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August 18, 2021 / 11:01 PM IST

Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis Highlights: NATO to hold emergency meeting on Afghanistan on August 20

Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates: The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan after the US-backed Afghan government collapsed and President Ghani fled the country

Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates: In their first official news conference in Kabul, the Taliban has 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 US-backed Afghan government collapsed and President Ghani fled the country, bringing an
unprecedented end to a two-decade campaign in which the US and its allies had tried to transform the war-ravaged nation. In a Facebook post, Ghani said he had left the country to avoid clashes with the Taliban that would endanger millions of residents of Kabul. He reportedly fled from Kabul with four cars and a helicopter full of cash, Russias state news agency RIA Novosti has reported. Following this, at least seven people, who clung to a US Air Force plane to escape the Taliban rule in Afghanistan, died on August 16 in a melee at the Kabul airport, as hundreds of people scrambled to board flights in a desperate bid to get out of Afghanistan. This included three Afghan nationals, who reportedly fell to death from the sky as they failed in their bid to flee from the country. Meanwhile, the Taliban have agreed to allow "safe passage" from Afghanistan for civilians struggling to join a US-directed airlift from the capital, according to President Joe Biden's national security adviser. Earlier on August 15, the spokesman for the Taliban's political office told Al Jazeera TV that the war in Afghanistan is over and that the type of rule and form of new regime will be clear soon. Speaking on the situation, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that he is 'deeply concerned' about the situation in Afghanistan and urged the Taliban to exercise utmost restraint.
  • August 18, 2021 / 11:01 PM IST

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  • August 18, 2021 / 10:53 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | NATO to hold emergency meeting on Afghanistan on August 20

    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says he will chair an emergency meeting of foreign ministers from the 30-nation military alliance on Friday to discuss developments in Afghanistan. 

    On Tuesday, Stoltenberg blamed a failure of Afghan leadership for the swift collapse of the country's Western-backed armed forces, but he conceded that NATO must also address flaws in its military training program. NATO has been leading international security efforts in Afghanistan since 2003 but wound-up combat operations in 2014 to focus on training the national security forces. NATO helped build up an army some 300,000 strong, but that force withered in the face of the Taliban offensive in just days. (AP)

  • August 18, 2021 / 10:40 PM IST

     Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | UN starts moving some staff out of Afghanistan

    The United Nations said on Wednesday it started moving up to 100 international staff out of Afghanistan to work from Kazakhstan, but stressed it is "committed to staying and delivering in support of the Afghan people in their hour of need."

    "This is a temporary measure intended to enable the UN to keep delivering assistance to the people of Afghanistan with a minimum disruption, while at the same time reducing reducing the risk to U.N. personnel," UN spokesman Stephane Durjarric said.

    The United Nations has about 300 international staff and 3,000 national staff in Afghanistan.


  • August 18, 2021 / 10:02 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | India’s focus is on ensuring security and safe return of Indian nationals still in Afghanistan: Jaishankar

    The focus of Indian government is on ensuring the safety and secure return of Indian nationals still present in Afghanistan, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was reported as saying by news agency PTI.

  • August 18, 2021 / 09:56 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Islamic scholars to decide role of women in Afghanistan, says senior Taliban member

    A senior Taliban leader has said that the role of women in Afghanistan, including their right to work and education and how they should dress, would ultimately be decided by a council of Islamic scholars.

    "Our ulema (scholars) will decide whether girls are allowed to go to school or not," Waheedullah Hashimi, who has access to the group's decision-making, told Reuters. "They will decide whether they should wear hijab, burqa, or only (a) veil plus abaya or something, or not. That is up to them."

    The hijab is usually a scarf covering the head, the burqa is an all-enveloping robe while the abaya is a robe that leaves the face uncovered.


  • August 18, 2021 / 09:35 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Hold-out Panjshir province can resist Taliban rule, says Afghan envoy in Tajikistan

    The Afghan ambassador to Tajikistan on Wednesday rejected Taliban rule of his country and said hold-out Panjshir province, north of Kabul, would serve as a stronghold for resistance led by self-proclaimed acting president Amrullah Saleh. Afghan First Vice-President Saleh said on Tuesday he was the "legitimate caretaker president" of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country as Taliban insurgents took the capital Kabul. Saleh's whereabouts were unknown.

    Panjshir was the home of the Northern Alliance anti-Taliban resistance in the 1990s and is still a hold-out province against Taliban rule. Lieutenant General Zahir Aghbar, who held senior positions in Afghan state security including chief of police before becoming ambassador, said Ghani was a traitor.

    "I cannot say that the Taliban have won the war. No, it was just Dr Ashraf Ghani who gave up power after treacherous talks with the Taliban," he told Reuters in an interview. The militants were able to overrun most of the country because the Afghan military was poorly trained, Aghbar said.

    "And only Panjshir resists, led by Vice President Amrullah Saleh," he said. "Panjshir stands strong against anyone who wants to enslave people."


  • August 18, 2021 / 09:14 PM IST

     Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Council may rule Afghanistan, Haibatullah Akhundzada likely to remain incharge of Taliban: Report

    Afghanistan may be governed by a ruling council now that the Taliban has taken over, while the Islamist militant movement's supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, would likely remain in overall charge, a senior member of the group told Reuters.

    The Taliban would also reach out to former pilots and soldiers from the Afghan armed forces to join its ranks, Waheedullah Hashimi, who has access to the group's decision-making, added in an interview.


  • August 18, 2021 / 08:40 PM IST

    Afghans willing to die for their flag, identity despite Taliban threat: Pakistan's PTM leader Mohsin Dawar## Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Afghans willing to die for their flag, identity despite Taliban threat: Pakistan's PTM leader Mohsin Dawar

    Mohsin Dawar, a Pakistani lawmaker and leader of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), said Afghans are willing to die for their flag and identity despite the Taliban onslaught. He shared a clip showing locals in Khost protesting against Taliban, which has been putting its flag at public places in place of the Afghan national flag.

  • August 18, 2021 / 08:21 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Taliban are supporting UK evacuation plans: British ambassador in Kabul

    Britain is working with the Taliban in Kabul on a "tactical, practical level" to evacuate citizens and eligible Afghans, Britain's ambassador to Afghanistan said on Wednesday, adding the evacuation programme would last days, not weeks. Western nations are scrambling to get diplomats, civilians and eligible Afghans out of Kabul as the Taliban makes first efforts to set up a government after their lightning sweep into the capital.

    "It is interesting the Taliban have chosen to support this operation," ambassador Laurie Bristow told reporters in a television clip filmed from Kabul. "My assessment is that they see it as in their interests to help it to happen in an orderly and clear way. And, obviously, it's in our interests to see it that way, so we're working with them where we need to at a tactical practical level."

    Asked how long he expected the evacuation effort to last, he said: "We're working on the basis of days, not weeks".


  • August 18, 2021 / 08:01 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Congress asks PM Modi what he has done to protect India's interests after Taliban takeover of Afghanistan

    The Congress on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tell the nation what he has done to protect the interests of India after the Taliban captured power in Afghanistan. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Taliban is a terrorist organisation which is linked to the Haqqani network in Pakistan, which indulge in anti-India terrorist acts with the help and support of the Pakistan government. (PTI)

  • August 18, 2021 / 07:44 PM IST

    Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates | Prove you have changed, France tells Taliban

    French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian tweeted on Wednesday that he had asked the Taliban to show through their behaviour that they have changed as they say. "It is up to them to prove it," he said. (Reuters)

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