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Afghanistan crisis: Taliban revenge fears grow, desperation rises among citizens for evacuation

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Aug 20, 2021, 11:56 PM IST

Afghan people gather along a road as they wait to board a U S military aircraft to leave the country, at a military airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021 days after Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan. Photograph:(AFP)

Story highlights

WION coverage of Afghanistan security situation after the Taliban takeover continues.

This is the latest: 

  • The Taliban has called for unity ahead of Friday prayers, the first since seizing control, and asked imams to persuade people not to flee Afghanistan amid airport chaos, protests, and allegations of bloodshed.
  • Protests took place in several regions across Afghanistan, with Afghans going to the streets waving the country's national flag, which has been outlawed since the Taliban gained control of Kabul. 
  • The Taliban have stated that next government will decide on the national flag. 
  • In the meanwhile, the Royal Air Force has evacuated 963 individuals from Kabul in the last 24 hours.
  • The United Nations has issued a warning that the Taliban has intensified its search for anyone who cooperated alongside NATO forces. 

Stay with WION for the latest developments:

20 Aug 2021, 11:55 PM (IST)

According to the Pentagon, 22,000 Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) candidates would be transferred to the United States and accommodated at three military sites.

Officials have recognised, however, that this amount may climb, and relief organisations and some politicians have called for it to be significantly raised. 

20 Aug 2021, 11:52 PM (IST)



Kabul evacuation among 'most difficult' in history:' Biden

President Joe Biden said Friday he could not guarantee the final outcome of the emergency evacuation from Kabul's airport, calling it one of the most "difficult" airlift operations ever.

"This is one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history," Biden said in a televised address from the White House. "I cannot promise what the final outcome will be."

The president said US forces have airlifted 13,000 people out of Afghanistan since August 14, and 18,000 since July, with thousands more evacuated on private charter flights "facilitated by the US government."

20 Aug 2021, 10:00 PM (IST)

Watch | NATO ministers meet on Afghanistan situation, Secretary General briefs media

20 Aug 2021, 9:50 PM (IST)

Watch | Afghan karate champion fears it is game over for female athletes

20 Aug 2021, 6:56 PM (IST)

New US Embassy Kabul alert to US citizens:

US government-provided flights are departing Kabul and will continue until the evacuation operation is complete.  US citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and their spouses and unmarried children (under age 21) should consider travelling to Hamid Karzai International Airport when you judge it is safe to do so.  The US government cannot ensure safe passage to the airport.

20 Aug 2021, 6:34 PM (IST)

US diplomats sent cable in mid-July warning of potential swift Taliban takeover, says WSJ report

About two dozen US diplomats in Afghanistan sent an internal cable last month warning Secretary of State Antony Blinken of the potential fall of Kabul to the Taliban as US troops withdrew from the country, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The newspaper said the confidential cable sent through a so-called dissent channel was signed on July 13 and offered recommendations on ways to mitigate the crisis and accelerate an evacuation. US officials declined to confirm specific details or share the contents of the cable.

20 Aug 2021, 6:08 PM (IST)

Also read | Muscles sliced off, strangled with scarf: Nine men of the Hazara minority killed by Taliban

Three of the nine guys were tortured to death, according to eyewitnesses, including one who was strangled with a scarf and had his muscles cut off.

According to eyewitnesses, Taliban terrorists broke a 45-year-old man's wrists and legs, shot him, and ripped his hair out. 

20 Aug 2021, 5:17 PM (IST)

Vatican urges world to welcome Afghan refugees

The Vatican’s newspaper is calling on the international community to welcome Afghan civilians fleeing the Taliban. According to AP, in a front-page article in the Friday edition of L’Osservatore Romano, deputy editor Gaetano Vallini said the West was obliged to urgently remedy the situation with concrete action and welcome refugees to avoid a “catastrophic humanitarian emergency.”

20 Aug 2021, 4:49 PM (IST)

Watch | Afghanistan Turmoil: Survivors of Kabul exodus recount details of harrowing couple of days

20 Aug 2021, 3:41 PM (IST)

Watch | Desperation grows among Afghans for evacuation after Taliban's takeover of Kabul

20 Aug 2021, 3:33 PM (IST)

Over 18,000 people evacuated since Taliban takeover, says NATO official

More than 18,000 people have been flown out of Kabul since the Taliban took over Afghanistan’s capital, news agency Reuters reported citing a NATO official on Friday. Thousands of people, desperate to flee the country, were still thronging the airport, the official who declined to be identified told Reuters, even though the Taliban have urged people without legal travel documents to go home.

20 Aug 2021, 3:16 PM (IST)

US evacuates 3,000 as Taliban revenge fears grow

According to a White House official, the US has evacuated around 3,000 additional personnel from Afghanistan's Kabul airport, increasing the total number of US evacuations to over 9,000 since August 14. 

20 Aug 2021, 2:38 PM (IST)

'Taliban searching door-to-door for those who worked for NATO, US'

If reports are to be believed, the Taliban is conducting door-to-door searches for people who worked with the US and NATO forces. This is happening in spite of the militants vowing no revenge against opponents.

Read the story here

20 Aug 2021, 2:13 PM (IST)

Disturbing and often heartbreaking photos and videos are emerging, purportedly showing the chaotic scenes in Afghanistan as people try to flee the Taliban.

Disclaimer: WION cannot independently verify the authenticity of these visuals


The video below appears to show a desperate mother handing over her child 



In this video, apparently shared by a local, shots can be heard and people crouching in fear


The video below appears to show men in military uniforms shooting in the air and pointing guns towards people as they run around. It is not clear which date it was taken.




20 Aug 2021, 2:00 PM (IST)

Tributes are pouring in for young Afghan football player Zaki Anwari, who reportedly fell to his death from a departing US plane at Kabul airport on Monday. Anwari was a member of the national youth football team. He was only 19.






20 Aug 2021, 1:51 PM (IST)

The German news organisation DW has reported that a family member of one of its journalists in Afghanistan has been killed. 

"Taliban fighters hunting one of our journalists have shot dead a member of his family and seriously injured another. The militants were conducting a house-to-house search to try and find him, but he is now safe in Germany," DW said in an update.




20 Aug 2021, 1:41 PM (IST)

The special Afghan cell of the ministry of external affairs has been working on a war footing as it receives a number of requests from Indian nationals and Afghans keen to come to India.


Read more in report from our correspondent Siddant Sibal


20 Aug 2021, 1:35 PM (IST)

Videos on social media appear to show Taliban fighters snatching Afghanistan flag from protesters

Courtesy : Ihtesham Afghan




20 Aug 2021, 1:27 PM (IST)

Videos have emerged on social media, appearing to show Taliban snatching Afghanistan flags from protesters

Disclaimer: WION cannot independently verify the authenticity of these visuals

20 Aug 2021, 1:18 PM (IST)


20 Aug 2021, 12:53 PM (IST)

A delegation of senior Afghan leaders has warned that the Taliban will not survive in government for long if it repeats past mistakes.

The leaders of the delegation, which arrived in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad a day after the Taliban took the control of Kabul, made the comments after meeting with Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan and other government and military officials.

The delegation is headed by the speaker of parliament Mir Rehman Rehmani.

Other members included Salahud-din-Rabbani, Mohammad Yunus Qanooni, Ahmad Zia Massoud, Ahmad Wali Massoud and Khalid Noor.

Addressing a press conference, former Afghan ambassador to the UK, Ahmad Wali Massoud said the priority was to stop the Taliban from retaking further areas in Afghanistan.

Massoud added the government in Afghanistan can only succeed if it is "based on the sharing of the power".

Khalid Noor, son of prominent warlord Atta Noor, said the Taliban could only offer "words" and the world would have to "wait to see if they have changed."

20 Aug 2021, 12:49 PM (IST)

Netizens are slamming sick new T-shirts mocking Afghan refugees who plummeted to their deaths from US jets that are being sold online.

The tasteless T-shirts being online for £12, feature the slogan 'Kabul Skydiving Club, Est 2021' next to silhouettes of C-17 plane and falling stowaways.

(Read more)

20 Aug 2021, 12:49 PM (IST)


20 Aug 2021, 12:46 PM (IST)

The Taliban is intensifying a search for people who worked with the US and NATO forces, a confidential United Nations document says, despite the militants vowing no revenge against opponents.

The report, provided by the UN's threat-assessment consultants and seen by AFP - says the group has "priority lists" of individuals it wants to arrest.

20 Aug 2021, 12:45 PM (IST)


20 Aug 2021, 11:41 AM (IST)

More than 18,000 people have been flown out of Kabul since the Taliban took over Afghanistan's capital, a NATO official said on Friday, pledging to redouble evacuation efforts as criticism of the West's handling of the crisis mounted.

20 Aug 2021, 11:38 AM (IST)


20 Aug 2021, 11:29 AM (IST)


20 Aug 2021, 11:13 AM (IST)

Just as US forces struggle with the desperate evacuation from Afghanistan, Vice President Kamala Harris embarks Friday on a trip to Vietnam, site of perhaps an even more infamous American military debacle.

20 Aug 2021, 10:37 AM (IST)


20 Aug 2021, 10:02 AM (IST)


20 Aug 2021, 9:54 (IST)


20 Aug 2021, 9:03 (IST)

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn said this week they had moved to secure the accounts of Afghan citizens to protect them against being targeted amid the Taliban's swift takeover of the country.

Human rights groups have voiced concerns that the Taliban could use online platforms to track Afghans' digital histories or social connections. Amnesty International said this week that thousands of Afghans, including academics, journalists and human rights defenders, were at serious risk of Taliban reprisals.

20 Aug 2021, 8:30 (IST)


20 Aug 2021, 8:26 (IST)


20 Aug 2021, 8:24 (IST)

UN humanitarians have said that the relief crisis in Afghanistan is deteriorating rapidly, with 12.2 million people acutely food insecure.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said 735,000 people returned to the country this year from Iran, Pakistan and other countries and are in urgent need of humanitarian aid.

"Humanitarian needs are expected to deteriorate further in the second half of the year due to drought. Some 12.2 million people are already acutely food insecure and the majority of those will be further affected by drought," it added.

20 Aug 2021, 8:00 (IST)

G7 foreign ministers urged the international community on Thursday to unite in its response to the crisis in Afghanistan to prevent it from escalating, British foreign minister Dominic Raab said in a statement.

20 Aug 2021, 7:55 (IST)

Kurt Campbell, the White House's top Asia adviser, declared last month that a historic change in US foreign policy was afoot, one that would shift US focus away from the Middle East to Asia, where China's growing might has cast shadows over Washington's allies.

"It will be painful, in all likelihood. We'll see some real challenges in places like Afghanistan," Campbell told an Asia Society webinar, a blunt assessment of what since has come to pass as the Taliban's swift takeover of the country has sparked a humanitarian crisis.

20 Aug 2021, 7:34 (IST)

The UN cultural agency has called for the preservation of Afghanistan`s cultural heritage in its diversity and in full respect of international law.

This statement comes a few days after the Taliban blew up slain Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari`s statue in Bamiyan, a grim reminder of the destruction of Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001.

"Afghanistan is home to a wide range of rich and diverse heritage, which is an integral part of Afghan history and identity, as well as of importance for humanity as a whole, that must be safeguarded," the UNESCO statement said.

This includes sites such as the Old City of Herat, the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam and the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley, as well as museums like the National Museum in Kabul. 

20 Aug 2021, 7:33 (IST)


20 Aug 2021, 7:27 (IST)

The Taliban called on Afghanistan's imams to urge unity when they hold their first Friday prayers since the Islamist group seized control of the country, as protests against the takeover spread to more cities on Thursday, including the capital, Kabul.

Several people were killed when Taliban militants fired on a crowd in the eastern city of Asadabad, a witness said. Another witness reported gunshots near a rally in Kabul, but they appeared to be Taliban firing into the air.

20 Aug 2021, 7:27 (IST)
20 Aug 2021, 7:26 (IST)


20 Aug 2021, 7:25 (IST)

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan has said the US government is "laser focused" on the potential for a terrorist attack in Afghanistan by a group like ISIS-K, a sworn enemy of the Taliban.