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Taliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Pentagon Says No One Expected Collapse of Afghan Army in Just 11 Days

After a weeks-long Taliban offensive against large cities, launched after the start of the withdrawal of foreign troops, the terrorist group took over Afghanistan and its capital on Sunday, prompting President Ashraf Ghani to resign and flee. The group then declared the two-decade war to be over.
On 15 August, the Taliban* completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul. A number of countries began evacuating their diplomatic missions from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover.
In recent days, thousands of Afghans have stormed the airport in Kabul, seeking seats on evacuation flights.
Follow Sputnik’s feed to find out more.  
*The Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other nations.
Table of contents
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01:34 GMT 19.08.2021
Lufthansa's 2nd Jet Delivers From Tashkent to Germany About 280 Evacuees From Afghanistan

TASHKENT (Sputnik) – The second Airbus A-340 plane of Lufthansa has delivered from Tashkent to Frankfurt about 280 people from Afghanistan seized by the Taliban (banned in Russia), an employee of the Tashkent airport told Sputnik.

The first group of evacuees was sent to Germany from Tashkent overnight to Wednesday.

"The Airbus A-340 plane of the Lufthansa airline has left the airport of Tashkent for Frankfurt. There are about 280 people evacuated from Kabul onboard," the employee said.

Tashkent serves as a transit center for refugees fleeing from Afghanistan to Germany.

01:20 GMT 19.08.2021
France's Third Aircraft Evacuated 137 People From Kabul - General Staff

PARIS (Sputnik) - France's third aircraft evacuated 137 people, including the French and Afghans, from Kabul, according to the French General Staff.

The plane that took off from Kabul landed in the United Arab Emirates.

"On board are 137 citizens of France and Afghanistan, who will be received in the United Arab Emirates before they leave for France," the General Staff said on Twitter.

Overnight to Wednesday, 216 people were evacuated from Kabul, including 25 French and 184 Afghans.

More than 40 people evacuated from Kabul arrived in Paris on Tuesday.

23:49 GMT 18.08.2021
Dutch New Embassy Team Arrives in Afghanistan to Guide Evacuation – Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Dutch Ambassador Caecilia Wijgers and a new embassy team have arrived in Afghanistan to guide the evacuation process, the Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands said.

"The new embassy team has just arrived in #Kabul to further guide the evacuation process from #Afghanistan. This team consists of Ambassador Caecilia Wijgers, a consular emergency team, and 62 military personnel. The team they have replaced is now back in the Netherlands," the ministry wrote on its Twitter page on late Wednesday.

About 50 Dutch citizens returned to Amsterdam on the same day on board of an evacuation flight.

"An evacuation flight from #Kabul has just landed at Schiphol Airport. Around fifty Dutch citizens have now been brought back from #Afghanistan. More evacuation flights are planned for tomorrow," the ministry added.

22:57 GMT 18.08.2021
UNESCO Calls for Respecting Right on Education in Afghanistan After Fall of Kabul

PARIS (Sputnik) - UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay has called for the full respect of the right on education in Afghanistan following the seizure of Kabul by the Taliban Islamist movement (banned in Russia).

"The enormous progress made in the country including in education must not be lost. Education must continue for girls and women. The future of Afghanistan depends on them," Azoulay said on late Wednesday, as quoted by a communiqué published by UNESCO.

UNESCO vows to continue efforts to support all Afghans in providing them with access to education.

"UNESCO calls on all to guarantee the right to education without any discrimination. Students, teachers and education personnel must have access to safe educational environments, including girls and women, who have to continue learning and teaching without any restrictions," the organization added.

21:11 GMT 18.08.2021
Biden Says He Did Not Know Any Way Out of Afghanistan Without 'Chaos Ensuing'
U.S. President Joe Biden discusses his 'Build Back Better' agenda and administration efforts to lower prescription drug prices during a speech in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 12, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
Biden Says He Did Not See Way to Withdraw From Afghanistan Without 'Chaos Ensuing'
20:45 GMT 18.08.2021
Afghanistan's Access to INTERPOL Databases Suspended, Spokesperson Says

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - INTERPOL has suspended Afghanistan's access to its databases following the Taliban's (designated terrorist by the UN and Russia) power takeover, the organization's spokesperson told Sputnik on Wednesday.

"In response to the current situation, Aghanistan’s access to INTERPOL’s databases has been suspended and secure messaging functionality via I-24/7 has also been temporarily deactivated," the official said.

Currently, all inquiries to the relevant agency in Kabul are being handled by the command and coordination center at the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, according to the spokesperson.

They further noted that INTERPOL has so far not registered any "red notices" for former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani or any other Afghan officials.

19:50 GMT 18.08.2021
IMF Says Afghanistan Cannot Access SDRS, Other Resources Due to Lack of Clarity Within International Community Regarding Recognition of Gov't

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Afghanistan cannot access its Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) or other IMF funds given that the international community lacks clarity on the recognition of the Taliban (banned in Russia) government, an IMF spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday.

"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," the statement said.

19:38 GMT 18.08.2021
Slovakian Military Plane With Evacuees on Board Departs Kabul, Defense Minister Says

PRAGUE (Sputnik) - The Slovakian military has successfully airlifted an unidentified number of people out of Kabul, Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said on Wednesday.

"I can confirm that an Air Forces aircraft of the Slovakian Armed Forces has left the airspace of Afghanistan and is coming back to Slovakia after the successful evacuation operation," the minister wrote on Twitter without any further details.

19:36 GMT 18.08.2021
US Cannot Ensure Safe Passage for American Citizens to Kabul Airport - Embassy

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States cannot ensure a safe passage for American citizens and residents to Kabul international airport due to the rapidly changing security environment in the region, the US Embassy in Kabul said on Wednesday.

"The United States government cannot ensure safe passage to the Hamid Karzai International Airport," the Embassy said in a security alert. "The security situation in Kabul continues to change quickly, including at the airport."

Flights are being issued to American citizens and residents on a first come, first serve basis, however, they are advised to shelter in place until they have been informed by email that they have an opportunity to get on a flight, the security alert said.

In a press briefing shortly after the alert was published, Deputy State Secretary Wendy Sherman said that the US was working to provide safe passage not only for US nationals and diplomats of third countries but for "for everybody who is trying to get to the airport."

19:25 GMT 18.08.2021
US Will Continue to Coordinate, Deconflict With Taliban, Pentagon Chief Austin Says
19:13 GMT 18.08.2021
Milley Says Not Aware of Any Intel Indicating That Afghan Security Force, Gov't Would Collapse in Just 11 Days

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Senior US Defense Department officials did not expect the Afghan army to collapse in 11 days, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley said on Wednesday.

"I did not, nor did anyone else, see the collapse of an army that size in 11 days," Milley said during a press briefing.

The Afghan army had more than 300,000 service members, in addition to an Air Force and other US-supplied equipment, according to US officials.

19:09 GMT 18.08.2021
Erdogan Plans to Discuss Situation in Afghanistan With Putin on Weekend

CAIRO (Sputnik) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday he intended to hold talks on the situation in Afghanistan with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"I plan talks [on Afghanistan] with Merkel before the weekend, and over the weekend I plan to negotiate with Putin," Erdogan said in an interview with Turkish TV channels.

Speaking about Turkey's plans to protect the Kabul International Airport, Erdogan said that Ankara continued to negotiate on this issue, but taking into account the changed circumstances.

He said that the Turkish authorities had already evacuated 552 citizens from Afghanistan.

19:08 GMT 18.08.2021
Ashraf Ghani Is No Longer A Figure in Afghanistan, Deputy US Secretary of State Wendy Sherman Says
18:56 GMT 18.08.2021
US Evacuated 2,000 People From Afghanistan in Last 24 Hours, Deputy Secretary of State Sherman Says

US military has evacuated 2,000 more people from Afghanistan over the last 24 hours and processed over 4,800 people willing to leave the country over the last several days, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Wednesday.

“In the last 24 hours US military flights evacuated approximately 2,000 more people,” Sherman said at a press briefing. “Over the last several days, we have processed more than 4,840 people for evacuation.”

18:42 GMT 18.08.2021
Le Drian: France Not Considering Taliban Recognition Issue

Paris does not consider the issue of recognizing the legitimacy of Taliban (a terrorist organization, banned in Russia) rule in Afghanistan to be a pressing matter, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Wednesday.

"The issue of recognition [of the Taliban] is not an acute issue for France today," Le Drian told the BFMTV broadcaster, adding that the priority is the safety of French citizens in Afghanistan, as well as Afghans who assisted France in their homeland during the war.

As of now, Afghanistan is a collapsed state, with a runaway president and an army in disarray, the diplomat also noted, adding that these are the conditions under which Paris is trying to fulfil its commitments regarding the people.

President Ashraf Ghani left the country after stepping down from power amid the Taliban takeover, which was affected by the seizure of Kabul on Sunday.

To gain international recognition, the Islamist movement has to take certain measures, including allowing those who want to leave the country to do so, as well as observing women's rights, the minister also said.

The Taliban began a large-scale offensive in spring when the international troops began to withdraw and declared the end of the twenty-year war upon entering Kabul.

18:35 GMT 18.08.2021
Austrian Interior Minister Says Afghan Refugees Should Stay in Region

Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer called on the European Union on Wednesday to act to avoid an influx of Afghan refugees by encouraging them to stay in the region.

"The goal should be to keep the majority [of refugees] in the region," he told a news conference.

Nehammer said the EU should band together to avoid a repeat of the 2015 migrant crisis when hundreds of thousands arrived at the EU’s doorstep.

Austria expects the bloc to assist displaced Afghans in neighbouring countries, while bolstering EU's external borders and discouraging migrants from making the thousands-mile-long journey to Europe.

Austria will continue deporting illegal migrants and deal with fake news that claim deportations have stopped, Nehammer said.

He said the small Alpine nation had the EU’s second-largest number of Afghans per 100,000 residents, which created challenges in integration, internal security and social spending.

18:33 GMT 18.08.2021
Biden Admin Reportedly Seeking to Block Taliban From Accessing $400Mln in IMF Funds

The Biden administration seeks to block the Taliban (banned in Russia) from gaining access to more than $400 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), New York Times reported on Wednesday citing a Treasury Department official.

IMF has been scheduled to distribute $460 million of the fund reserve assets to Afghanistan next week, according to the report.

The official didn’t provide any details as to the steps the US was taking to block the Taliban from getting access to the funds, the report said.

18:22 GMT 18.08.2021
Erdogan Says Turkey Open to Cooperation With Taliban, Welcomes Moderate Statements So Far

The Turkish authorities welcome "moderate" statements of the Taliban movement (recognized as terrorist group and banned in Russia), which came to power in Afghanistan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.

"Regardless of who is in power, in good or bad times, we will be committed to helping the brothers in Afghanistan. We have previously said that we accept the leadership of the Taliban, this position we adhere to now. We welcome the moderate statements of the Taliban leadership," Erdogan said in an interview with Turkish TV channels.

17:51 GMT 18.08.2021
Merkel Thanks Uzbek Leader for Logistical Support of Afghan Evacuations

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on Wednesday to thank his administration for helping German forces during evacuations from Afghanistan.

"The federal chancellor called Uzbekistan’s President Mirziyoyev to thank him for the logistical support during evacuation flights," a statement by her spokesman Steffen Seibert read.

Seibert said Merkel raised the subject of Afghanistan during phone conversations with Pakistani President Imran Khan and Qatari Emir Tamim Al Thani on Tuesday night.

"During all these phone conversations the federal chancellor reiterated her demand that the Taliban [banned in Russia] refrain from violence, respect human rights and guarantee safe passage to all those seeking to leave Afghanistan," he said.

Germany also supports the efforts of the UN refugee agency in Afghanistan and neighboring countries, and urges partners to do the same, Seibert concluded.

17:49 GMT 18.08.2021
UN Refugee Agency Has Not Seen Influx of Afghans to Neighboring Countries

The United Nations Refugee Agency has not seen a mass influx of Afghan refugees into neighbouring countries after the Taliban (banned in Russia) seized Kabul, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative for Afghanistan Caroline Van Buren said on Wednesday.

"UNHCR has not observed mass influxes to neighbouring countries to date," Van Buren said during a press briefing. "However, at the same time, partners and other sources have reported the movement of Afghans outside of the country has risen in recent months."

A majority of Afghans are displaced within Afghanistan and unable to leave the country through regular channels, Van Buren said.

However, Van Buren added, at least 20,000 Afghan refugees are fleeing to Iran or Pakistan each week through irregular channels.

On Tuesday, the UN Refugee Agency said more than 550,000 Afghans have been internally displaced as a result of conflict and insecurity.

17:47 GMT 18.08.2021
Ghani Explains His Departure From Afghanistan in Video Address
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks at the parliament in Kabul, Afghanistan August 2, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
Ghani Vows Return to Afghanistan to Exact 'Justice' for Afghans, Refutes He Fled With Millions
17:24 GMT 18.08.2021
Taliban's Political Chief to Hold Consultations With Afghan Politicians, Reports Say

Abdul Ghani Baradar, the chief of the Taliban's (a terrorist group, banned in Russia) political office, is planning to hold consultations with Afghan politicians, TOLO News reported on Wednesday, citing its sources.

The TV channel added that the leader, who arrived in Kandahar from Doha on Tuesday, does not plan to return to Qatar, which hosted the negotiations over the formation of a new government as well as the future of Afghanistan. Baradar is expected to arrive in Kabul soon.

Earlier in the day, senior Taliban member Anas Haqqani reportedly met with Abdullah Abdullah, the Afghan government's chief negotiator in national reconciliation talks, and former President Hamid Karzai.

On Sunday, the Taliban completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani resigned and left the country to prevent what he described as bloodshed that would occur if militants had to fight for the city. Many countries chose to evacuate their citizens and diplomatic personnel from Afghanistan due to the precarious security situation.

17:23 GMT 18.08.2021
UN Receiving Reports Afghanistan Slowly Returning to Normal, Markets Reopening

The United Nations is receiving reports that life in Afghanistan is slowly returning to normal, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative Caroline Van Buren told reporters on Wednesday.

"According to the reports that we are receiving, including from our staff members, things are slowly returning to normal," Van Buren, said. "A female staff member told me she went outside today to see the situation and she was able to walk around, look around and some markets are opening as well."

16:58 GMT 18.08.2021
Merkel, Biden Discuss Evacuations From Afghanistan

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Joe Biden spoke over the phone on Wednesday about further cooperation on evacuations from Afghanistan.

"Merkel underscored Germany's viewpoint that as many Afghan citizens who helped Germany as possible should be allowed to leave," Steffen Seibert, her spokesman, said in a statement.

"The federal chancellor and President Biden agreed to further their close cooperation, including between Bundeswehr and American security forces at Kabul's airport. They agreed to airlift as many vulnerable people as possible," he continued.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Tuesday that Islamist militants had promised to let foreigners reach the international airport, while locals were being stopped at Taliban-run checkpoints.

16:10 GMT 18.08.2021
Hundreds of Afghans Hold Anti-Taliban Rally in Brussels Near European Commission Building

Hundreds of Afghans rallied on Schuman Square in Brussels on Wednesday to raise awareness of the situation in Afghanistan and the problem of Afghan refugees following the change of power, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

"We want our president Ashraf Ghani back to us," a protester said.

Demonstrators held posters with such slogans as "Save Afghanistan!" and "What were these 20 years of war for?!" as well as Afghan national flags, which the Taliban (a terrorist group, banned in Russia) outlawed after taking over. They believe that the Islamist movement will quell any prospect of a secular Afghan state.

A female protester said the international community had abandoned Afghan women, expressing concern about the lives of her relatives back home, as now they "are not allowed to have their opinion."

Protesters also criticized Pakistan for its support of the Taliban, tearing up Pakistani national flags and attempting to burn them, which were prevented by the police.

After weeks of gaining ground amid the withdrawal of foreign troops, the Taliban completed the takeover by entering Kabul on Sunday. Ghani resigned as president and left the country to prevent what he described as bloodshed that would occur if militants had to fight for the city.

Many countries chose to evacuate their citizens and diplomatic personnel from Afghanistan due to the precarious security situation. Thousands of Afghans rushed to Kabul Airport in hope of fleeing the country.

16:10 GMT 18.08.2021
Former Afghan President Ghani, Who Fled Country, Hospitalized in Abu Dhabi, Report Says

Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who fled Afghanistan, is allegedly in a hospital in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi, his condition is deteriorating, Iranian agency YJC reported, citing sources.

It noted that Ghani had been hospitalized for treatment a few hours ago.

15:53 GMT 18.08.2021
UK's Corbyn Calls for 'Sober Reflection' on Afghanistan Crisis

Former UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on Wednesday for a "sober reflection" on the takeover by the Taliban (a terrorist group, outlawed in Russia) in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US-led foreign troops, describing Prime Minister Boris Johnson's rejection of an inquiry into London's role "beyond disappointing."

"Now is the time for a sober reflection on the disaster that is happening in Afghanistan," Corbyn told parliament during a special session discussing the situation in Afghanistan.

The lawmaker, who has been sitting among the independents in the House of Commons since current Labour Party leader Keir Starmer suspended his whip in October over his reaction to an anti-Semitism report, also claimed that there are lessons to be learned from the current crisis.

"There are some serious historical lessons to be learned here about how we take major foreign policy decisions and it is beyond disappointing that the Prime Minister's response this morning appeared to be that he was not prepared to carry out a serious inquiry into all of this," Corbyn stressed.

He noted that the history of Afghanistan has shown that wars in that country "do fail," adding that the twenty-year US-led war on terror had cost the United States $1 trillion, and the UK tens of billions of dollars, and taken the lives of tens of thousands of people, including American and British soldiers.

The left-wing politician welcomed the decision to offer refuge to Afghan interpreters and others who worked for British troops and staff in Afghanistan, but took a swipe at the new bill the government is pushing in parliament to tighten immigration law.

"We cannot be holding out our hands to say that we're going to welcome all the Afghan refugees here, and I hope we do, if at the same time we're passing a legislation which would criminalize those that safe lives at sea of people who try to get to this country," he said.

Before attending the special session on Afghanistan, Corbyn joined a demonstration in Parliament Square organized by the Stop the War Coalition to demand support for Afghan refugees and "no more disastrous wars."

On Sunday, the Taliban completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul. Ashraf Ghani resigned as president and left the country to prevent what he described as bloodshed that would occur if militants had to fight for the city. The takeover resulted in many trying to escape the country for fear of reprisals from the militants.

The UK government, which has been evacuating its diplomatic staff and Afghan collaborators, pledged on Wednesday to take up to 20,000 Afghan refugees over the next five years.

15:25 GMT 18.08.2021
Pentagon: 'Several Fatalities' as US Plane Flew From Kabul With Afghans Clinging to Side

The US Defense Department is aware of several fatalities after a US military transport aircraft departed Kabul international airport with Afghan civilians clinging to its side, spokesperson John Kirby said on Wednesday.

"Clearly, we know just by visual evidence and by the Air Force’s statement that there were at least several fatalities involved in that, but I don’t want to get ahead of the Air Force’s review in terms of hard numbers of what the total toll was," Kirby told reporters in an off-camera briefing.

15:13 GMT 18.08.2021
Switzerland Will Not Accommodate Large Number of Refugees From Afghanistan, Gov’t Says

Switzerland is for now unwilling to receive a large number of Afghans and will consider asylum applications on a case-by-case basis, the government said on Wednesday.

"Currently, Switzerland will refrain from receiving a big group of people directly from Afghanistan. On the one hand, the absence of clear information of the UNHCR [the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] does not allow [us] yet to make any conclusion on the possible necessity of resettlement. On the other hand, given the current chaotic situation concerning departure from Afghanistan, relevant actions will be technically impossible," the statement read.

Switzerland is seeking ways to evacuate around 230 Afghans and their relatives, who cooperated with the local office of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (DEZA), the government added.

Others can personally apply to the Swiss diplomatic mission for a humanitarian visa, by proving that they face a direct and serious threat, the statement said.

On Sunday, the Taliban (a terrorist group, banned in Russia) completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani resigned and left the country to prevent what he described as bloodshed that would occur if militants had to fight for the city. Many countries chose to evacuate their citizens and diplomatic personnel from Afghanistan due to the precarious security situation.

15:09 GMT 18.08.2021
Belgium's Afghan Evacuation Operation Due Friday, Reports Say

Belgian military may start evacuating citizens and Afghans who worked with Belgian forces from Kabul on Friday, media reported citing the defence ministry.

The ministry said in a statement that a Falcon 7X military jet with an evacuation prep team left for Pakistan on Tuesday.

The crew will set up an air bridge from Islamabad to Kabul, with the first rescue flight expected to take off on Friday morning, according to the Belga news agency.

The defence ministry published a video on Wednesday afternoon announcing the departure of two transport aircraft C-130H Hercules, which can carry up to 70 people apiece.

A fourth aircraft, an А400М, will leave for Pakistan from Melsbroek Air Base, northeast of Brussels, on Wednesday night.

At least 47 Belgians are waiting to be evacuated. Belgium will also rescue local support staff and activists. A hundred Afghans count on Belgium to lift them out of Afghanistan after it fell to the Taliban (a terrorist group, banned in Russia).

14:49 GMT 18.08.2021
Pentagon Spokesman Reportedly Confirms US Troops Fired Shots at Kabul Airport as 'Crowd Control Measure'

US troops had to fire weapons near Kabul airport overnight as control crowd measures, reporters quoted Pentagon spokesman John Kirby as saying during an off-camera briefing on Wednesday.

“@PentagonPresSec confirms that overnight US troops fired weapons on the airport side of the perimeter 'as crowd control measures,'" one of the reporters said on Twitter.

Another reporter quoted Kirby that the Pentagon had no indication of injuries or fatalities.

14:40 GMT 18.08.2021
US Officials Reportedly Warn It Will Be 'Challenging’ to Meet Biden’s August 31 Deadline

US officials say it will be “challenging” to meet Biden’s deadline to completely withdraw from Afghanistan by August 31 deadline as the American troops continue arriving in the country to facilitate the evacuation effort, Fox News reported on Wednesday citing unnamed government officials.

"We are still ramping up," one official said as cited by the report.

There are currently more than 4,000 US troops on the ground in Kabul with several thousand more scheduled to arrive over the next few days.

14:32 GMT 18.08.2021
US Defence Secretary, Joint Chiefs Chair to Brief Media on Afghanistan Wednesday Afternoon

US Defenсe Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley will give a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, the Defense Department announced.

"The Secretary and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, brief the media at 3 p.m. EDT in the Pentagon Briefing Room," the Defenсe Department said.

14:18 GMT 18.08.2021
Polish Plane Will Reportedly Evacuate Afghan Refugees From Uzbekistan's Navoi

The LOT Airlines, Poland’s national flag carrier, is expected to evacuate Afghan refugees from the Uzbek city of Navoi, a source familiar with the situation said.

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz promised that the first 50 Afghans who worked with Polish forces, were expected to arrive in Poland through Uzbekistan in the near future. A Polish Boeing 787 reportedly flew from Warsaw to Navoi earlier in the day. At the same time, a Lockheed C-130H aircraft of the Polish Air Force flew from Kabul.

"Yes, the citizens evacuated from Afghanistan will board the LOT [plane] in Navoi today," the source confirmed, without specifying the number of evacuees.

14:14 GMT 18.08.2021
Stoltenberg to Host NATO Foreign Ministers’ Virtual Meeting on Afghanistan on Friday

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that he will host a virtual meeting with NATO foreign ministers to discuss Afghanistan on Friday.

14:13 GMT 18.08.2021
Greece Stands Ready to Prevent Influx of Migrants From Afghanistan

Greece is prepared to prevent an influx of migrants from Afghanistan in light of recent developments in the Central Asian country, the Greek prime minister's office said on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis chaired a meeting of the country's national security council. The meeting was concerned with the situation in Afghanistan, focusing on the safe return of those who cooperated with the Greek forces there, as well as their families. The meeting also discussed preventing a new potential humanitarian crisis.

"The Greek authorities are always ready on both the land and maritime borders in order to prevent illegal entry into the country," the prime minister's office said in a statement.

On Sunday, the Taliban (terrorist group, outlawed in Russia) completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul, which led to the collapse of the US-backed civilian government. This development has left many trying to leave the country out of fear of reprisals from the radical movement.

14:09 GMT 18.08.2021
Afghan Australians Reportedly Plead for Escort to Reach Kabul Airport for Evacuation

Afghan Australians stranded in Afghanistan have appealed to the Australian government for help to get through checkpoints in order to reach the Kabul airport where they can be safely evacuated, Australian broadcaster ABC reported on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the country had evacuated its first 26 people from the beleaguered Central Asian country.

The news outlet spoke with an Afghan Australian, who said that his mother and sister had been unable to enter the airport and board the plane sent by Canberra.

The broadcaster also obtained a letter from the Australian authorities warning about the airport's northern gate being temporarily closed because of a security incident.

In light of that, a few Afghan Australians and Australian visa holders urged the country's government to provide escorts for people who may not be able to get through crowds and checkpoints.

On Sunday, the Taliban (terrorist group, banned in Russia) finished their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul, which led to the collapse of the US-backed civilian government. Most countries started evacuating their citizens and diplomatic staff from the Central Asian country following the events.

14:03 GMT 18.08.2021
Pakistani Foreign Ministry Discusses Evacuation From Kabul With Chinese Counterpart

Pakistani Foreign Ministry Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Wednesday that he discussed with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, the evacuation of staff of international organizations and diplomats from Afghanistan.

"Shared with [Chinese] FM #WangYi Pakistan’s efforts to facilitate evacuation of personnel and staff of diplomatic missions, international organizations, media and others from Afghanistan," the minister wrote on Twitter.

On Sunday, the Taliban (a terrorist group, banned in Russia) completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani resigned and left the country to prevent what he described as bloodshed that would occur if militants had to fight for the city. Many countries chose to evacuate their citizens and diplomatic personnel from Afghanistan due to the precarious security situation.

14:00 GMT 18.08.2021
Russian Envoy to UN Nebenzya: Russia Will Judge Taliban by Its Actions
13:44 GMT 18.08.2021
Zarif Says US/NATO Should 'Compensate' for What Has Been Done to Afghanistan
13:42 GMT 18.08.2021
Ghani is in UAE With Family, Country's Foreign Ministry Says
Buildings along the Sheikh Zayed road which roughly runs parallel to the United Arab Emirate's coastline along the Persian Gulf - Sputnik International, 1920
Abu Dhabi Confirms Ghani in UAE Amid Reports He Fled Afghanistan With up to $169 Mln in Cash
13:33 GMT 18.08.2021
Germany Offers Humanitarian Visas to Afghan Support Staff

Germany is granting visas to Afghans who worked with its forces "out of humanitarian concerns," an interior ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday, adding that support staff were not considered refugees.

"They are not coming to Germany as refugees. This has nothing to do with the refugee program," Marek Wede told a government press conference in Berlin.

He stressed that no blanket decision was made to take in all Afghans who had ever worked for German organizations in Afghanistan. Visas are issued to at-risk workers after they apply for admission.

German Foreign Office spokesman Christofer Burger said 202 Afghan citizens had been evacuated by Wednesday. This is on top of 1,900 Afghans who arrived before July. A total of 2,400 visas were issued to Afghans before German troops withdrew.

Burger denied reports claiming that the German government had been dragging its feet when it came to the embassy's evacuation. ARD reported on Monday that charge d'affaires Jan Hendrik van Thiel complained in a situation report on Friday that Berlin had ignored "urgent appeals" for a long time.

"The embassy was at that time convinced that security could be maintained for a while," Burger argued.

The German government has been criticized by the media and opposition for waiting until the last minute to begin the rescue operation. Kabul's takeover by the Taliban (designated terrorist and banned in Russia) caused thousands to storm the airport in a desperate attempt to flee.

12:59 GMT 18.08.2021
French Foreign Minister Asks Taliban to Prove if the Movement Has Changed

"I have asked the Taliban to show through their behaviour that they have changed as they say they have, it is up to them to prove it," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian tweeted. 

12:57 GMT 18.08.2021
US, Allied Countries ‘Deeply Worried’ Over Rights of Afghan Women, Girls

 US and allied countries, including the United Kingdom and European Union, in a joint statement expressed deep concern over the situation with women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan and urged the authorities to guarantee their protection, State Department said on Wednesday.

“We are deeply worried about Afghan women and girls, their rights to education, work and freedom of movement. We call on those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan to guarantee their protection,” the statement said.

Besides the US, the statement was signed by Albania, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, European Union, Honduras, Guatemala, North Macedonia, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Senegal, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

The signatories of the statement promise to closely monitor the future Afghan government actions to ensure the rights and freedoms of women and girls in Afghanistan which they acquired over the last twenty years.

On Tuesday, the Taliban (banned in Russia) spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that the movement "pledges to provide women of the country with all the rights granted to them by the Sharia and the law," adding that the Taliban "appreciates the role of women" in the society.

The Taliban completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul on Sunday, with President Ashraf Ghani stepping down and fleeing the country. The radical group declared an end to the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

12:50 GMT 18.08.2021
Taliban is Firing Shots to Disperse Crowds at Kabul Airport, Isn't Targeting People, Report Says

Members of the Taliban movement (banned in Russia) are firing shots near the Kabul airport to disperse the crowd but they are not aiming at people, CNN reported on Wednesday.

There are still huge crowds of people who are making attempts to enter the airport, according to CNN.

12:35 GMT 18.08.2021
Delegation of Former Afghan Gov't Reportedly Requests Temporary Asylum in Qatar

The delegation of Afghanistan’s former government has requested temporary asylum in Qatar, the Pajhwok news agency reported on Wednesday.

The delegation seeks asylum until the inclusive government in Afghanistan is formed, according to Pajhwok.

12:25 GMT 18.08.2021
Kazakh Foreign Ministry Says Hosting Afghan Refugees Not On Agenda

The issue of hosting Afghan refugees is currently not on agenda for Kazakhstan, the Foreign MInistry's spokesman, Aibek Smadiyarov, said on Wednesday.

"There is no decision on refugees, the issue of refugees is not on the agenda now," Smadiyarov told reporters.

At the same time, the spokesman said that Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev instructed the ministry to work out the possible return of ethnic Kazakhs from Afghanistan.

"In connection with the appeal of ethnic Kazakhs in Afghanistan, the head of state instructed the Foreign Ministry to provide maximum assistance in ensuring security and their possible return to their historical homeland," Smadiyarov said, adding that approximately 200 ethnic Kazakhs live in Afghanistan.


12:05 GMT 18.08.2021
German Citizens, Afghan Refugees Evacuated From Kabul to be Located in Tashkent Airport Transit Zone - Uzbek Foreign Ministry
12:03 GMT 18.08.2021
At Least Three People Dead Following Anti-Taliban Protest in Jalalabad, Report Says

At least three people were killed in Afghanistan's eastern city of Jalalabad, the capital of the Nangarhar province, at protests against the rule of the Taliban (banned as a terrorist organization in Russia), Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing witnesses.

Earlier in the day, a source in Nangarhar's health department said that at least two people were killed and 12 others injured after the Taliban opened fire at protesters in Nangarhar who rallied in support of Afghanistan's national flag.

12:00 GMT 18.08.2021
Scottish Leader Says UK's Afghan Resettlement Scheme Insufficiently Ambitious

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called on the British government on Wednesday to expand its Afghan migrant resettlement plan to aim for the intake of more refugees.

Earlier in the day, London unveiled the so-called Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme, under which it aims to relocate 5,000 Afghan nationals, primarily girls, women and at-risk minorities, in the first year of the plan and up to 20,000 Afghans in total.

In the meantime, according to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the country managed to evacuate over 2,000 Afghans and more than 300 British citizens from Kabul, which was taken over by the Taliban (a terrorist organization, banned in Russia) on Sunday, completing its large-scale offensive across Afghanistan.

11:34 GMT 18.08.2021
Afghan Defence Minister Urges Interpol to Arrest Ghani for Treason

Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi called on Interpol on Wednesday to arrest President Ashraf Ghani, who abdicated and fled from Afghanistan, for "selling out the motherland."

"Those trading and selling out their motherland should be punished and arrested," Mohammadi wrote on Twitter, adding hashtag #InterpolArrestGhani.

On Wednesday, the Afghan embassy in Tajikistan also requested Interpol to detain Ghani on embezzlement charges.

On Sunday, the Taliban completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul. Ghani resigned and fled abroad, escorted by cars filled with cash, the Russian embassy told Sputnik on Monday.

11:25 GMT 18.08.2021
WHO Urges Parties in Afghan Conflict to Ensure Safety of Afghans, Health Workers

The World Health Organisation on Wednesday called on the sides in the conflict in Afghanistan to protect all the citizens, including civilians and health employees and promised to remain in the country and continue its humanitarian services on the ground.

Access to health services and other means of humanitarian aid is vital for the population, especially against the background of month-long fighting and the COVID-19 pandemic that severely affected the already fragile healthcare system of Afghanistan, according to the WHO.

"The World Health Organization (WHO) is committed to staying in Afghanistan and delivering critical health services and calls on all parties to respect and protect civilians, health workers, patients, and health facilities. During this difficult time, the well-being of all civilians — as well as the safety and security of our staff — in Afghanistan is paramount," the statement read.

It listed a set of health emergencies registered in Afghanistan over the last months, related to violence, in particular, 13,897 trauma cases, admitted at 70 WHO-linked health units in July. In addition, 134 hospitals in 34 Afghan provinces, supported by the WHO, have reported 20,988 trauma cases over the past two months.

In addition to the reports of trauma cases, there are such diseases as "diarrhoea, malnutrition, high blood pressure, COVID-19-like symptoms, and reproductive health complications," according to the statement.

The organisation has supplied 500 health units with medical supplies and emergency kits since early summer and has been conducting mental and physical health support training of medical workers, according to the statement.

However, according to the WHO, attacks on medical facilities across Afghanistan remain a stumbling point in efforts to improve the country's health system. In particular, from January-July, 26 hospitals and 31 health employees were targeted in attacks with 12 of them killed.

11:21 GMT 18.08.2021
Mayor of Nice Opposed to Idea of Afghan Refugees in His City Over Terror Risks

Christian Estrosi, the mayor of the French city of Nice, on Wednesday, expressed reluctance about hosting Afghans fleeing from their homeland, citing terrorism concerns.

“No, no, that's clear. I had a city which in recent years has been a victim of terrorism considerably,” Estrosi told the RTL broadcaster when asked if he is ready to open Nice for the reception of Afghan refugees.

The mayor recalled two terrorist attacks that shook Nice in recent years, the one on July 14, 2016, involving a Tunisian radical killing over 80 people by deliberately driving into a crowd of people, and another last fall, when another Islamist of Tunisian origin stabbed three people in a church to death.

The Taliban (a terrorist organization, banned in Russia) takeover in Afghanistan is a threat to the West, given its past ties to al-Qaeda (a terrorist organization, banned in Russia), Estrosi said, speaking in favour of a migration quota, regarding the refugee issue.

In the meantime, 216 people, including 184 Afghan nationals, have arrived in France from Afghanistan as part of the evacuation mission, following the seizure of Kabul by the Islamist movement on Sunday, which brought to an end its weeks-long offensive.

11:12 GMT 18.08.2021
US Withdrawal From Afghanistan: What's Left Behind?
An Afghan army soldier walks past Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, MRAP, that were left after the American military left Bagram air base, in Parwan province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, July 5, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
A Look at Afghanistan's Military Bases After the Hasty US Pullout
11:11 GMT 18.08.2021
Germany Wants to Deploy up to 600 Servicemen to Evacuate Citizens From Afghanistan

Germany will deploy up to 600 servicemen to evacuate citizens from Afghanistan, it is up to Bundestag to determine the mandate, cabinet spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Wednesday.

"The German government ordered today to send a request to the Bundestag to approve the mandate of the Germany armed forces' military mission for evacuation from Afghanistan ... Deployment started on August 16 to launch the military evacuation, this happened prior to Bundestag approval ... The mission is limited to September 30, 2021, up to 600 soldiers can take part. A request for mandate approval will be submitted to the Bundestag as soon as possible," Seibert said at a briefing.

11:10 GMT 18.08.2021
Amsterdam: Evacuation of Dutch Citizens From Kabul Fails Due to Limited US-Allotted Time

The Netherlands has been unable to evacuate its citizens from Afghanistan as the US military has not given its plane enough time in Kabul's airport for people to board, acting Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag said on Wednesday.

The second Dutch evacuation military plane arrived in the Afghan capital on Tuesday but departed with only 40 people on board, none of whom were Dutch or Afghan citizens.

"Unfortunately, our plane departed [without Dutch citizens]. We had only half an hour to bring people to the tarmac ... Many people and their families were waiting there and also near the airport gates. I think this is horrible," Kaag told Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

The Dutch top diplomat urged the United States to provide more landing time for people to board evacuation flights.

On Sunday, the Taliban (terrorist group, banned in Russia) finished their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul, which led to the collapse of the US-backed civilian government. Most countries started evacuating their citizens and diplomatic staff from the Central Asian country following the events.

11:00 GMT 18.08.2021
At Least 17 People Reportedly Injured in Stampede Near Kabul Airport Gate

At least 17 people were injured in a stampede at a gate at the airport in Kabul, Reuters reported, citing a NATO security official. 

This comes as Afghan civilians have been gathering in crowds outside the airport, trying to flee the country after the Taliban took control of the country last week. The people are being told not to arrive at the airport unless they have a passport and a visa to travel, the official added, as quoted by the agency. 

10:56 GMT 18.08.2021
Lavrov, Cavusoglu Call for Ensuring Order, Security in Afghanistan

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, discussed the situation in Afghanistan during a phone conversation on Wednesday and called for ensuring security in the country, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"The sides substantively discussed the situation in Afghanistan, expressed mutual interest in stabilizing the situation and called on key national forces to ensure security and law and order in the country as soon as possible," the ministry said in a statement, adding that ministers also discussed other issues.

10:54 GMT 18.08.2021
Mass Evacuation Not Solution to Crisis in Afghanistan, UK's Afghan Community Leader Believes

Salahuddin Sayedi, one of the leading members of the Afghan community in London, said that the evacuation of people from Afghanistan by the US, the UK and other Western countries is not the solution to the crisis posed by the Taliban (a terrorist group, outlawed in Russia) recently retaking power in the Central Asian nation.

"These few thousands that the US, UK and other powers have promised to evacuate are not the solution. Evacuation is not the right solution. There are thousands of thousands of people who were standing for the sake of democracy, freedom and humanity that will be left behind," Sayedi said in an interview with a Sputnik correspondent in London.

According to the prominent member of the Afghan Association of London, among those people would not be "eligible" for leaving the country as part of the operation mounted by the West are over 300,000 soldiers who fought the Taliban, journalists and court judges.

"There is no solution for them," he warned, adding that many of the things that are happening now in Afghanistan were caused by the wrong actions of the US-led military coalition that invaded the country 20 years ago in name of the war on terror.

"I know that some people preferred the foreign troops not to go, but I thank god that they withdrew, because coming to Afghanistan was a wrong step as they made the world more dangerous," Sayedi said.

He said that instead of invading Afghanistan, the international community should have tried to find where terror was coming from, arguing that terrorist groups were created and protected by the Pakistan establishment.

Sayedi also blamed the "wrong" peace talks that were held by the US and the Taliban last year in Doha which eventually led to the withdrawal of the US-led international troops.

"We cannot expect a solution by the view of the Pakistan establishment," he said.

On Sunday, the Taliban completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani resigned and left the country to prevent what he described as bloodshed that would occur if militants had to fight for the city. The takeover resulted in many people currently trying to escape the country for fear of reprisals from the militants.

The UK government, which has been evacuating its diplomatic staff and Afghan collaborators, pledged on Wednesday to take up to 20,000 Afghan refugees over the next five years.

10:53 GMT 18.08.2021
Merkel, Biden Will Reportedly Discuss Afghanistan on Wednesday

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will call US President Joe Biden on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, media reported.

The German daily Bild said Berlin was concerned about reports that the Taliban (a terrorist group, banned in Russia) were stopping local support staff from leaving Afghanistan.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Tuesday that Islamist militants had promised to let foreigners reach Kabul’s airport, while locals were being stopped at Taliban-run checkpoints.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told a briefing hours later that the United States was in talks with the Taliban about providing safe passage to civilians seeking to leave the country.

10:44 GMT 18.08.2021
Pakistani and Chinese Foreign Ministers Work Toward Building 'Regional Consensus on Afghanistan'

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke to his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Wednesday to brief him about the efforts Islamabad is making to develop a "regional consensus on the evolving situation in Afghanistan".

A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Qureshi shared the details of his upcoming visits to various countries with Yi during a telephone call.

Qureshi also shared the details of the National Security Committee meeting (NSC), which was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, convened to discuss Pakistan's future strategy on Afghanistan.

Qureshi termed both the countries "iron-clad brothers" and strategic partners.

09:52 GMT 18.08.2021
Taliban 'Cooperating' With UK Forces Amid Evacuation From Afghanistan, Military Chief Says

The Taliban (terrorist organization, banned in Russia) are helping UK forces to conduct evacuation of people from Afghanistan, in what appears to be a more moderate posture than in the 1990s, UK Chief of the Defense Staff Nick Carter said on Wednesday.

"We are cooperating with the Taliban on the ground and that seems to be a very straightforward relationship… They are keeping the streets of Kabul very safe and indeed very calm. They are helping us at the airport," Carter told Sky News.

The Taliban, controlling Afghanistan today, may be more moderate than those, who seized power in 1990s, as no reports of them "behaving in a medieval way" were received, Carter added.

On Sunday, the Taliban completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani resigned and left the country to prevent what he described as bloodshed that would occur if militants had to fight for the city. The takeover resulted in many people currently trying to escape the country for fear of reprisals from the militants.

09:51 GMT 18.08.2021
Afghanistan's Abdullah, Karzai Reportedly Meet With Senior Taliban Leader in Kabul

Abdullah Abdullah, the Afghan government's chief negotiator in national reconciliation talks, and former President Hamid Karzai met with senior Taliban (designated terrorist and banned in Russia) member Anas Haqqani on Wednesday, media said.

TOLO News cited sources as saying that the meeting took place in Kabul and involved other Taliban militants. Haqqani is a member of the Taliban's Doha-based political office and a senior leader of the militant Haqqani Network.

The Taliban swept over Afghanistan in the past months and seized the capital of Kabul on Sunday, taking NATO members by surprise. Thousands have been trying to flee the country on NATO jets from the Kabul airport, which is under US military control.

09:50 GMT 18.08.2021
Two Killed, 12 Injured After Taliban Fires at Protesters in Nangarhar, Source Says

At least two people were killed and 12 others got injured after members of the Taliban (banned in Russia) opened fire at protesters in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province on Wednesday, a source from the local health department said.

Earlier in the day, another source said that the Taliban opened fire at people who protested in support of Afghanistan’s national flag.

09:05 GMT 18.08.2021
Boris Johnson: West Couldn’t Carry on With US-Led Afghan Op Without America
A handout picture taken and released by the British Ministry of Defence (MOD) on August 15, 2021 shows members of the British Army, from 16 Air Assault Brigade, as they disembark from an RAF Voyager aircraft after landing in Kabul, Afghanistan, to assist in evacuating British nationals and entitled persons as part of Operation PITTING - Sputnik International, 1920
Boris Johnson: West Couldn’t Carry on With US-Led Afghan Op Without America
08:52 GMT 18.08.2021
Taliban Militans Open Fire on Rally in Support of Afghan National Flag in Nangarhar: Source

Members of the Taliban opened fire on people rallying in support of the Afghan national flag in the eastern Nangarhar province, a local source told Sputnik on Wednesday.

Some people were killed and others were injured, the source continued.

08:47 GMT 18.08.2021
UK's Johnson: Events in Afghanistan Unfolded Faster Than Expected
07:32 GMT 18.08.2021
China to Establish New Diplomatic Relations With Afghanistan After Situation Stabilises, Foreign Ministry Says
07:26 GMT 18.08.2021
25 French Nationals and 184 Afghans Have Been Evacuated From Afghanistan, French Foreign Affairs Minister Le Drian Says

France evacuated 216 people from Kabul in the early hours of Wednesday, including about 25 Frenchmen and 184 Afghans, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

The country's defence minister, Florence Parly, said on Tuesday that the country had established an air corridor through the United Arab Emirates to Afghanistan to evacuate French citizens from Afghanistan.

"The evacuation operations that were launched in Kabul are ongoing. A new flight between Kabul and Abu Dhabi was organized on the night from 17 to 18 August, with 216 people on board. It allows us to evacuate almost 25 of our countrymen, as well as 184 Afghans from the civil society, who need protection," Le Drian said in a statement.

Among the rescued people also were four Dutchmen, one Irishman and two Kenyans, according to the statement.

"This operation allowed, among other things, to evacuate a significant number of people, both Frenchmen and Afghans, who found shelter in the French embassy in Kabul, while the embassy's services were transferred to the airport," the minister added.

07:16 GMT 18.08.2021
China Will Help Afghanistan After Taliban Establishes Control Over Country, Foreign Ministry Says
07:06 GMT 18.08.2021
Defence Equipment May End up in the Hands of Taliban, Norwegian Military Warns
Norwegian soldiers from Telemark Battalion  in Afghanistan engage enemies from a long distance - Sputnik International, 1920
Defence Equipment May End up in the Hands of Taliban, Norwegian Military Warns
07:00 GMT 18.08.2021
EASA Advises Against Commercial Operators Performing Flights in Kabul Airspace
06:59 GMT 18.08.2021
German Military Planes Seen in Tashkent's Airport
06:55 GMT 18.08.2021
UK Evacuated 1,000 People After Taliban Seized Control of Afghanistan
06:38 GMT 18.08.2021
Cars of Civilians and Afghan Soldiers Abandoned at Afghanistan–Uzbekistan Border Bridge
05:52 GMT 18.08.2021
Taliban to Engage in Peaceful Dialogue With Former Afghan Government Officials

A spokesman for the Taliban told Reuters on Wednesday that the movement will engage in peaceful dialogue with former Afghan government officials to ensure they feel secure.

The spokesman also said that the Taliban were ordered not to celebrate the seizure of power, since "victory belongs to Afghanistan."

05:47 GMT 18.08.2021
Australia Evacuates First 26 People From Afghanistan

Australia has evacuated its first 26 people out of the Afghan capital of Kabul, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a press conference, the Australian prime minister noted that the country's first rescue flight from Kabul had already landed at a military base in the United Arab Emirates.

"There were 26 people who were on board that flight. That included Australian citizens, Afghan nationals with visas and one foreign official who was working in an international national agency," Morrison said.

The prime minister added that Australia was cooperating with international organizations and other countries in order to maximize the use of all the flights from all countries that either arrive or depart from Kabul.

Australian broadcaster ABC previously reported that Canberra plans to evacuate about 600 people from Kabul, including 100 Australians and the same number of their relatives, as well as 300 to 400 Afghans.

05:29 GMT 18.08.2021
Taliban Spokesman Urges Afghan Civilians to Surrender Weapons, Ammunition to Taliban, Reports Say

A spokesman for the Taliban said that Afghan civilians must hand over their weapons and ammunition to authorized Taliban members.

Any complaint by civilians against any Taliban member will be investigated, the spokesman also pledged, according to Reuters.

04:48 GMT 18.08.2021
A Tale of Two Withdrawals: Why Soviet and US Pull-Outs From Afghanistan Were So Different
Gradual withdrawal of limited contingent of Soviet forces from the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan). A column of armored vehicles crosses the Afghan-Soviet border on the Friendship Bridge over the Amu Darya River. - Sputnik International, 1920
A Tale of Two Withdrawals: Why Soviet and US Pull-Outs From Afghanistan Were So Different
04:37 GMT 18.08.2021
Over 2,200 People Evacuated on Military Flights From Kabul
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