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Anti-missile decoy flares are deployed as U.S. Black Hawk military helicopters and a dirigible balloon fly over the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Biden Reportedly Mulls Launching Airstrikes Against US Equipment Left in Afghanistan

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On Sunday, the Taliban* entered Kabul, after which President Ashraf Ghani left the country. Ghani said his decision was dictated by the desire to prevent violence as the militants were ready to carry out an attack on the capital.
Following the seizure of the Afghan capital Kabul this past Sunday, the Taliban declared the end of the two-decade-long war in the Asian country.
Reuters reported Thursday that the Biden administration is considering striking US-made equipment left behind in the country, but it also acknowledges a possibility of the Taliban retaliating.
"Everything that hasn't been destroyed is the Taliban's now," a US official reportedly told media.
Washington admitted earlier that "a fair amount" of US-supplied military equipment turned out in the hands of the Islamists.
Many governments rushed to evacuate their citizens and diplomatic personnel from Afghanistan amid the uncertain security situation. Thousands of Afghans rushed to Kabul Airport in the hope of fleeing the country.
Follow Sputnik’s feed to find out more.
*The Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries
Table of contents
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02:26 GMT 20.08.2021
Over 18,000 People Evacuated From Kabul in 5 Days - Reports
01:29 GMT 20.08.2021
Biden, Macron Discuss Situation in Afghanistan on Thursday - White House
23:04 GMT 19.08.2021
UK Foreign Secretary Says Discussed Situation in Afghanistan With Chinese Foreign Minister

LONDON (Sputnik) – UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that he had discussed the situation in Afghanistan with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

“Discussed Afghanistan with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi today. We noted the importance of addressing security concerns, regional stability and addressing the humanitarian crisis,” Raab wrote on his Twitter page on late Thursday.

22:32 GMT 19.08.2021
Diplomats From US Embassy Warned Blinken via Internal Cable About Likely Collapse of Kabul Shortly After Aug 31
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken exits his vehicle prior to departing Washington on travel to New Delhi, India and Kuwait City, Kuwait at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., July 26, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
US Diplomats in Confidential Cable Warned Blinken in July Kabul May Collapse - Reports
20:11 GMT 19.08.2021
Pentagon Not Developing Any Alternative Plan for Afghanistan After August 31

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Defense Department has not presented any alternative plan to President Joe Biden for US troop operations in Afghanistan after August 31, spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Thursday.

When asked whether the Secretary is developing options or plans to be presented to the President as to how the military can continue operating in Afghanistan after August 31, Kirby said, " Right now, we are very focused on the mission which to get this done by the 31st (August 31)."

"I know of now alternative concepts of operation that have been presented to the President for decision at this point. We are focused on doing as much as we can, as fast as we can and we are trying to get this accomplished by the end of the month," Kirby said during a press briefing.

20:11 GMT 19.08.2021
Canadian Armed Forces Arrive in Afghanistan to Assist With Evacuation - Trudeau

TORONTO (Sputnik) – Canadian Armed Forces personnel and equipment have arrived in Afghanistan to work in tandem with the US forces on the evacuation of Canadians and Afghan nationals out of the country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday.

“I can confirm that Canadian Armed Forces assets and personnel have arrived on the ground to [Afghanistan to] coordinate at the tactical level with the US and with our allied partners. This will help the Canadians, Afghan nationals and their families to safety,” Trudeau said at a press briefing.

Two Canadian Forces C-17 aircraft will be conducting regular flights into Kabul to support evacuation efforts, Trudeau noted.

At the same time, Trudeau said that many of the flights have been leaving Afghanistan not full due to the existing challenges on the ground in terms of getting people out of the country.

Canadian personnel has already been present in Afghanistan while more are set to arrive later today to help process the evacuees, the Prime Minister said.

19:31 GMT 19.08.2021
Taliban Say 'No Time' for Elections in Afghanistan, Government Should Be Formed First

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Suhail Shaheen, political office spokesman for the Taliban (a terrorist group, banned in Russia), said on Thursday that Afghanistan had no time to arrange elections of "any kind" and should first have a new government.

"Right now, it is a vacuum, vacuum of power. There is no time for any kind of election. There is no constitution, a new constitution will be drafted and then approved. So, this means a lot of work. That work will be done later. But right now, it is needed to have an Afghan inclusive government," Shaheen told the CGTN broadcaster.

The Taliban will keep their promises as their statements are not a PR stunt, though a timeframe for fulfilling them has not been determined, the spokesman added.

19:11 GMT 19.08.2021
Khalilzad Stays in Doha, In Touch with Taliban Reps Who Left for Afghanistan, State Dept Says

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Special Representative to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad remains in touch with Taliban (banned in Russia) representatives from Doha even though their delegation left the city for Afghanistan, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said on Thursday.

“Ambassador Khalilzad remains in Doha. Much of the Taliban delegation, if not all of it, has relocated from Doha to Afghanistan. We’ve continued to be in touch with those representatives over the phone. We’ve been in touch directly on the ground with them as well,” Price said during a press briefing.

18:18 GMT 19.08.2021
State Dep.: Some 6,000 People at Kabul Airport Processed, Will Soon Board Flights Out of Country

About 6,000 people at the Kabul airport have been processed and they will soon board their flight to the United States, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Thursday at a daily briefing.

“There are 6,000 people who have been fully processed at the airport, will soon board planes,” Price said.

17:57 GMT 19.08.2021
Raab: G7 Diplomats Urge Taliban to Ensure Safe Passage to Kabul Airport

G7 foreign ministers urged the Taliban (banned in Russia) on Thursday to guarantee Afghans and foreigners safe passage from Kabul, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

Raab, who chaired a conference call of Canadian, French, German, Italian, Japanese and US foreign ministers, said in a statement that the seven nations would continue efforts to evacuate vulnerable people from Kabul.

"The G7 Ministers called for the Taliban to guarantee safe passage to foreign nationals and Afghans wanting to leave," he said.

The diplomats agreed the Taliban must make sure that Afghanistan does not harbour terrorists who could threaten international security.

They also said that the Afghan crisis requires a global response, including from donors and regional neighbours. They concluded it was up to the international community to provide "safe and legal" resettlement routes for displaced Afghans.

17:38 GMT 19.08.2021
UN Chief Says Has Not Been in Contact With Taliban About Afghanistan’s Future

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday said that he has not been in touch with the Taliban (banned in Russia) to address the future of Afghanistan, however, is willing to do that.

"I have not spoken myself but our people in Afghanistan are in close contact with the Taliban. I am ready to speak myself when it is clear with whom should I speak [and] for what purpose," Guterres said at a briefing.

17:08 GMT 19.08.2021
Germany Evacuates Over 1,000 People From Afghanistan Since Taliban Takeover

Germany has so far evacuated a total of more than 1,000 people from Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Thursday.

Germany's first military flight departed from Kabul in the early hours of Tuesday. Since then, the country's planes have been making regular flights to and from the Afghan capital. The operation involves three military planes that deliver people from Kabul to Tashkent, from where they are brought to Germany by Lufthansа.

"Another plane has left Kabul. Thus, over 1,000 people have been rescued from Afghanistan since Monday. The work that our soldiers, federal police and colleagues [diplomats] are doing on the ground is beyond evaluation," Maas tweeted.

17:07 GMT 19.08.2021
Putin, Macron Discuss Situation in Afghanistan After Taliban Came to Power

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, the situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban came to power, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

"Russian President Vladimir Putin had a phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron. The situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban came to power. Both sides noted the importance of ensuring the security of the civilian population and solving urgent humanitarian problems. They expressed readiness to promote the establishment of peace and stability in Afghanistan by joint efforts, including within the framework of the UN Security Council and the G20," the statement says.

16:41 GMT 19.08.2021
Half of People in UK Support Government’s Resettlement Scheme for Afghan Refugees, Poll Shows

Just over half of the British public supports the government’s plan to welcome up to 20,000 Afghan refugees who have been forced to leave Afghanistan following the Taliban (a terrorist group, banned in Russia) takeover earlier this week, according to data from a poll released Thursday.

According to a survey carried by the YouGov firm for The Times newspaper, 52% of the population said they support the resettlement scheme outlined on Wednesday, compared to 29% who said they would oppose, and 20% who are unsure.

Among political parties, Labour voters took the lead, with 69% supporting the idea of offering safe harbour to up to 5,000 Afghan nationals in the UK per year for four years, with priority for women, children, and religious minorities. 

The poll showed, however, that the vote among the ruling Conservative Party supporters was split, with 45% in favour of the plan and 40% against.

Asked if they think the UK has a moral obligation to offer asylum to Afghans fleeing the Taliban, 48% of the 1,703 adults surveyed on August 17-18 said “yes,” while 36% said "no."

On Sunday, the Taliban completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani 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.

16:14 GMT 19.08.2021
Pentagon: US Expects Increase in Flow of People From Kabul Upon Opening Extra Airport Gate

The United States is expecting to see an increase in the flow of people out of Afghanistan with an additional airport gate is opened and more consular officers are available on the ground, Defence Department spokesperson John Kirby said on Thursday.

"By opening up another gate, by adding consular officers now, we believe that we will soon begin to see an opening up the aperture, and we are hopeful that that means a more consistent increase in the flow," Kirby said during a press briefing.

Kirby also said that even though the United States is poised to see an increase in evacuation capacity, it is hard to make predictions in the existing situation.

On Wednesday, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said the Biden administration plans to nearly double the number of consular officers in Afghanistan by Friday to increase the number of non-combatant evacuees.

Defence Department officials said the US government managed to evacuate approximately 2,000 people out of Kabul airport in the past 24 hours.

15:49 GMT 19.08.2021
Taliban Leaders Will Reportedly Begin Talks on New Gov't With Afghan Politicians in Kabul
15:39 GMT 19.08.2021
Russia Regularly Provides Humanitarian Aid for Afghanistan

Russia has provided uninterrupted humanitarian aid for Afghanistan through international organisations, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"We have been providing it [aid] regularly, particularly through the United Nations World Food Programme and Russia's contribution. Since 2020, the total aid has reached $3 million," Zakharova told TSN24, a local broadcaster in Russia's Tula Region.

Russia also sent Afghanistan medical equipment for combating the COVID-19 pandemic. From June-November 2020, Moscow allocated more than 1 ton of humanitarian aid, including antiseptic substances and testing kits, the spokeswoman specified.

Commenting on the current state of bilateral relations, Zakharova said that Moscow will wait until "state institutions resume work" in Afghanistan.

This past Sunday, the Taliban (a terrorist group, banned in Russia) completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul. President Ashraf Ghani left the country to prevent what he described as bloodshed that would have occurred if militants had attacked the city.

15:01 GMT 19.08.2021
UNESCO Calls for Protection of Afghanistan's Cultural Heritage After Militant Takeover

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay on Thursday advised the protection of Afghanistan's diverse heritage and demanded that artists be guaranteed a safe working space.

"[Azoulay] calls for the preservation of Afghanistan's cultural heritage in its diversity, in full respect of international law, and for taking all necessary precautions to spare and protect cultural heritage from damage and looting," UNESCO said.

The UN cultural agency said it is closely following the situation on the ground after the Taliban (banned in Russia) took control of the country, which boasts a rich pre-Islamic past.

The last time the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in 1996, it infamously blew up two ancient Buddha sculptures in the Bamiyan Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

14:54 GMT 19.08.2021
Pentagon: More Than 5,200 US Troops on Ground in Kabul

The United States has at the moment over 5,000 personnel in Kabul, Army Major General William Taylor said on Thursday.

“The US military footprint in Kabul is now more than 5,200 total troops in the ground,” Taylor said at a briefing.

14:52 GMT 19.08.2021
Pentagon Says Armed US F-18 Fighter Jets Flew Over Kabul to Ensure Security

US F-18 fighter jets flew over the Afghan capital of Kabul to ensure security around the airport area, Army Maj. Gen. William Taylor said on Thursday.

"As we look at the last 24 hours, F-18s from the Ronald Reagan carrier strike group flew armed over watched flights over Kabul to ensure enhanced security," Taylor said during a briefing.

Taylor added that the F-18 jets are flying continuously in support of the US efforts to evacuate Americans and allies from Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby denied that the deployment of F-18 jets is the first armed flight since the beginning of non-combatant evacuations in Afghanistan.

"Our mission in Afghanistan is now conducting a non-combatant evacuation in a safe way... Our main mission is airport security, help to get people out," Kirby said.

On Sunday, the Taliban completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul. President Ashraf Ghani resigned and fled the country. Numerous countries chose to evacuate their citizens and diplomatic personnel from Afghanistan due to the precarious security situation.

14:32 GMT 19.08.2021
Taliban Seeks Friendly Relations With All Countries, Including US, Spokesman Says

The Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) expects international recognition and seeks to develop friendly relations with all countries, including the United States, spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said on Thursday.

"The world should not be afraid of us. We must be recognized. We want friendly relations with all countries of the world, including the United States," Mujahid said in his speech dedicated to Afghanistan’s independence day, as quoted by the Ariana News broadcaster.

14:31 GMT 19.08.2021
UN: Daesh Expanding Presence in Afghanistan, Group Has Financial Reserves Estimated Between $25 Mln and $50 Mln

The Daesh* terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) is now expanding its presence in Afghanistan and has financial reserves estimated between $25 million and $50 million, the latest United Nations report on global terrorism delivered to the UN Security Council said on Thursday.

“Da’esh in Afghanistan has prioritized the recruitment and training of new supporters,” the report said. “Estimates of the affiliate’s strength range widely, with one Member State reporting between 500 and 1,500 fighters, and another stating that it may rise to as many as 10,000 in the medium term.”

The terror group has also expanded its presence in several provinces of Afghanistan and strengthened its positions in and around Kabul, where it has targeted most of its attacks against minorities, civil society actors, government employees and personnel of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, the report added.

14:30 GMT 19.08.2021
Russia Did Not Approve Change of Power in Afghanistan, Foreign Ministry Says

Moscow has not made any approving statements about the change of power in Afghanistan, assessing only the objective situation in Kabul after the arrival of the Taliban movement (recognised as a terrorist group and banned in Russia) in the city, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

"I would like to note right away that Russian officials have never declared or made any approving statements about the change of government in Afghanistan. We are recording reality. It would be strange if we did not notice it, but there are obvious differences in assessment," Zakharova said at the briefing.

The assessments of the Russian side concerned only the objective situation in Kabul, after the Taliban movement established de facto control over the capital of Afghanistan, including statements by Taliban representatives about guarantees of security for the population and diplomatic missions, she added.

13:57 GMT 19.08.2021
Germany, Turkey Discuss Safety for Refugees From Afghanistan

German Defenсe Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and her Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, held a phone call on Thursday to discuss issues pertaining to the safety of evacuees from Afghanistan.

"With regard to the safety of local [Afghan] employees, this morning I held a phone talk with my Turkish counterpart. Efforts are currently being made at the political level, including the level of foreign ministries of all countries in Doha and in others," Kramp-Karrenbauer told the leadership of the German military contingent in Kabul.

On Sunday, the Taliban (a terrorist group, banned in Russia) completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul. President Ashraf Ghani 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, and some pledged to take in their Afghan staff as well.

13:35 GMT 19.08.2021
UN Officials Appeal for Donors to Meet $800Mln Gap for Afghanistan

The principals of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee of the United Nations on Thursday appealed for donors to help pool an additional $800 million in funding for humanitarian aid in Afghanistan.

"Timely funding saves lives, protects livelihoods, eases suffering and prevents further displacement. A total of US$1.3 billion is required to reach almost 16 million people with humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan; only 37 per cent of required funds have been received, leaving a shortfall of almost $800 million," the statement said.

13:34 GMT 19.08.2021
UN Officials Call on Governments to Keep Borders Open for Afghan Refugees

The principals of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee of the United Nations, which is tasked with coordinating humanitarian missions, on Thursday called on the countries neighbouring Afghanistan to keep their borders open for those fleeing to seek refuge following the Taliban (banned in Russia) takeover of power in the country.

“We call on Governments to keep borders open to receive Afghan refugees fleeing from violence and persecution and refrain from deportations. This is not the time to abandon the Afghan people. Member States must provide all possible support to Afghan nationals at risk, including a moratorium on repatriations. We urge neighbouring countries to ensure the protection of Afghans displaced across their borders,” the statement said.

13:32 GMT 19.08.2021
UN's FAO to Stay in Afghanistan Despite Militant Takeover, Spokesperson Says

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which leads UN efforts in defeating hunger, will not leave Afghanistan after the militant takeover, its representative in the country said.

"We are staying in Afghanistan and we are fully committed to delivering our programme, response plan, and development work," Richard Trenchard said.

A spokesperson for the World Food Programme's Asia division, another UN food agency, said that it too was reaching out to all parties in Afghanistan to make sure that it could continue operations.

Relief aid agencies have been warning about a looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, exacerbated by extreme weather, the pandemic and armed conflict. One in three Afghans are estimated to experience acute food insecurity.

13:02 GMT 19.08.2021
Saleh Believes Taliban Will Fail to Rule Afghanistan

Amrullah Saleh, who declared himself the legitimate acting president of Afghanistan, said on Wednesday that the Taliban (designated terrorist and banned in Russia) will be unable to govern the country successfully.

"Nations must respect the rule of law, not violence. Afghanistan is too big for Pakistan to swallow and too big for Talibs to govern. Don't let your histories have a chapter on humiliation and bowing to terror groups," Saleh wrote on Twitter.

He also expressed his support to those Afghans who protect the national flag and "stand for dignity" of the nation.

12:54 GMT 19.08.2021
UK´s Johnson Discusses Afghanistan Evacuation With Australian Prime Minister

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, agreed on Thursday that their priority was to evacuate UK and Australian nationals and former Afghan employees from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover in the Central Asian nation, Johnson’s office said in a statement.

"The leaders agreed the immediate priority was to evacuate their nationals and former employees from Afghanistan, and to continue working together to achieve this," an official spokesperson was quoted as saying.

According to the statement, Morrison also thanked Johnson for the UK’s help in evacuating 76 Australians in a Royal Air Force flight on Wednesday, and Johnson stressed the need for a concerted international effort to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan by increasing aid to the region and resettling refugees.

The UK prime minister, which will host the UN Climate Change Conference, or COP26, in November, also took the opportunity to underline the importance of setting ambitious targets for reaching carbon net zero emissions and increasing climate financing, the statement added.

12:44 GMT 19.08.2021
Russia Ready to Provide Civilian Aircraft to Evacuate Citizens of Any Country From Afghanistan

Russia is ready to provide aviation services to evacuate people from Afghanistan to other countries, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"In order to prevent the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, we are ready to provide Russian civil aviation services to ensure fly out any number of Afghan citizens, including women and children, to any foreign countries that show interest in receiving and accommodating them," Zakharova told a briefing.

12:39 GMT 19.08.2021
Moscow: Ghani Bears Responsibility For Everything That Happens in Afghanistan
12:31 GMT 19.08.2021
Cyprus Denies Afghan President Ghani Asked for Asylum

The Greek Cypriot government denied media reports claiming that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani sought asylum in the Mediterranean island nation.

"Neither the Interior Ministry's Asylum Service nor any of our embassies abroad has received such a request," government spokesperson Marios Pelekanos said in a statement.

The Turkish pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak reported on Thursday that Ghani either asked or was going to ask Cyprus for asylum after fleeing Kabul over the weekend.

Ghani’s flight from Afghanistan accelerated the collapse of the secular Afghan government following the Taliban (designated terrorist by the UN and Russia) takeover. He resurfaced in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.

12:23 GMT 19.08.2021
Afghanistan's Abdullah Urges Taliban to Protect Social Justice

The head of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), Abdullah Abdullah, has met with a senior Taliban delegation (designated terrorist and banned in Russia) in Kabul and urged them to ensure social justice in the country.

The meeting took place on Wednesday night, Afghan broadcaster TOLO News said, citing Abdullah's office.

"History shows that in the absence of social justice, providing security and strengthening national unity is impossible," Abdullah was quoted as saying.

Taliban Khalil Al-Rahman Haqqani vowed that the Islamist movement will provide "the right security for the citizens of Kabul" and asked for the support of Afghan political leaders and elders, as quoted in the report.

On Sunday, the Taliban completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul. President Ashraf Ghani fled abroad. The transfer of power resulted in thousands of Afghans trying to escape the country for fear of reprisals from the militants. A backlog of foreign evacuation flights has created chaos at Kabul Airport.

12:12 GMT 19.08.2021
EU Commission President Closely Following Afghanistan Evacuations

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday that she is watching the ongoing evacuation of EU diplomats and their Afghan support staff closely.

The first evacuation flights landed in the European Union last night, she said.

Following the August 15 takeover of the Afghan capital of Kabul by the Taliban (a terrorist organization, banned in Russia), countries began evacuating their citizens and diplomatic staff from Afghanistan, with some promising to evacuate Afghans who worked for them as well. Thousands of Afghans stormed the Kabul airport hoping to get on evacuation flights.

EU member states are carrying out the evacuation in a coordinated manner, High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell said on Tuesday after a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

11:51 GMT 19.08.2021
Taliban Reportedly Introduces Curfew in Afghan City of Khost

The Taliban (a terrorist organization, banned in Russia) has imposed a curfew in the southeastern Afghan city of Khost, saying the measure would prevent rioting and public disorder, a source said.

Khost is one of the few Afghan cities where residents attempted public demonstration of rejection of the Taliban, for example by rallying with the overthrown Afghan national flag.

"Today, the city of Khost was closed by the Taliban security forces, and all movement was prohibited. They [the Taliban] claimed that the purpose of the curfew was to prevent riots in the city that could lead to looting," the source said.

The Taliban offensive across Afghanistan was completed on 15 August by the seizure of Kabul. President Ashraf Ghani left the country. The movement declared the end of the years-long war.

11:36 GMT 19.08.2021
Does US President Think the Taliban is Different Now?
A screen displays U.S. President Joe Biden's remarks on the crisis in Afghanistan at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square in New York City, U.S., August 16, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Biden Says He Doesn't Believe Taliban Have Changed, Maintains Troop Pullout the Correct Thing to Do
11:33 GMT 19.08.2021
White House: US Evacuated Nearly 6,000 People From Kabul Since 14 August

The United States evacuated nearly 6,000 people from Kabul since August 14, approximately 1,800 people were evacuated since Wednesday night, a White House official said.

"Since last night’s update, the US military evacuated approximately 1,800 individuals on 10 C-17s. Since August 14, we have evacuated nearly 6,000 people," the official said.

10:51 GMT 19.08.2021
UK, Australian Foreign Ministers Discuss Afghanistan Evacuations

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Thursday discussed the recent developments in Afghanistan with the emphasis on evacuation with his Australian counterpart, Marise Payne.

10:44 GMT 19.08.2021
Taliban Defies UN Security Council, Declares Creation of an 'Islamic Emirate' in Afghanistan

Taliban on Wednesday declared that Afghanistan would be ruled as an "Islamic Emirate", thus directly challenging the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) which on 4 August stated that it didn't support the "restoration" of an Islamic Emirate.

Wednesday's announcement was made by Taliban's spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid, tipped to be the next information minister of Afghanistan.

The 15-member UNSC, currently chaired by India, called upon "both the Islamic Republic and the Taliban to engage meaningfully in an inclusive, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process in order to make urgent progress towards a political settlement and a ceasefire".

10:39 GMT 19.08.2021
German Business in Talks About Rescuing Afghan Staff From Kabul

The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce is in talks with the Foreign Office about rescuing Afghan staff of German firms from Kabul, the group's foreign trade chief said on Thursday.

"Their number is not that big. But they remain there. We are trying to get these people out with the help of the Foreign Office's crisis center," Volker Treier told reporters in Berlin.

He said the association was not aware of any German companies with German employees operating in Afghanistan, "but there are Afghan nationals employed by German companies who are still in the country."

Treier said that trade between Germany and Afghanistan hit a relatively low ceiling of 70 million euros ($82 million) last year. Germany exported cars and car parts, machine industry products, equipment and food to the Central Asian nation.

10:37 GMT 19.08.2021
Evacuation Flights From Kabul Continue
A member of Taliban forces inspects the area outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 16, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
View of Kabul Airport as Evacuations Continue Following Taliban's Success in Afghanistan
10:36 GMT 19.08.2021
Three People Killed After Taliban Opens Fire at Car With Afghan Flags in Kunar Province, Report Says

Three people got killed after the Taliban (banned in Russia) members shelled a car covered in national Afghan flags in the Kunar province on Thursday, a source said.

The incident occurred in Asadabad, the provincial capital.

10:36 GMT 19.08.2021
Four People Reportedly Dead After Taliban Opens Fire to Disperse Crowd During Independence Day Celebration in Jalalabad

At least four people were killed when the Taliban (banned as a terrorist group in Russia) opened fire to disperse a crowd at the celebrations of the Afghan Independence Day in Jalalabad, the capital of the eastern Nangarhar province, on Thursday, a source said.

Three more people were seized hostage.

10:12 GMT 19.08.2021
US Bears Primary Responsibility for Situation in Afghanistan, Bavarian Minister President Says

The US holds primary responsibility for the current security situation in Afghanistan, Bavarian Minister-President Markus Soder said on Thursday.

"Germany will provide assistance but not on its own. That is why international cooperation is of utmost importance for us. This cooperation should be championed by the Americans. The US holds primary responsibility for the current situation. Due to their decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, they hold primary responsibility," Soder said at a press conference.

10:10 GMT 19.08.2021
German Military Jet Airlifts 211 People Out of Kabul

A German military transport jet pulled 211 Germans and Afghan support staff out of Kabul in the early hours of Thursday, the German armed forces said.

"At 03:07 CEST [01:07 GMT] the A400M of the German Joint Forces Operations Command with 211 evacuees on board landed in Tashkent. More jets will fly evacuation missions from Kabul during the day," Bundeswehr tweeted.

It estimated that 901 Germans, Afghans and citizens of a dozen partner countries were evacuated from war-torn Afghanistan to neighbouring Uzbekistan by military jets since Monday. The Foreign Office said 69 Germans were whisked away overnight by a Dutch rescue flight.

The German military said its mandate for Kabul deployment expires on September 30. Up to 600 troops will be stationed in the Afghan capital to guarantee a safe return of Germans and their allies as well as Afghans who helped them on the ground.

10:08 GMT 19.08.2021
Taliban Not Yet in Control of Whole Territory of Afghanistan, Russian FM Says
П/к запрещенного в РФ движения Талибан / Ситуация в Афганистане после смены власти - Sputnik International, 1920
Lavrov: Russia Calls for Nationwide Dialogue in Afghanistan Involving All Political Actors
09:34 GMT 19.08.2021
Lawmakers Share Their Forecast on Influx of Afghan Refugees to EU
Migrants block the entrance of the Hellinikon camp in Athens in protest at poor living conditions on February 6, 2017 - Sputnik International, 1920
Up to Million Afghans May Seek Refuge in Europe After Taliban Take Reins, EU Lawmakers Say
09:32 GMT 19.08.2021
Borrell: EU Seeks to Evacuate Afghans But Unable to Take in All Those Qualified

The European Union seeks to evacuate the Afghan nationals, who assisted the EU missions in Afghanistan, but it is unable to take all of them, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said on Thursday.

Over 400 Afghan citizens, who worked with the European armed forces in Afghanistan, are already in Europe, while 300 more are struggling to get to the airport, but the EU does not have the capacity to accept all the refugees, the politician added.

On Sunday, the Taliban completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled abroad. The seizure of power resulted in thousands of Afghans trying to escape the country for fear of reprisals from the militants.

08:10 GMT 19.08.2021
Several Killed in Taliban Shooting, Stampede at Independence Day Rally in Asadabad, Reports Say

Several people were killed in gunfire by the Taliban and stampede at a rally celebrating the Independence Day in Afghanistan's eastern city of Asadabad, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing a witness.

Witness Mohammed Salim told the news agency that the Taliban fired on people waving the national flag at the rally and it is unclear whether casualties actually came from the firing or from the consequent stampede.

07:40 GMT 19.08.2021
Borrell: EU Should Not Allow Russia and China Take Control of Situation in Afghanistan
07:20 GMT 19.08.2021
Taliban to Free Political Detainees From Afghan Prisons

The leader of the Taliban, Hibatullah Akhundzada, has ordered the release of political detainees from all Afghan prisons, a spokesman for the movement, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said on Thursday.

"The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Emirate ... Hibatullah Akhundzada ordered the release of political prisoners from all jails. The provincial governors will unconditionally release all political prisoners of low and high ranks from the country's prisons and will hand them over to their families tomorrow," Ahmadi tweeted.

The Taliban militants entered the Afghan capital on August 15, ending a weeks-long offensive and resulting in the collapse of the US-backed government. The seizure of power has forced thousands of Afghans to seek escape from the country for fear of reprisals from the militants.

07:19 GMT 19.08.2021
France Has No Political Contacts With Taliban, Diplomat Says

France is not engaged in any political contacts with the Taliban and there will be no condescension and connivance to the radical movement, Secretary of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune said on Thursday.

"It must be said clearly that there are no political contacts and there will be no condescension and connivance towards the Taliban. There is no soft 'Talibanism'," Beaune said on air of France Info radio station.

07:09 GMT 19.08.2021
The Taliban’s Unity Gave Them Afghanistan, But Where Will They Find International Recognition?
A member of Taliban (C) stands outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 16 - Sputnik International, 1920
The Taliban’s Unity Gave Them Afghanistan, But Will They Manage to Get International Recognition?
06:53 GMT 19.08.2021
UK Defence Secretary: 'The West's Resolve is Now Perceived as Weak' After Afghanistan Exit
Marines assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) await a flight to Kabul Afghanistan, at Al Udeied Air Base, Qatar Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
UK Defence Secretary: 'The West's Resolve is Now Perceived as Weak' After Afghanistan Exit
06:29 GMT 19.08.2021
Turkmenistan Providing Airspace to Planes Evacuating People From Afghanistan

Turkmenistan has provided its airspace to planes evacuating foreign citizens from Afghanistan, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.

"As it is known, a number of countries have begun evacuating citizens from Afghanistan. Therefore, Turkmenistan, which fulfills its international obligations, including those arising from international humanitarian law norms, provides its airspace for the transportation of the above-mentioned category of persons by foreign states' aircraft," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan said in a statement.

06:28 GMT 19.08.2021
Afghan Embassy in Uzbekistan Not Maintaining Contact With Taliban

The Afghan embassy in Uzbekistan does not maintain contacts with the Taliban and keeps operating in a regular mode, an embassy staffer said on Thursday.

"We are not in contact with the Taliban, the embassy is working as usual," the employee said.

The consular section of the diplomatic mission keeps routinely addressing requests related to visas.

"People come and we receive them from morning till lunchtime, as usual," the diplomatic staffer said.

06:24 GMT 19.08.2021
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace: We Cannot Evacuate Unaccompanied Children From Afghanistan

"We can't just take a minor on their own," Ben Wallace said.

06:10 GMT 19.08.2021
'Rehearsed, Yet Peppered with Mistakes’: Biden Ripped For Afghanistan Interview to Ex-Clinton Aide
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
'Rehearsed, Yet Peppered with Mistakes’: Biden Ripped For Afghanistan Interview to Ex-Clinton Aide
06:09 GMT 19.08.2021
US Turned Afghanistan Into Global Illicit Drug Lab in 20 Yrs, Russia Security Council Head Says

For 20 years, the United States has created a global drug laboratory in Afghanistan, the production of opiates there has grown more than 40-fold, while the development of the Afghan state has been thrown back decades, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said.

“In reality, during the presence of American troops, the number of terrorist acts in Afghanistan has grown significantly," Patrushev said in an interview with the Izvestiya newspaper.

"Instead of fighting drug trafficking, over the two decades of the military-political administration of Afghanistan, the United States has implemented a project to create a drug laboratory on a global scale there. The production of opiates has increased more than 40 times," he said.

According to Patrushev, the West has never been able to train the army, police and security services of Afghanistan.

06:08 GMT 19.08.2021
Lufthansa's Second Plane Delivers About 280 Afghanistan Evacuees From Tashkent to Germany
06:07 GMT 19.08.2021
Twelve People Killed at Kabul Airport Since Sunday, Reports Say

Since Sunday, 12 people died inside and around the Kabul airport, Reuters reported, citing representatives of NATO and the Taliban (banned as a terrorist organization in Russia).

According to the Taliban, the victims were killed either by gunfire or in stampede.

04:53 GMT 19.08.2021
US Troops Will Stay in Afghanistan Past 31 August to Evacuate Americans, Biden Says
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