Afghanistan crisis: US focused on potential for terrorist attack by Taliban foes
As the Taliban take control of political affairs in Afghanistan, former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani who had left the country as the militant group entered Kabul last weekend declared that he had placed security in the hands of the country's troops and that the Taliban were looking for him. "They were looking for me. What happened in Afghanistan 25 years ago was going to happen again. That was something that needed to be avoided. A shameful development like that needed to be avoided," Ghani said in a video message. Meanwhile, the US and other nations continued to evacuate their officials from Hamid Karzai international airport with people in Kabul slowly coming out on the streets to start their life under the new regime. The Taliban is also setting up the political landscape in the country as reports claimed senior Taliban members had met former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and top official Abdullah Abdullah. Taliban's co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar returned to Afghanistan landing in the militant organization's spiritual birthplace Khandhar amid efforts to form a new government in the country
As the Taliban take control of political affairs in Afghanistan, former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani who had left the country as the militant group entered Kabul last weekend declared that he had placed security in the hands of the country's troops and that the Taliban were looking for him.
"They were looking for me. What happened in Afghanistan 25 years ago was going to happen again. That was something that needed to be avoided. A shameful development like that needed to be avoided," Ghani said in a video message.
Meanwhile, the US and other nations continued to evacuate their officials from Hamid Karzai international airport with people in Kabul slowly coming out on the streets to start their life under the new regime.
The Taliban is also setting up the political landscape in the country as reports claimed senior Taliban members had met former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and top official Abdullah Abdullah.
Taliban's co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar returned to Afghanistan landing in the militant organization's spiritual birthplace Khandhar amid efforts to form a new government in the country
Update on the Status of Hamid Karzai International Airport:— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 19, 2021
-In the last 24 hours: 2,000 people evacuated
-Since August 14th: 7,000 people evacuated
-Since the end of July: 12,000 evacuated
There are currently 5,200 troops on the ground and the airport is secure and open.
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.
On Thursday, a group of prominent Afghan politicians cautioned that the Taliban would not be able to stay in power for long if they repeated past mistakes.
Russia ready to transport 'any number' of Afghans
Russia has offered to provide its aircraft to fly Afghans willing to leave the country to any nations willing to host them.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday that Moscow would be ready to offer its planes to airlift "any number of Afghan citizens, including women and children to any foreign countries that would be interested in accommodating them."
Zakharova's statement came as thousands of Afghans are desperate to flee the country fearing that the Taliban will reimpose a brutal rule after taking over Kabul on Sunday.
Watch | WION Ground Report: Chaotic scenes outside Kabul airport
There is no justification for any act of terrorism, regardless of motivations. Terrorism can not be and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization, or ethnic group. We should never lack the courage to call out double standards; the ones who extend state hospitality to entities with innocent people's blood on their hands. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Dr S jaishankar at UNSC
#Afghans refugees in #Qatar— Shafi Karimi (@karimi_shafi) August 19, 2021
They placed #Afghans in a hanger with only one shower and one bathroom. Really tough for ladies and children. It's a mess! Feel bad for our people. We deserve it though because we don't have unity and this is the result. You reap what you sow. pic.twitter.com/ZdeM3oRC4W
Twelve people have been killed at Kabul airport since Sunday, the Taliban and NATO both said.
The airport has been the site of desperate scenes as people try to flee Taliban rule.
The Taliban told people who can't legally fly to leave the airport: "We don't want to hurt anyone."
Also read | Afghanistan too big for Pakistan to swallow, says self-proclaimed president Amarullah Saleh
Self-proclaimed president of Afghanistan Amrullah Saleh on Thursday trained his guns at Pakistan and Taliban.
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. https://t.co/nNo84Z7tEf— Amrullah Saleh (@AmrullahSaleh2) August 19, 2021
Also read | Videos of Taliban with US equipment embarrass White House
Taliban has seized huge amounts of weaponry, equipment and ammunition from Afghan armed forces. All of this had been supplied by the USA in last two decades.
Watch | Taliban unleash its wicked face: Open fire, Women and children beaten at Kabul airport
The Taliban have urged people to leave Kabul airport after 12 people were killed there since Sunday. (Reuters Photo)
According to Reuters, at least three people were killed at the protest rally but it is unclear if the deaths were caused by the firing or from the stampede that it triggered.
Gunfire heard in Kabul near Independence Day rally.
Taliban declares formation of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
Days after capturing Kabul, the Taliban announced the formation of the 'Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan' on Thursday.
The proclamation was issued on the 102nd anniversary of the country's declaration of independence from British control.
When the Taliban governed the nation from 1996 and 2001, before being deposed by US-led forces, the term was utilised.
Many out of the thousands Afghan refugees expected to resettle in US' state of Texas: Official
Many among the at least 30,000 Afghan refugees headed to the US to escape the Taliban in Afghanistan are expected to be resettled in different cities in Texas state, the agency for refugee services has said.
An anticipated at least 30,000 Afghans could be resettled in the US in the coming weeks as they desperately flee Taliban control. Many Afghan refugees will be placed in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Austin cities of Texas.
“Afghan nationals and their families, who aided the US military, are in grave danger and are seeking refuge in the US,” Russell Smith, CEO of Refugee Services of Texas (RST) said in a statement.
“So far, 107 families are confirmed to relocate to Austin in the next few weeks. Over the weekend, the Austin office of RST resettled a family of seven, and is gearing up to welcome four additional families this week. We know that this is just the beginning of this wave, and RST stands ready to do our part in this crisis,” Smith said.
On Afghanistan Independence Day, cricketer Rashid Khan tweets this
Afghan cricketer Rashid Khan, who also plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL tournament took to Twitter to post a special message for Afghanistan's Independence Day. Along with three picture, Khan wrote about praying for a peaceful nation.
Today let us take some time to value our nation and never forget the sacrifices. We hope and pray for the peaceful , developed and United nation INSHALLAH #happyindependenceday 🇦🇫🇦🇫 pic.twitter.com/ZbDpFS4e20— Rashid Khan (@rashidkhan_19) August 19, 2021
Reuters news agency said several people were killed on Thursday in the Afghan city of Asadabad when Taliban fighters fired on people waving the national flag at an Independence Day rally.
داکتر عبدالله عبدالله ریس شورای عالی مصالحه ملی و حامد کرزی ریس جمهور پیشین قبل از ظهر پنجشنبه با منصور احمد خان سفیر پاکستان ملاقات کردند.— Hamid Karzai (@KarzaiH) August 19, 2021
در این ملاقات در مورد اوضاع جاری کشور و پروسه سیاسی همه شمول دارای مشروعیت ملی و بینالمللی صحبت بعمل آمد. pic.twitter.com/GxBNr4VLiM
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the Supreme National Reconciliation Council, and former president Hamid Karzai met Pakistan's ambassador Mansour Ahmad Khan on Thursday.
The current situation in the country and the inclusive political process with national and international legitimacy were discussed at the meeting, Karzai said in his tweet.
News wire Reuters quoting a Taliban official said people who do not have the legal right to travel should go back home.
HE Dr Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of HCNR @SapedarPalace, yesterday evening at his residence met Mr Khalil Al-Rahman Haqqani & his accompanying delegation of Taliban in Kabul.— Dr. Abdullah Abdullah (@DrabdullahCE) August 19, 2021
HE @KarzaiH, Mr Fazal Hadi Muslimyar & several other elders & personalties attend the meeting. 1/5 pic.twitter.com/3emd3QGM2j
Reports say the Taliban has asked crowds gathered at the airport for the past few days to go back home asserting that they don't want to hurt anyone.
Evacuees from Kabul sit inside an aircraft upon arrival in Tashkent, Uzbekistan during a military evacuation operation to fly out German nationals, local workers and other people.
Taliban spokesperson Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada has ordered the release of political detainees from all Afghan prisons.
Pakistan's foreign minister stated that he had spoken to leaders from China, the United States and the United Kingdom on the Afghan crisis.
The foreign minister said he would be travelling to Iran, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to discuss the Afghan situation with the leaders of various countries.
“We want that there should be peace in Afghanistan, bazaars should remain open there and Afghanistan should move towards a normal life,” Qureshi said.
Taliban declare Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on 102nd anniversary of country's independence from British rule.
Afghans leave from Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul
Taliban leaders have in recent days repeatedly vowed not to seek revenge against their opponents, while seeking to project an image of tolerance.
The United States had said earlier that the Taliban were reneging on pledges to allow Afghans who worked with the United States and its allies out of the country.
"We have seen reports that the Taliban, contrary to their public statements and their commitments to our government, are blocking Afghans who wish to leave the country from reaching the airport," Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said.
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan conceded that "fair amount" of US equipment had fallen into the hands of the Taliban after videos emerged of Taliban fighters parading US-made armored vehicles on social media.
"We don't have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defense materials has gone. But certainly, a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban," White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said.
The Taliban had declared on Tuesday that they would honour women's rights, although they had added that it should be within the norms of Islamic law.
Suhail Shaheen, Taliban's spokesperson in Doha's political office had said that women "can get education from primary to higher education -- that means university. We have announced this policy at international conferences, the Moscow conference and here at the Doha conference (on Afghanistan)."
Uploaded on Twitter by author David Patrikarakos, the video shows a female journalist, asking few Taliban members if they would be willing to accept democratic governance that voted in female politicians.
Under the militants' hardline 1996-2001 rule, girls' schools were closed, women were prevented from travelling and working, and women were forced to wear an all-covering burqa in public.
On the chaos witnessed since Monday amid the pullout, the US President speaking to a US network said: "We're gonna go back in hindsight and look -- but the idea that somehow, there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don't know how that happens. I don't know how that happened."
Biden conceded that America is experiencing "more difficulty" in getting those people who helped the country during the operations.
"They're cooperating, letting American citizens get out, American personnel get out, embassies get out. We're having some more difficulty having those who helped us when we were in there," the US president said.
As US troops continued to pullout from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden said US troops won't leave any Americans behind even if it means staying in Taliban-controlled Kabul for longer than agreed.
"They're cooperating, letting American citizens get out, American personnel get out, embassies get out," the US president said.
On the chaos that ensured on Monday as US officials reached Hamid Karzai international airport to head to the US, the president said: "The idea that somehow, there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing -- I don't know how that happens."
SITE monitoring group said on Wednesday that senior Taliban members met former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and top official Abdullah Abdullah.
Abdullah had led the government's peace council during failed talks between the warring sides in Qatar.
Former Defence Minister of Afghanistan Bismillah Khan Mohammadi demanded that President Ashraf Ghani, who abdicated and departed Afghanistan, be arrested for "selling away the homeland."
The Taliban took over Afghanistan with astonishing speed, but it appears unlikely that the militants will get quick access to most of the Afghan central bank’s roughly $10 billion in assets.
Ghani, who is currently in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 'humanitarian grounds,' had left the nation shortly after surrendering to the Taliban as the Taliban advanced on Kabul, the capital city, to 'avoid more carnage.'
In a video message delivered in Pashto, Ghani stated that he had placed security in the hands of the country's troops and that the Taliban were looking for him.