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August 20, 2021 / 11:01 PM IST

Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis Highlights: Jaishankar holds talks on Afghanistan with Qatari counterpart in Doha

Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis Highlights: UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Twitter that another 10 Foreign Office and Home Office staff had been sent to Afghanistan to help with the evacuation efforts.

Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis Highlights: US troops may stay in Afghanistan past an August 31 deadline to evacuate Americans, US President Joe Biden said. He said it would have been impossible to leave Afghanistan "without chaos ensuing". In a Facebook post, President Ashraf Ghani said he had left the country to avoid clashes with the Taliban that would endanger millions of residents
of Kabul. In their first official news conference in Kabul on Wednesday, the Taliban promised to respect the rights of women, seek good relations with other countries and not to extract retribution on former members of the Afghan military. The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan after the Afghan government collapsed and Ghani fled the country, bringing an end to a two-decade campaign in which the US and its allies had tried to transform the war-ravaged nation.
  • August 20, 2021 / 10:58 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Jaishankar holds talks on Afghanistan with Qatari counterpart in Doha

    External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on August 20 held talks with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on the situation in Afghanistan as he made a stopover in Doha on his way back from the US. Qatar's capital Doha has been the venue for the intra-Afghan peace talks and the Gulf country has emerged as a crucial player in facilitating the Afghan peace process.

    "Met Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani @MBA_AlThani_DPM & FM Qatar during my stop over in Doha. Had useful exchange of views on Afghanistan," Jaishankar tweeted.

    Earlier this month, Qatari special envoy for conflict resolution Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani visited India.

  • August 20, 2021 / 10:27 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Facing backlash over chaos, foreign powers try to speed Afghanistan exodus

    Foreign powers sought to hasten evacuations from Afghanistan on Friday after reports of Taliban reprisals, including against people who had worked with U.S.-led forces or the previous Western-backed government.

    More than 18,000 people have been flown out since the militants took the capital Kabul, according to transatlantic alliance NATO, but Western governments are facing criticism for not anticipating such a chaotic exodus or helping enough.

    Thousands of desperate Afghans clutching papers, children, and some belongings still thronged Kabul airport where gun-toting Taliban members urged those without travel documents to go home. In and around the airport https://tmsnrt.rs/3stVpcj, 12 people have been killed since Sunday, NATO and Taliban officials said.

    Such was the turmoil that no nation really knows which plane its citizens are on, while some people were caught in Afghanistan on family visits, a Dutch minister said.

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  • August 20, 2021 / 10:08 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Uzbekistan sends 150 Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan: TASS

    Uzbekistan's foreign ministry has sent 150 Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan as per an agreement with the Taliban, Russian news agency TASS reported on August 20 citing the ministry. The refugees had been given security guarantees, the ministry was quoted as saying.

  • August 20, 2021 / 09:42 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Gulf Arabs jittery about Taliban takeover but may seek pragmatic ties

    Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, among the few who recognised the Taliban’s radical 1996-2001 rule in Afghanistan, will likely take a pragmatic approach to its return to power despite fears it could embolden militant Islam abroad.

    Foreign diplomats and analysts said while Taliban ideology clashed with the Saudi-UAE campaign against militancy and with Riyadh's recent relaxation of Islamic strictures, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi would adapt to realities after the Taliban’s shockingly swift reconquest of Afghanistan as the United States-led forces withdrew.

    Gulf powers severed ties with the Taliban in September 2001 for “harbouring terrorists” after airplanes hijacked by al Qaeda militants, mostly Saudi nationals, crashed into New York’s World Trade Center and Washington's Pentagon, killing thousands.

  • August 20, 2021 / 09:22 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Taliban took Afghanistan but face cash squeeze

    The Taliban face a frontal challenge in cementing control of Afghanistan: Money.

    Despite their dominant military blitz over the past week, the Taliban lack access to billions of dollars from their central bank and the International Monetary Fund that would keep the country running during a turbulent shakeup. Those funds are largely controlled by the United States and international institutions, a possible leverage point as tense evacuations proceed from the airport in the capital of Kabul. Tens of thousands of people remain to be evacuated ahead of the United States August 31 deadline to withdraw its troops from the country.

    But the Taliban also do not currently have institutional structures to receive the money a sign of the challenges it might confront as it tries to govern an economy that has urbanized and tripled in size since they were last in power two decades ago. The shortfall could lead to an economic crisis that would only fuel a deeper humanitarian one for the roughly 36 million Afghans expected to stay in the country.

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  • August 20, 2021 / 08:49 PM IST

     Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Resistance to Taliban is doomed, says Russian envoy to Afghanistan

    Russia's ambassador to Afghanistan praised the conduct of the Taliban on Friday in the days since its takeover, saying there was no alternative to the hardline Islamist group and resistance to it would fail. The comments by Ambassador Dmitry Zhirnov reflect efforts by Russia to deepen already well-established ties with the Taliban while stopping short, for now, of recognising them as the legitimate rulers of a country Moscow tried and failed to control before the Soviet Union withdrew its last forces in 1989.

    Russia wants to ensure that the instability in Afghanistan does not spill over into Central Asia, part of the former Soviet Union it regards as its own backyard, and that the region does not become a launch pad for other extreme Islamist groups.

    Speaking to Reuters from Kabul by Zoom, Zhirnov said the security situation in the capital was much better than it was before the Taliban took control of it and spoke optimistically about the future. "The mood in Kabul can be described as one of cautious hope," said Zhirnov. "There was a bad regime which disappeared and people are hopeful. They say it can’t be worse so it should be better. But this is another test for the Taliban to pass. After they restore order, they should start improving the socio-economic situation," he said.

    Reuters

  • August 20, 2021 / 08:16 PM IST

     Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | NATO urges Taliban to allow evacuations, vows 'close' allied coordination

    NATO on Friday called on the Taliban to allow people being evacuated to leave Afghanistan, and vowed that the allies would remain in "close coordination" while operations continue.

    The joint declaration by NATO's 30 member countries was made following an emergency videolink conference of their foreign ministers to discuss evacuation efforts and the next steps to take. (AFP)

  • August 20, 2021 / 07:42 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Poland to airlift 300 Afghans with links to NATO

    Poland's prime minister says his government has taken on the responsibility as a NATO member to organise the evacuation of some 300 Afghans who have cooperated with the military alliance. Mateusz Morawiecki said Friday on Facebook that following his talks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Poland will be evacuating from Kabul 300 Afghans who in recent years cooperated with NATO. He did not elaborate what that cooperation entailed. Mateusz Morawiecki said Friday on Facebook that following his talks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Poland will be evacuating from Kabul 300 Afghans who in recent years cooperated with NATO. He did not elaborate what that cooperation entailed.

    They will be brought to Poland and then on to other NATO countries, which Morawiecki did not name. Morawiecki said that Poland is taking seriously its obligations within the alliance and that the evacuation was not the last word from Poland in the NATO response to the crisis in Afghanistan. Poland has been a NATO member since 1999. Morawiecki said that Poland is taking seriously its obligations within the alliance and that the evacuation was not the last word from Poland in the NATO response to the crisis in Afghanistan. Poland has been a NATO member since 1999.

    AP

  • August 20, 2021 / 07:29 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Britain's embattled foreign minister has defended his decision not to call while on vacation his Afghan counterpart about the evacuation of translators who had helped British forces. Dominic Raab has come under increasing pressure to resign for failing to follow the advice of officials in his department to make a call to Hanif Atmar on Aug. 13, while he was vacationing on the Greek island of Crete.

    Two days later, the Taliban took over Afghanistan, 20 years after they had been ousted from power, and Raab headed back to the U.K. after cutting his vacation short to deal with the crisis. Raab on Friday posted a statement on Twitter to counter what he described as inaccurate media reporting over recent days. He said he prioritised security at Kabul airport and delegated the call to a junior minister in his department. 

    AP

  • August 20, 2021 / 07:05 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Taliban said to be waiting until after Aug 31 to make any announcement

    An Afghan official familiar with talks with the Taliban says the group does not plan to make any decisions or announcements about the upcoming government until after the August 31 US withdrawal date passes. The official, who is not authorised to give information to the media and thus spoke anonymously, says Taliban lead negotiator Anas Haqqani has told his ex-government interlocutors that the insurgent movement has a deal with the US to do nothing until after the final withdrawal date passes.

    He did not elaborate on whether the reference to doing nothing was only in the political field. Haqqani's statement raises concerns about what the religious movement might be planning after August 31, and whether they will keep their promise to include non-Taliban officials in the next government. Until now the Taliban have said nothing of their plans to replace the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, or what a replacement would look like.

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  • August 20, 2021 / 06:38 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Friday prayers quiet in Kabul, Taliban unseen

    Friday prayers were uneventful in the Afghan capital, with no Taliban gunmen seen guarding the entrances of mosques or enforcing dress code restrictions as they have in the past. Some mosques even saw higher numbers than normal in attendance. The Islamic-fundamentalist Taliban issued guidance to imams around Afghanistan on Thursday, saying they should use the weekly sermons and prayers to appeal for unity, urge people not to flee the country, and to counter negative propaganda about them.

    The benefits of state should be explained to all, a commission of Taliban monitoring religious affairs and mosques said in the guidance they circulated. Kabul resident Jawed Safi was pleased to see the mosques secure. The Afghan government had previously posted guards at mosques to ward off attackers due to frequent bombings in the past.

  • August 20, 2021 / 06:17 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Open community halls, schools for people coming from Afghanistan: BJP councillor to SDMC

    BJP councillor and South Delhi Municipal Corporation's (SDMC) central zone chairman has urged the civic body to open its community halls and schools for people coming from Afghanistan following the political turmoil in the country. Rajpal Singh, chairman of SDMC's central zone, in a letter to civic body's commissioner Gyanesh Bharti said many individuals and families, including Hindus and Sikhs, are coming to India from Afghanistan after a crisis like situation there.

    Singh said a sizeable number of Afghans live in areas like Lajpat Nagar, Amar Colony, and Bhogal and they have businesses here. After the political crisis in Afghanistan, many relatives of those Afghans living here are likely to come to the city.

    They (Afghans living in Delhi) do not have arrangements to accommodate a large number of people, so I have requested the SDMC commissioner to make arrangements for their stay and food in our community halls. The commissioner has assured me of full cooperation, Singh told After the political crisis in Afghanistan, many relatives of those Afghans living here are likely to come to the city.

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