian citizens, officials said. Authorities said that at the time of the operation there were 33 Romanian citizens registered as present in Afghanistan. - AP

    16:07 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Protesters replace Taliban flag in Kabul

    On Afghanistan Independence Day, the war-torn nation is witnessing several protests in Kabul and other provincial cities. The latest reports from the Afghan capital says that some civilians replaced the Taliban flag at Abdul Haq square in Kabul. The Afghan national flag was hoisted in clear defiance of the Taliban. 

    15:45 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Many out of the thousands Afghan refugees expected to resettle in US' state of Texas: Official

    Many among the at least 30,000 Afghan refugees headed to the US to escape the Taliban in Afghanistan are expected to be resettled in different cities in Texas state, the agency for refugee services has said. An anticipated at least 30,000 Afghans could be resettled in the US in the coming weeks as they desperately flee Taliban control. Many Afghan refugees will be placed in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Austin cities of Texas. ‘Afghan nationals and their families, who aided the US military, are in grave danger and are seeking refuge in the US,’ Russell Smith, CEO of Refugee Services of Texas (RST) said in a statement. ‘So far, 107 families are confirmed to relocate to Austin in the next few weeks. Over the weekend, the Austin office ofT resettled a family of seven, and is gearing up to welcome four additional families this week. We know that this is just the beginning of this wave, and stands ready to do our part in this crisis,’ Smith said. - PTI

    15:43 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live:Dutch military plane evacuates from Kabul

    A Dutch military transport plane has arrived in Amsterdam carrying people evacuated from Kabul. The Ministry of Defense says that a C-17 plane landed late Wednesday night at Schiphol airport. On board were 35 Dutch nationals along with citizens from Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. The government says it has now airlifted 50 Dutch nationals out of Kabul. A Dutch consular crisis team along with dozens of troops to protect the personnel flew into the Afghan capital on Wednesday. - AP

    15:37 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: On Afghanistan Independence Day, cricketer Rashid Khan tweets this

    Afghan cricketer Rashid Khan, who also plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL tournament took to Twitter to post a special message for Afghanistan's Independence Day. Along with three picture, Khan wrote about praying for a peaceful nation. 

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    15:07 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: UK Chief of Defence Staff calls Taliban 'country boys'

    In a viral clip that is being shared widely on Twitter, UK Chief of Defence Staff Nick Carter said that 'we can't use the term enemy for Taliban.' He went on to say that the world needs to be patient with the new Taliban. ' We must know who Talibans are...they are a bunch of country boys,' Carter was seen saying during an interview with news channel Sky News.  The interview clip has gone viral with many asking if this was indeed the new stand of the Boris Johnson govt. 

    14:51 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: EU's Borrell laments Afghan 'catastrophe' as staff evacuated

    The European Union's foreign policy chief branded developments in Afghanistan "a catastrophe" on Thursday and said there had been a failure of intelligence to anticipate the Taliban's rapid return to power.Addressing the European Parliament, Josep Borrell said about 100 EU staff and 400 Afghans working with the EU and their families had been evacuated, but that 300 more Afghans were still trying to leave.He stressed Europe's "moral duty" to rescue as many Afghans as possible who had worked for the EU in Afghanistan, but said it would not be possible to get them all out."Let me speak clearly and bluntly, this is a catastrophe," Borrell said. – Reuters

    14:31 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: No country can 'ignore' Pakistan as it convinced Afghan Taliban to talk to US: Interior Minister

    No country can "ignore" Pakistan as it convinced the Afghan Taliban to hold dialogue with the US, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has said as he boasted of Islamabad's significant role in ensuring peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan's efforts for the peace process in Afghanistan would be remembered for long, he said on Wednesday. "No country can ignore Pakistan as it has played a significant role in bringing the US and Taliban to the negotiating table", The News International quoted Ahmed as saying. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had also tried to convince Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to hold talks with the Taliban but he was not prepared for that. He also said the decision to recognise any likely Taliban government in Kabul rested with Prime Minister Khan and his Cabinet. - PTI

    14:26 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Now Asadabad reports Taliban firing

    Several people are dead and many have been injured after Taliban fighters opened fire at a rally in Asadabad city, local media has reported. According to Al-Arabiya, the civilians were holding a protest observing Independence Day. Witnesses have been quoted saying that the Taliban gunmen started firing at the unarmed civilians.  Asadabad is the capital of Kunar province. August 19 is celebrated as Afghanistan Independence Day that marks the signing of the Anglo-Afghan treaty 

    13:57 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: What is Taliban's governance plan?

    The Taliban are saying that the war is over, that they have won the war, that they have changed. Except for 'Sharia Law', the Taliban has not said anything about their governance plan. While the Taliban officials have asked people to return to work, the vandalised showcases in markets present a different picture. People are either hiding or trying to flee Afghanistan.   

    13:30 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Uttarakhand govt asks people to submit details of stranded kin in Afghanistan

    As part of efforts to ensure safe return of Uttarakhand natives stuck in Afghanistan, the state government has asked people whose relatives are stranded to give details of their kin to the district administration. Additional Chief Secretary Anand Bardhan has asked people to provide the district administration documents like names of their relatives stranded in Afghanistan, their passports and other relevant details. The information can also be provided to the district administration on helpline number 112, Bardhan said. The state government is making all efforts with the help from the Centre to ensure safe return of people from Uttarakhand stranded in Afghanistan, he said. - PTI

    13:29 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live:Russia was ready for Taliban's win due to longtime contacts

    When the Taliban swept over Afghanistan, Russia was ready for the rapid developments after working methodically for years to lay the groundwork for relations with the group that it still officially considers a terrorist organisation. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emphasised this week that Moscow was ‘in no rush’ to recognize the Taliban as the new rulers of Afghanistan, but he added there were ‘encouraging signals’ of their readiness to let other political forces join the government and allow girls into schools. The Taliban was added to the Russian list of terrorist organizations in 2003, and Moscow has not yet moved to remove the group from the list. Any contact with such groups is punishable under Russian law, but the Foreign Ministry has responded to questions about the seeming contradiction by saying that its exchanges with the Taliban are essential for international efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. -AP

    13:27 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: How to live under Taliban rule? Civilians stare at uncertain future

    If one looks at the latest photos from Kabul, there seems to be more crowd outside resembling some sense of normalcy. But if you scratch the surface the unease will be revealed. From an acute shortage of groceries in the market to ATMs running out of cash, the 38 million-strong nation is looking at a bleak future. There are several accounts of interrogations, kidnappings and phones being confiscated not only in Kabul but other provincial towns. 

    13:21 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Poland to deploy 100 troops for Kabul evacuation

    Poland's president has approved the deployment of a 100-person military contingent to Afghanistan to help secure the evacuation of Polish citizens and the citizens of other countries in coordination with allies. President Andrzej Duda signed the order late Wednesday for the mission, and which is to last until September 16. Meanwhile, a first plane carrying a group of people who were evacuated from Afghanistan landed at Warsaw's military airport late Wednesday, said Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak. The group was first taken from Kabul by military plane to Uzbekistan and from there was transported on to Warsaw. - AP

    11:36 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Italy pushes for extraordinary G20 summit on Afghanistan -media

    Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is working to organise a summit of the Group of 20 major economies on the situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover at the weekend, newspapers La Repubblica and Il Messaggero said on Thursday.Italy holds the rotating G20 presidency this year and a possible meeting is expected to be held before October's scheduled summit in Rome, La Repubblica said.Draghi is expected to discuss the matter with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, the two dailies added.A spokesperson for the prime minister's office was not immediately available for comment.An online meeting of leaders of the G7 grouping has already been scheduled for next week to discuss a common strategy and approach on the situation in Afghanistan. – Reuters

    10:32 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live:Case of kidnapped American Mark Frerichs will weigh on Taliban's legitimacy -U.S. official

    The United States has pressed the Taliban to return Mark Frerichs, an American kidnapped in Afghanistan, and his case will weigh on the legitimacy of any future Taliban-led government, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday.Frerichs' family had visited the State Department this week to discuss his case, the official said, after the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday amid an evacuation of U.S. citizens, Western diplomats and their Afghan allies.Frerichs, who worked in Afghanistan on construction projects and was abducted in early February 2020, is believed to have been held in Taliban custody, the official said. The State Department last year offered a reward of up to $5 million for information in his case.The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Frerichs' case had been repeatedly raised by U.S. negotiators during talks with the Taliban in Doha, and Washington would consider whether the group had respected the international norm against hostage-taking when deciding whether to recognize a future government. – Reuters

    10:27 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live:IMF blocks Afghanistan's access to SDR reserves over lack of clarity on government

    The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday it suspended Afghanistan's access to IMF resources, including around $440 million in new monetary reserves, due to a lack of clarity over the country's government after the Taliban seized control of Kabul.The IMF's announcement came amid pressure from the U.S. Treasury, which holds a controlling share in the Fund, to ensure that Afghanistan's share of a Special Drawing Rights reserves allocation scheduled for Monday not fall into Taliban hands."There is currently a lack of clarity within the international community regarding recognition of a government in Afghanistan, as a consequence of which the country cannot access SDRs or other IMF resources," an IMF spokesperson said in an emailed statement. – Reuters

    10:27 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Taliban keep some evacuees from reaching Kabul airport

    Armed members of the Taliban kept people desperate to flee Afghanistan from reaching Kabul's airport on Wednesday, witnesses said, while President Joe Biden vowed to keep U.S. troops in the country until all Americans are evacuated.Since the Taliban entered Kabul over the weekend, scenes of chaos have unfolded as thousands seek to leave, fearing a return to the austere interpretation of Islamic law imposed during the previous Taliban rule that ended 20 years ago."Everyone wants out," said a member of an Afghan family after it arrived in Germany. "Every day is worse than the day before. We saved ourselves but we couldn't rescue our families."Witnesses said Taliban members prevented people from getting into the airport compound, including those with the necessary documents to travel."It's a complete disaster. The Taliban were firing into the air, pushing people, beating them with AK47s," said one person who was trying to get through. – Reuters

    10:22 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Afghan nationals gather outside Australian Embassy in New Delhi

    Afghan nationals gather outside Australian Embassy in New Delhi "I heard that Australian Govt has announced to accept refugees & grant them immigration visas. But the embassy here is not giving us any clear answer. I don't know what to do," says Syed Abdullah, an Afghan national - ANI

    09:36 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: Father of first American killed: Afghanistan end 'shameful'

    Mike Spann, a Marine turned CIA officer, felt a duty to go to Afghanistan in the wake of the Sept 11, 2001, attacks. In one of his last phone calls home to check on his children, he told his father he was hopeful they would gather information to locate the mastermind of the attacks, Osama bin Laden, his father recalled. Spann was killed days later, on Nov. 25, 2001, during a prisoner uprising at the fortress where he had been questioning extremists. The 32-year-old CIA paramilitary officer from Winfield, Alabama, was the first of 2,448 American service members to be killed in combat in Afghanistan. Spann's father said he was disgusted by images of America's chaotic withdrawal Monday showing people, desperate to escape the Taliban takeover, clinging to the side of a departing U.S. military jet. ‘It makes me sick to my stomach when I see it. It's disheartening. It's shameful, I think. I think it's shameful that we would do this,’ Johnny Spann said. - AP

    08:55 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: UK will double humanitarian aid to Afghanistan to 286 million pounds this year

    The United Kingdom will double its humanitarian and development aid to Afghanistan to 286 million pounds ($393.34 million) this year, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a tweet."We call on others to follow our lead to ensure the most vulnerable Afghans receive the humanitarian assistance they need," Raab said late on Wednesday.A day earlier, Britain had announced plans to welcome up to 5,000 Afghans fleeing the Taliban during the first year of a new resettlement programme that will prioritise women, girls and religious and other minorities. The UK has also called on other nations to help take in Afghan refugees.Raab held conversations on the situation in Afghanistan with his counterparts in the United States and India late on Wednesday and added that he was working closely with U.S. Aid Administrator Samantha Power on the humanitarian response to ensure that aid reached the concerned people. – Reuters

    08:48 (IST)19 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Live: FAA says U.S. carriers can operate Kabul evacuation flights with DOD approval

    The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said late Wednesday that domestic air carriers and civilian pilots can fly into Kabul to conduct evacuation or relief flights with prior U.S. Defense Department approval.In a statement, the FAA said that without prior approval, U.S. carriers cannot fly over Afghanistan airspace or fly into Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. The FAA cited "a lack of high altitude air traffic control services."All relief flights into Kabul "must have permission" from the Defense Department.Without prior approval, U.S. passenger and air carriers are prohibited from flying over Afghanistan, the FAA said, adding it does not apply to Defense Department operated flights.The FAA issued a new "Notice to Airmen" late Wednesday that imposed the new restrictions barring flights over Afghanistan without prior approval, citing risks "posed by extremist/militant activity, limited risk mitigation capabilities and disruptions to air traffic services. – Reuters

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