Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Highlights: Now in control, Taliban confront economy in turmoil, humanitarian crisis

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Updated: September 2, 2021 11:13:29 am

Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Today News September 1 Highlights: President Joe Biden says the US committed to safe passage for the last 100-200 Americans left in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan News today, Taliban Latest News, Kabul Live newsAs the last US troop leave Afghanistan, the United Nations will have to decide how to deal with a looming humanitarian disaster in the war-torn country. (Picture: Reuters)

Kabul Afghanistan Taliban Crisis September 1 Highlights: After the last US troops withdrew from Afghanistan, the Taliban celebrated their victory by firing guns into the air. Now, the Taliban control more territory than when they last ruled before they were driven out in America’s longest war which took the lives of nearly 2,500 US troops and an estimated 240,000 Afghans and cost some $2 trillion, according to a Reuters report.

While President Joe Biden faced criticism for US troops’ tumultuous exit, he said it was the best available option to end both the US’ longest war and decades of fruitless efforts to remake other countries through military force. He also said the US is committed to safe passage for the last 100-200 Americans left in Afghanistan.

Not only Americans but there are also thousands of people from other countries who are still waiting for evacuation. With the ending of the evacuation deadline and Afghanistan under full control of the Taliban, their future remains uncertain. As the last US troop leave Afghanistan, the United Nations will have to decide how to deal with a looming humanitarian disaster in the war-torn country.

India on Tuesday made its first official contact with the Taliban hours after the last US military aircraft flew out of Kabul to mark the end of its 20-year war in Afghanistan. Indian ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal met Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, head of the Taliban political office, in Doha Tuesday. “The meeting took place at the Embassy of India, Doha, on the request of the Taliban side,” the Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement, said. “Ambassador Mittal raised India’s concern that Afghanistan’s soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism in any manner. The Taliban representative assured the Ambassador that these issues would be positively addressed,” the MEA said.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council, under India’s Presidency, adopted a strong resolution demanding that territory of Afghanistan not be used to threaten any country or shelter terrorists. The UNSC expects the Taliban to adhere to commitments made by it regarding the safe and orderly departure of Afghans and all foreign nationals from the country.

Stay with us as we bring the latest from Kabul and other provinces of Afghanistan:

Live Blog

Highlights

    00:06 (IST)02 Sep 2021
    Taliban launch charm offensive with Afghan banks amid funding fears

    The new, Taliban-appointed head of Afghanistan's central bank has sought to reassure banks the group wants a fully-functioning financial system, but has so far provided little detail on how it will supply funds to sustain it, said four bankers familiar with the matter.

    The acting central bank governor, Haji Mohammad Idris, met members of the Afghanistan Banks Association and other bankers this week, and told them that the Taliban viewed the banking sector as imperative, said two bankers who attended the meeting. The militant group which now controls the country was working to find solutions for liquidity and rising inflation, they quoted Idris as saying.

    "They were very charming and asked banks what their concerns were," said one of the bankers who requested anonymity.Under the Taliban's previous rule between 1996 and 2001, Afghanistan had little functioning banking sector and although a handful of commercial banks retained licences none were operational and few loans were made.

    Idris, a Taliban loyalist who has no formal financial training or higher education, was appointed to head the central bank last week. He and his team did not tell the bankers how much cash Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), the central bank, had access to, nor did they give any indication about how the Taliban would approach its relationship with the United States, one of the bankers said.

    The central bank provided liquidity to banks in recent days, said two of the bankers, with one adding that DAB paid a portion of the amount each bank requested.It appears unlikely that the militants will get quick access to most of the roughly $10 billion in assets held by DAB, which are mostly outside of the country.

    "Around 80% of transactions done by banks are in dollars, so it's very critical the new government should make the relationship with the U.S," said the banker.Another banker who attended the meeting said an initial rush by customers to access bank accounts after the Taliban captured Kabul had eased slightly.  (Reuters) 

    22:54 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Good discussion on the challenges of Afghanistan with Canadian Foreign Minister, says EAM Dr S Jaishankar

    Welcomed the call from Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau today. Good discussion on the challenges of Afghanistan: External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr S Jaishankar (ANI)

    22:16 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Taliban says it has surrounded Afghan resistance fighters, calls for peace

    The Taliban has surrounded the only remaining province resisting its rule, a senior leader said on Wednesday, calling on rebels to negotiate a settlement with the group. Since the fall of Kabul on Aug. 15, mountainous Panjshir has been the only province to hold out against the Islamist group, although there has also been fighting in neighbouring Baghlan province between Taliban and local militia forces.

    Under the leadership of Ahmad Massoud, son of a former Mujahideen commander, several thousand members of local militias and remnants of army and special forces units have been holding out against the Taliban. In a recorded speech addressed to Afghans in Panjshir, senior Taliban leader Amir Khan Motaqi called on the rebels to put down their weapons." The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is home for all Afghans," he said.

    The Taliban have declared an amnesty for all Afghans who worked with foreign forces during the past two decades but crowds fearing reprisals have continued to flock to the borders in an attempt to flee the land-locked country. Motaqi said the Taliban had made many efforts to negotiate with leaders of the opposition forces in Panjshir, "but unfortunately, unfortunately, without any result".

    Taliban forces are making preparations around the four sides of the Panjshir valley and there is no reason to fight, Motaqi said, adding that the anti-Taliban forces should keep in mind that it had not been possible to defeat the Taliban even with the support of NATO and U.S. forces.

    "But we are still trying to ensure that there is no war and that the issue in Panjshir is resolved calmly and peacefully," Motaqi said.The remarks came after at least seven Taliban fighters were killed during an attempt to advance into the valley, according to two resistance leaders.A spokesman for the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, which groups the forces in the Panjshir valley, said on Wednesday Taliban forces had launched an offensive two days ago, and had been attacking in three or four different areas but had so far been pushed back.The spokesman said he had no fresh details on any casualties.The Taliban have declared an amnesty for all Afghans.  (Reuters) 

    21:46 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: U.S. to help build border facilities on Tajik-Afghan border

    The United States will help build new facilities for border guards in Tajikistan along the Central Asian country's frontier with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan to better respond to security threats, the U.S embassy in Dushanbe said on Wednesday.

    The new facility, which will be built in Tajikistan's southwestern tip, will replace an outdated detachment and allow border guards to "deploy forces more quickly to border areas in response to threats," the embassy said.

    Tajikistan, which has pledged to accept 100,000 Afghan refugees escaping the Taliban, hosts a Russian military base and is a member of a Moscow-led post-Soviet security bloc.

    Moscow has reinforced its military base in Tajikistan and its forces are holding a month of exercises near the border with Afghanistan.

    The final U.S. forces pulled out of Afghanistan on Monday and President Joe Biden spoke on Tuesday of the end of an era of major military operations to remake other countries.  (Reuters)

    21:11 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Now in control, Taliban confront economy in turmoil, humanitarian crisis

    Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers struggled to keep the country functioning on Wednesday after the final withdrawal of U.S. forces, with foreign donors alarmed about an impending humanitarian crisis.

    Two weeks since the Taliban's sweep into the capital Kabul brought a chaotic end to 20 years of warfare, the Islamist militant group has yet to name a new government or reveal how they intend to govern.In an administrative vacuum, prices have soared and crowdshave gathered at banks to withdraw cash.While heavily-armed fighters have imposed control on Kabul, Taliban officials were grappling with keeping banks, hospitals and government machinery running following the end of a huge airlift of foreigners and Afghans who had helped Western nations during the international intervention.

    The foreign minister of neighbouring Pakistan, which has close ties to the Taliban, said he expected Afghanistan to have a new "consensus government" within days.

    Meanwhile, people fearful of life under Taliban rule rushed to its borders in a bid to escape an uncertain future.And in Panjshir province, members of local militias and remnants of former military units were still holding out under the leadership of Ahmad Massoud.

    Senior Taliban leader Amir Khan Motaqi called on them to put down their weapons and negotiate an end to the hostilities."The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is home for all Afghans," he said in a speech.

    The Taliban have declared an amnesty for all Afghans who worked with foreign forces during the war that started when they were ousted from power in 2001 over their refusal to hand over al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden following the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

    Taliban leaders have called on Afghans to return home and help rebuild. They have promised to protect human rights in an apparent effort to present a more moderate face than their first government, which enforced radical Islamic law, including banning women from education and employment.

    But the more immediate concern for them now is staving off economic collapse. Afghanistan desperately needs money, and theTaliban are unlikely to get swift access to the roughly $10 billion in assets mostly held abroad by the Afghan central bank.

    Long queues formed at banks in Kabul as people tried to withdraw cash and prices in the bazaars have soared. The currency is sinking and inflation rising, while many offices and shops remain shut. "Everything is expensive now, prices are going up every day," said Kabul resident Zelgai.

    The Taliban have ordered banks to re-open but strict weekly limits on cash withdrawals have been imposed.Outside the capital, humanitarian organizations have warned of impending catastrophe as severe drought has hit farmers and forced thousands of rural poor to seek shelter in the cities. But foreign donors are unsure about whom to speak to in the absence of a government in Kabul.

    Taliban officials have said the problems will ease once a new government is in place, and have appealed to other countries to maintain economic relations.A new central bank chief has been appointed but bankers outside Afghanistan said it would be difficult to get thefinancial system running again without the specialists who joined the exodus out of Kabul. "I don't know how they will manage it because all the technical staff, including senior management, has left the country," one banker said. (Reuters)

    20:31 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: UK's Raab says intelligence was Afghan capital would not fall this year

    Britain's foreign minister Dominic Raab said the intelligence assessment was that it was unlikely Kabul would fall this year as he defended Britain's withdrawal from Afghanistan after the Taliban swept across the country much more quickly.

    Britain, like the United States, failed 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.

    In an emergency session of parliament's foreign affairs committee to discuss the crisis in Afghanistan, Raab said the central assessment of Britain's intelligence service was that the Taliban would only consolidate its control of the country in the months after western countries had evacuated their troops.

    "The central proposition was that, given the troop withdrawal by the end of August, you would see a steady deterioration from that point, and that it was unlikely Kabul would fall this year," Raab told the committee of lawmakers.

    "That doesn't mean we didn't do contingency planning or game-out or test the other propositions. And just to be clear, that's something that was widely shared - that view - amongst NATO allies."

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced calls to sack Raab in recent weeks after he went on holiday in Crete as the Taliban advanced on Kabul and amid claims that thousands of emails from people seeking help to leave Afghanistan had gone unread. Defending his handling of the crisis, Raab said he had had more than 40 meetings or calls where Afghanistan was on the agenda between March and end of August.

    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.

    Raab said he would travel to the region, including visiting Pakistan for the first time as foreign minister, later on Wednesday to discuss the crisis.  (Reuters)

    19:46 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: UK wants diplomatic presence in Afghanistan when security improves, Raab says

    British foreign minister Dominic Raab said he wants the government to have a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan, but it is not possible right now because of the security situation.

    "We want to be in a position when the safety and security allows to have a continuity diplomatic presence in Afghanistan, but clearly that is not possible right now," Raab told parliament's foreign affairs committee. (Reuters) 

    19:27 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Afghan 'wake-up call' breeds support for EU military force

    The collapse of Afghanistan's government, the Taliban's takeover of the country, and the rush to evacuate European citizens and Afghan employees have highlighted the European Union's need for its own rapid-reaction military force, senior EU officials say.

    As the foreign and defense ministers of member states gather in Slovenia this week to discuss the EU's approach to the Afghan crisis, officials said in interviews and public remarks that the 27-nation bloc's dependence on U.S. troops during the airlift of evacuees demonstrated the EU's lack of preparedness and independence.

    "As a global economic and democratic power, can Europe be content with a situation where we are unable to ensure, unassisted, the evacuation of our citizens and those under threat because they have helped us?" European Council President Charles Michel said Wednesday. "In my view, we do not need another such geopolitical event to grasp that the EU must strive for greater decision-making autonomy and greater capacity for action in the world."

    After the Biden administration pulled most of its military personnel from Afghanistan, Taliban militants took control of the conflict-ravaged country in just a few weeks as the NATO-trained Afghan national security forces withered. NATO allies that had relied on U.S. airpower, transportation and logistics during their two decades in Afghanistan said they were forced to pull out, too.

    And without U.S support and equipment, European countries would not have been able to guarantee the safe passage of their citizens or even their troops out of Afghanistan.

    Amid calls for "European strategic autonomy" from a non-member like the United States, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said Wednesday in a opinion piece for The New York Times that the withdrawal of Western troops and airlift from Afghanistan should serve as a "wake-up call" and urged the bloc to invest more in its security capabilities."Europe and the United States were united as never before in Afghanistan: It was the first time that NATO's Article 5, committing all members to defend one another, was invoked. And for many years, Europeans provided a strong military commitment and an important economic aid program, amounting to a total of 17.2 billion euros, or $20.3 billion," Borrell wrote."But in the end, the timing and nature of the withdrawal were set in Washington. We Europeans found ourselves -- not only for the evacuations out of the Kabul airport but also more broadly -- depending on American decisions," the EU's top diplomat said.To better address any future crises at Europe's doorstep, EU member nations have floated the idea of setting up a 5,000-member stand-by-force capable of quickly intervening.  "This is a number that can make a big difference in many different situations," one senior EU official said this week. The person spoke anonymously in accordance with EU practices. He said the U.S deployed around 5,000 troops to secure the Kabul airport, and held up as an example the 5,000-soldier anti-jihadist French military force based in the Sahel region. France and Germany have pushed for years for the creation of such a force, with both Chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron repeatedly calling for a true European army. While discussions about establishing one are far from complete, the idea has gained renewed support in the wake of what happened in Afghanistan.  (AP) 

    18:54 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Taliban says it has surrounded Afghan resistance fighters, calls for peace

    The Taliban has surrounded the only remaining province resisting its rule, a senior leader said on Wednesday, calling on rebels to negotiate a settlement with the group.Since the fall of Kabul on Aug. 15, mountainous Panjshir has been the only province to hold out against the Islamist group, although there has also been fighting in neighbouring Baghlan province between Taliban and local militia forces.Under the leadership of Ahmad Massoud, son of a former Mujahideen commander, several thousand members of local militias and remnants of army and special forces units have been holding out against the Taliban.In a recorded speech addressed to Afghans in Panjshir, senior Taliban leader Amir Khan Motaqi called on the rebels to put down their weapons."The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is home for all Afghans," he said.

    18:32 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: India's sugar export to Afghanistan almost at halt; should resume after normalcy restored

    India's sugar export to Afghanistan has almost come to a halt with Indian merchants reporting cancellation of orders in the wake of the current situation there, a senior government official said on Wednesday. The Taliban ousted the government in Afghanistan and took over the control of the country after capturing Kabul last month. Afghanistan is one of the top three destinations for Indian sugar exports. About 6,00,000-7,00,000 tonne of the sweetener is exported annually. About 6,50,000 tonne of sugar has already been exported so far in the current 2020-21 season ending this month, as per the trade data. Sugar season runs from October to September.  (PTI)

    18:11 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Pak to step up counter-terror cooperation with China in Afghanistan: Pak envoy

    Pakistan remains cognizant of the threats posed by the various terror groups operating from Afghanistan and it will strengthen intelligence sharing, counter-terrorism cooperation with China post-US withdrawal, the country's envoy to China has said. The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on August 15, two weeks before the US was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war. This forced Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to flee the country to the UAE. Pakistan remains "cognizant of the threat posed by terrorist organisations, including Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Da'esh (ISIS), the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and others operating from Afghanistan," Pakistan's Ambassador to China Moin ul Haque told state-run Global Times on Tuesday. (PTI)

    17:58 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: New era for Afghanistan starts with long queues, rising prices

    As Kabul began a new era of Taliban rule, long queues outside banks and soaring prices in the bazaars underlined the everyday worries now facing its population after the spectacular seizure of the city two weeks ago.For the Taliban, growing economic hardship is emerging as their biggest challenge, with a sinking currency and rising inflation adding misery to a country where more than a third of the population lives on less than $2 a day.Even for the relatively well-off, with many offices and shops still shut and salaries unpaid for weeks the daily struggle to put food on the table has become an overwhelming preoccupation. (Reuters)

    16:57 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Putin says US achieved 'zero' in Afghanistan

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized the United States' involvement in Afghanistan, charging that its 20-year-long military presence in the country has achieved 'zero.' Putin said Wednesday that for 20 years, the U.S. military in Afghanistan was trying ... to civilize the people who live there, to introduce their norms and standards of life in the broadest sense of the word, including the political organization of society.

    16:26 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Russia's Putin says U.S. Afghan foray achieved nothing but tragedy

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan had achieved nothing but tragedy and loss of life on all sides and showed it was impossible to foist foreign values on other nations.Speaking to teenagers at an educational facility in the Russian far east, Putin made clear that he deemed the U.S. approach to a country once invaded by the Soviet Union to have been deeply flawed."U.S. forces were present on this territory for 20 years and for 20 years tried ... to civilise the people who live there, to instil their own norms and standards of life in the widest possible sense of this word, including when it comes to the political organisation of society," said Putin. (Reuters)

    15:55 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Afghanistan pullout spurs EU to revive rapid reaction force

    The chaotic withdrawal of Western forces from Afghanistan has shown that the European Union needs to intervene militarily in a crisis without relying on U.S. troops, senior EU officials say.Two decades after EU leaders first agreed to set up a 50,000-60,000-strong force but failed to make it operational, EU states are once again aiming to create a 5,000-strong "first entry force". They want a deal on its design by March 2022.But as EU defence ministers gather in the Slovenian capital on Wednesday, the political impetus felt in Brussels, Paris and Berlin will again evaporate unless the bloc can agree on quick decision-making mechanism to deploy troops.Two senior officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, voiced frustration that the EU, an economic power, was not able to protect Kabul airport for another three days beyond the Aug. 31 U.S. withdrawal deadline to allow for more evacuations.France, Germany and non-EU member Britain were among those wanting more time to complete evacuations of their citizens and Afghans during a huge airlift mounted by Western forces after the Taliban took control of the country on Aug. 15. (Reuters)

    15:26 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Biden defends departure from 'forever war,' praises airlift

    A defensive President Joe Biden called the U.S. airlift to extract more than 120,000 Americans, Afghans and other allies from Afghanistan to end a 20-year war an ``extraordinary success,`` though more than 100 Americans and thousands of others were left behind. Twenty-four hours after the last American C-17 cargo plane roared off from Kabul, Biden spoke to the nation and vigorously defended his decision to end America's longest war and withdraw all U.S. troops ahead of an Aug. 31 deadline. ``I was not going to extend this forever war,'' Biden declared Tuesday from the White House. ``And I was not going to extend a forever exit.'' Biden has faced tough questions about the way the U.S. went about leaving Afghanistan _ a chaotic evacuation with spasms of violence, including a suicide bombing last week that killed 13 American service members and 169 Afghans. (AP)

    15:02 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Afghanistan central bank board member urges Biden, IMF to release funds

    A senior board member of Afghanistan's central bank is urging the U.S. Treasury and the International Monetary Fund to take steps to provide the Taliban-led government limited access to the country's reserves or risk economic disaster.The Taliban took over Afghanistan with astonishing speed, but it appears unlikely that the militants will get quick access to most of the roughly $10 billion in assets held by Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), which are mostly outside of the country.U.S. President Joe Biden's administration has said any central bank assets the Afghan government have in the United States will not be made available to the Taliban, and the IMF has said the country will not have access to the lender's resources. (Reuters)

    14:24 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Fearful Afghans scramble for the border

    * Thousands seen at borders crossings with Pakistan, Iran* Crowds gather at banks in Kabul* Taliban fighters beat women at bank, witness says* Biden calls end to era of nation buildingSept 1 (Reuters) - Crowds seeking to flee Afghanistan gathered on its borders while long queues formed at banks on Wednesday, as an administrative vacuum after the Taliban's takeover left foreign donors unsure how to respond to a looming humanitarian crisis.The Islamist militia focused on keeping banks, hospitals and government machinery running after the final withdrawal of U.S. forces on Monday put an end to a massive airlift of Afghans who had helped Western nations during the 20-year war.With Kabul's airport inoperable, private efforts to help Afghans fearful of Taliban reprisals focus on arranging safe passage across the land-locked nation’s borders with Iran, Pakistan and central Asian states. (Reuters)

    13:56 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: UK in talks with Taliban for evacuations as it launches Operation Warm Welcome

    The UK government is in discussions with the Taliban to secure safe passage for remaining British nationals and eligible Afghan evacuees and has launched "Operation Warm Welcome" for refugees from Afghanistan, Downing Street said on Wednesday. The talks, involving UK officials and "senior" Taliban members, are said to be taking place in Doha, Qatar, and additionally, Britain is also sending 15 "crisis response specialists" to neighbouring Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to assist British diplomats in their work to allow people to reach the UK via third countries. The focus is on helping UK nationals, interpreters and other Afghans who were employed by the UK. "The Prime Minister's special representative for Afghan transition, Simon Gass, has travelled to Doha and is meeting with senior Taliban representatives to underline the importance of safe passage out of Afghanistan for British nationals, and those Afghans who have worked with us over the past 20 years," a Downing Street spokesperson said. The move follows the exit of NATO troops from the region to meet the August 31 deadline, but the Taliban have agreed to allow further evacuations. (PTI)

    13:55 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Pope inadvertently quotes Putin to chide West's Afghan war

    Pope Francis has criticised the West's recent involvement in Afghanistan as an outsider's attempt to impose democracy -- although he did it by citing Russia's Vladimir Putin while thinking he was quoting Germany's Angela Merkel. Asked during a radio interview aired Wednesday about the new political map taking shape in Afghanistan after the United States and its allies withdrew from the Taliban-controlled country after 20 years of war, the pope said he would answer with a quote that he attributed to the German chancellor, whom he described as "one of the world's greatest political figures". "It's necessary to stop the irresponsible policy of enforcing its own values on others and attempts to build democracy in other countries based on outside models without taking into account historic, ethnic and religious issues and fully ignoring other people's traditions," the pope said, using his own translation into Spanish. But the words were spoken last month by the Russian president in the presence of Merkel, during her visit to Moscow. (AP)

    13:32 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Pope Francis criticises imposition of democracy

    Pope Francis has criticised the West's recent involvement in Afghanistan as an outsider's attempt to impose democracy, although he's done so by citing Russia's Vladimir Putin while thinking he was quoting Germany's Angela Merkel. In a radio interview aired Wednesday, Pope Francis was asked about the new political map taking shape in Afghanistan after the United States and its allies withdrew from the Taliban-controlled country after 20 years of war. The pope said he would answer using a quote that he attributed to the German chancellor, who he described as "one of the world's greatest political figures." "It's necessary to stop the irresponsible policy of enforcing its own values on others and attempts to build democracy in other countries based on outside models without taking into account historic, ethnic and religious issues and fully ignoring other people's traditions," the pope said, using his own translation into Spanish. But the quote was pronounced last month by the Russian president in the presence of Merkel, during her visit of the German to Moscow. (AP)

    11:05 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: With no evacuation flights, Afghans weigh risky overland trips to borders

    As the last U.S. troops prepared to leave Afghanistan, Hussain, a U.S. passport holder who worked with the U.S. military, scrambled with his six daughters through Taliban checkpoints to the gates of Kabul airport for several days in a row, hoping to catch a flight to safety. He had called and emailed the U.S. Embassy for days without a response. Then a U.S. soldier phoned him to say his only chance for a flight out was alone, without his daughters who are not U.S. citizens. Hussain's wife had died in July of COVID-19, and leaving would mean abandoning them. On Monday night, the family stood in the throngs outside Kabul airport, listening to the roar of the final U.S. C-17 aircraft taking off, ending America's two decade-long military intervention in Afghanistan. Hussain now is among an untold number in Afghanistan weighing a potentially hazardous overland journey, he told Reuters Tuesday, speaking through a translator. 'I hear from news and relatives that thousands are waiting at the Afghanistan borders with Pakistan and trying to get into Pakistan,' said Hussain, who requested that his last name be withheld for security reasons. 'I do not know, should I go to Tajikistan,' he wondered, worrying how he will be able to look after his daughters on the road if he goes.With U.S. troops gone, U.S. evacuation flights over, and commercial fights avoiding Kabul's airport, which has no air traffic control, ad hoc private efforts to save thousands of Afghans unmoved by Taliban security assurances are increasingly focused on arranging safe passage across the land-locked country’s borders. It could be days or weeks before the negotiations between the Taliban, Qatar and Turkey on how to run the airport are finalised. Many have already set out for Pakistan to the east and south, while others are trying to reach Afghanistan’s borders with Central Asian states, say people involved in private evacuation efforts, who requested anonymity for security reasons. (Reuters)

    10:38 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: UN chief urges aid to Afghans in ''hour of need''

    The United Nations chief is urging all countries to help the people of Afghanistan "in their darkest hour of need," saying almost half the population needs humanitarian assistance to survive and the country faces the threat of basic services collapsing completely. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed "grave concern at the deepening humanitarian crisis in the country" in a statement Tuesday, the first day of Taliban rule after the withdrawal of the last U.S. forces from Afghanistan. He offered some grim statistics of the looming "humanitarian catastrophe": 18 million Afghans need aid to survive, one in three don't know where their next meal will come from, over half of all children under age 5 are expected to become "acutely malnourished" in the next year, and every day people are losing access to basic goods and services. (AP)

    09:33 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Post-Afghan withdrawal, India and US can together fight terrorism, says Raja Krishnamoorthi

    After the United States withdrew its troops from Afghanistan bringing to an end its longest war in history, an influential Indian-American lawmaker has said that India and the US can assist each other in the fight against terrorism. Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said the US should continue its counter-terrorism mission in Afghanistan so that it will not become a safe haven for terror groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda. READ FULL STORY

    09:30 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Vigil held for slain US Marine in her home city

    A US Marine who was among 13 killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan was honoured Tuesday evening in her hometown. Officials in Lawrence, Massachusetts, held a vigil with Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo's family at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Rosario, 25, died in the Aug. 26 bombing at the Kabul airport, where people were being evacuated amid the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. A dozen other U.S. service members and 169 Afghans were killed. (AP)

    09:16 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Possible axis of China, Pakistan and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan cause for worry, says Chidambaram

    Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday said it is too premature to congratulate ourselves over the UN Security Council adopting a resolution on Afghanistan, and cautioned that the possible axis of China, Pakistan and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan is a cause for worry. His remarks came after the UN Security Council, under India's Presidency, adopted a strong resolution demanding that the territory of Afghanistan not be used to threaten any country or shelter terrorists and that it expects the Taliban will adhere to commitments made by it on regarding the safe and orderly departure from the country of Afghans and all foreign nationals. Reacting to the development, Chidambaram said the government is congratulating itself for the UNSC resolution adopted on Afghanistan. "'Resolution' has two meanings. The first is that the issue has been 'resolved' or settled to India's satisfaction. That is not what happened at the UNSC. The second meaning is that we have put our wishes on paper and got some others to sign that paper! That is what happened at UNSC yesterday," the former Union minister said on Twitter. It is too premature to congratulate ourselves, Chidambaram said. (PTI)

    09:11 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Biden says US committed to safe passage for last 100-200 Americans left in Afghanistan

    The White House on Tuesday said 98% of Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan were able to do so, and President Joe Biden affirmed that the United States remained committed to helping the remaining 100 to 200 U.S. citizens who had some intention to leave. Speaking at the White House, Biden told reporters that most of those people were dual citizens and longtime residents, who had earlier decided to stay in the country given their family roots in Afghanistan. "For those remaining Americans there is no deadline. We remain committed to get them out if they want to come out," Biden said. (Reuters)

    09:06 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Australia still planning Afghanistan test - board

    Australia are still planning to host Afghanistan in the countries' first ever test, Cricket Australia (CA) said, despite uncertainty raised after the Taliban seized power in the South Asian country. A CA spokesperson said their planning for the Nov. 27 test in Hobart was "well underway". "There is goodwill between CA and the Afghanistan Cricket Board to make the match happen, which immediately follows the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE in which the Afghanistan team is due to play," the spokesperson said. "CA will continue to work with the Australian and Tasmanian governments ahead of the Afghanistan team’s arrival planned for later this year." The Taliban have said they will not interfere with the Afghan men's national cricket team, the country's biggest sporting success of recent years, though the fate of the more modest women's cricket programmes remains unclear. (Reuters)

    08:58 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: France says 'a few dozen' French nationals remain in Afghanistan

    France says 'a few dozen' French nationals remain in Afghanistan, including some who wanted to be evacuated but could not as the last flight left Kabul. Defense Ministry spokesman Herve Grandjean said in a news conference Tuesday that "efforts are being done" to allow those left behind to get "a safe and orderly evacuation." He said "that is the goal of the talks under way within the United Nations framework with the Taliban power." In addition, France was not able to evacuate a "few dozen" former Afghan employees of the French army who asked for the protection of the country, he said. France will do "the maximum" in the coming days and weeks to help them getting out of Afghanistan, Grandjean said. (AP)

    08:51 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Withdrawal from Afghanistan best decision for America, says Biden

    United States President Joe Biden said withdrawing the troops from Afghanistan to end the 20-year war was the "best" and the "right" decision for America. He said there was no reason to continue in a war that was no longer in the service of the "vital national interest" of the American people. "I give you my word: With all of my heart, I believe this is the right decision, a wise decision, and the best decision for America," Biden said in his address to the nation from the White House on Tuesday. "We've been a nation too long at war.  If you're 20 years old today, you have never known an America at peace. So, when I hear that we could've, should've continued the so-called low-grade effort in Afghanistan, at low risk to our service members, at low cost, I don't think enough people understand how much we have asked of the 1 percent of this country who put that uniform on, who are willing to put their lives on the line in defense of our nation," he said. (PTI)

    08:49 (IST)01 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live:UNSC resolution on Afghanistan addresses India's concerns

    The United Nations Security Council resolution on Afghanistan addresses India's key concerns relating to the country following its takeover by the Taliban, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. The UN Security Council, under India's presidency, on Monday adopted a resolution demanding that the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten any country or shelter terrorists. The people cited above said the UNSC resolution 2593 addresses India's key concerns pertaining to Afghanistan "at this time", adding that India played an active role in ensuring its passage. There have been mounting concerns in India over the possibility of a rise in activities of various terror groups, including the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed, from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. (PTI)

    22:39 (IST)31 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Under India's Presidency, UNSC adopts strong resolution on Afghanistan

    The UN Security Council, under India's Presidency, adopted a strong resolution demanding that territory of Afghanistan not be used to threaten any country or shelter terrorists and that it expects the Taliban will adhere to commitments made by it on regarding the safe and orderly departure from the country of Afghans and all foreign nationals. The Security Council on Monday adopted the resolution sponsored by France, UK, and the US with 13 members voting in favour, none against and permanent, veto-wielding members Russia and China abstaining. (Reuters)

    21:56 (IST)31 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Canada to resettle 5,000 Afghan refugees evacuated by the U.S.

    Canada said on Tuesday it would resettle some 5,000 Afghan refugees evacuated by the United States as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government addresses an issue critics say has been neglected during his campaign for re-election."We know there is more to do with allied evacuation operations ending," Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino told a briefing. "We're pulling out all the stops to help as many Afghans as possible who want to make their home in Canada."Canada evacuated https://www.reuters.com/world/canada-would-consider-accepting-afghan-refugees-behalf-us-allies-minister-2021-08-20 3,700 people from Kabul in recent weeks, of which some 2,000 were Afghans - and their families - who had helped Canadian soldiers and diplomats in the past. (Reuters)

    21:29 (IST)31 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Echoes of 2015 as EU grapples with Afghan migration challenge

    European Union countries on Tuesday proposed to step up aid to Afghanistan and its neighbours but could not agree a common policy on accepting asylum-seekers fleeing Taliban rule.Western nations involved in the fight against the Taliban have already evacuated 100,000 people who supported them, and should take them in, along with others who failed to get onto the last evacuation flights. Chancellor Angela Merkel said this group included up to 40,000 people with the right to German residency.The issue dividing EU countries is whether asylum should now be extended by the bloc as a whole to other groups considered likely to suffer under the Taliban's application of strict sharia, or Islamic law. (Reuters)

    21:01 (IST)31 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: U.S. Senate passes bill to help Americans returning from Afghanistan

    The U.S. Senate passed legislation on Tuesday to provide aid to Americans returning from Afghanistan, sending the bill to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law.The "Emergency Repatriation Assistance for Returning Americans Act" provides $10 million in emergency funds, although it was not immediately clear how the money would be used. The measure had already passed the U.S. House of Representatives.Unusually, Vice President Kamala Harris presided over the Senate session - a "pro forma" event held while lawmakers are out of Washington during their late-summer recess - as Democratic Senator Ben Cardin announced the bill. The measure passed by unanimous consent, with no objections in the nearly empty Senate chamber. (Reuters)

    20:35 (IST)31 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: US says mission to get Americans out of Afghanistan will continue

    The United States says its mission to get Americans out of Afghanistan will continue after Monday's withdrawal. Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, says it's just that the evacuation effort 'has shifted from a military mission to a diplomatic mission.' He cited 'considerable leverage' the U.S. has over the Taliban to get out any remaining Americans - a number that U.S. official have said is under 200. Sullivan says the U.S. intends to continue sending health, food and other forms of humanitarian aid to the Afghan people. He says that other forms of aid, including economic and developmental, would depend on Taliban actions and adherence to publicly stated commitments.

    20:13 (IST)31 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: US says mission to get Americans out of Afghanistan will continue

    The United States says its mission to get Americans out of Afghanistan will continue after Monday's withdrawal. Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, says it's just that the evacuation effort 'has shifted from a military mission to a diplomatic mission.' He cited 'considerable leverage' the U.S. has over the Taliban to get out any remaining Americans  a number that U.S. official have said is under 200. Sullivan says the U.S. intends to continue sending health, food and other forms of humanitarian aid to the Afghan people. He says that other forms of aid, including economic and developmental, would depend on Taliban actions and adherence to publicly stated commitments. (AP)

    20:00 (IST)31 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Merkel says it's important to talk to Taliban

    Chancellor Angela Merkel has stressed that Germany is focused on humanitarian aid now and on helping former local Afghan staffers who were not evacuated in the last two weeks. Merkel said their numbers are "not 300" but 'between 10,000 to 40,000.'Germany has evacuated more than 5,000 people from Afghanistan this month, the majority of them Afghans. She said that of those who remain, it wasn't clear how many of them want to leave Afghanistan. (Reuters)

    19:36 (IST)31 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Taliban hail victory with gunfire after last U.S. troops leave Afghanistan

    Celebratory gunfire resounded across the Afghan capital on Tuesday as the Taliban took control of the airport following the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops, marking the end of a 20-year war that left the Islamist group stronger than it was in 2001.Shaky video footage distributed by the Taliban showed fighters entering the airport after the last U.S. troops flew out on a C-17 aircraft a minute before midnight, ending a hasty and humiliating exit for Washington and its NATO allies."It is a historical day and a historical moment," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a news conference at the airport after the departure. (Reuters)

    18:59 (IST)31 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan Taliban Crisis Live: Canada to take in 5,000 Afghan refugees evacuated by the US

    Canada said on Tuesday it would take in and resettle some 5,000 Afghan refugees who had been evacuated by the United States after the withdrawal of the last American troops after almost two decades of war."We're pulling out all the stops to help as many Afghans as possible who want to make their home in Canada," said Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino. "Over the weekend, Canada and its allies received assurances from the Taliban that Afghan citizens with travel authorization from other countries would be safely allowed to leave Afghanistan. (Reuters

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