Afghan war live updates as Taliban take control of Kabul

Afghan war live updates as Taliban take control of Kabul

The Taliban are in control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and conceded the insurgents have won the 20-year war.

  • Tuesday Aug 17 2021 | 09:13 PM

    Pakistan welcomes 'peaceful transfer of power in Afghanistan': Fawad Chaudhry

    By: Web Desk

    The "peaceful" transfer of power in Afghanistan is a welcome sign, Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said Tuesday, days after the Taliban took over the country and ousted President Ashraf Ghani.

    Fawad — during a post-cabinet press briefing in Islamabad — said Pakistan was in contact with allied countries on the evolving situation in Afghanistan as Islamabad plays its role for lasting peace in Kabul.

    "Pakistan will not take an isolated decision of accepting the Taliban government [...] we are in contact with other countries and will make a decision in line with the world powers," he said.

    Read complete story here.

  • Tuesday Aug 17 2021 | 09:13 PM

    'Great responsibility' rests on Afghan leadership in current situation: PM Imran Khan

    By: Web Desk

    ISLAMABAD: "Great responsibility" rests on the Afghan leaders to work constructively together to lead Afghanistan on the path of sustainable peace, stability, and development, Prime Minister Imran Khan said Tuesday after the Taliban took over the country in a 10-day lightning offensive.

    The premier's comments came during a meeting with a delegation of political leaders from Afghanistan, a statement from the Prime Minister's Office said.

    "No other country is more desirous of peace and stability in Afghanistan than Pakistan," the premier told the delegation.

    Read complete story here.

  • Tuesday Aug 17 2021 | 08:21 PM

    Mullah Baradar arrives in Afghanistan

    By: Reuters

    Mullah Baradar, the chief of the Taliban's political office, has arrived in Afghanistan's Kandahar province along with a delegation, the group's spokesperson said in a tweet.

    Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the co-founders of the Taliban, now heads its political office and is part of the negotiating team that the group has in Doha, where talks on a ceasefire had been underway.

  • Tuesday Aug 17 2021 | 06:52 PM

    Video of Taliban supervising evacuation surfaces

    By: Web Desk

    A video appearing to show the Taliban overseeing the evacuation of foreign nationals towards the Kabul airport has surfaced.

  • Tuesday Aug 17 2021 | 04:44 PM

    US top diplomat Blinken discusses Afghanistan with FM Qureshi

    By: APP

    WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the situation in Afghanistan.

    State Department spokesperson Ned Price, who told reporters about the phone call at his news briefing, did not give any further details of the phone call.

    "Secretary of State Antony J Blinken spoke today with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Qureshi discussed Afghanistan and the developing situation there," Price said.

  • Tuesday Aug 17 2021 | 04:15 PM

    More than 600 fleeing Afghans cram into dramatic US military flight

    By: AFP
    The full uncropped photo from the inside of Reach 871, a U.S. Air Force C-17 flown from Kabul to Qatar on Aug. 15. Picture Defence One

    KABUL: A photo shows more than 600 Afghans -- women, men, children and the elderly -- sitting packed on the floor of a cavernous US military plane, part of a dramatic airlift hours after Kabul fell to the Taliban.

    The now-viral image, obtained and posted by the respected military news site Defense One, was taken inside a US Air Force C-17 transport.

    The Afghans crammed in the giant cargo hold on the Sunday night flight were among those approved for evacuation by US authorities, according to the site.

    The US military said about 640 Afghans were on board.

    But such a large number on one flight was not planned, a US official told Defense One -- many climbed onto the half-open ramp at the back of the plane in desperation.

    "The crew made the decision to go" rather than force them out, the official said.

    It came as Taliban fighters flooded the streets of Kabul, with panicked citizens rushing to the airport to try and find a flight out of Afghanistan.

    "The unusually high number of passengers aboard this aircraft... was the result of a dynamic security environment that necessitated quick decision making by the crew," US Central Command spokesperson Karen Roxberry said in a statement.

    It "ultimately ensured that these passengers were safely taken outside the country".

    Among the people visible in the photo is a small child holding a feeding bottle in the lap of a woman. Several other people are seen holding small children.

    Hardly any belongings are visible among the passengers, except a small suitcase and a backpack in the foreground.

    The flight -- which Defense One said had the call sign Reach 871 -- landed in Qatar in the early hours of Monday, according to the tracking website FlightAware.

    The US military did not specify the destination.

    This C-17 was not the only one to take so many Afghans out of the country -- Defense One cited the US official as saying several planes took off from Kabul with similar numbers.

    It is also not the first time Boeing C-17s -- workhorses of the US Air Force transport fleet -- have been used for such a large evacuation.

    In 2013, a US C-17 flew out more than 670 people from the eastern Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan.

    In its usual configuration, a C-17 carries just over 100 troops with equipment.

    - Chaos, desperation -

    There have been desperate and chaotic scenes at Kabul airport, where the apron and runway were flooded Monday by thousands of people hoping to get a flight out of the country.

    Many were not eligible for evacuation flights, did not have tickets on commercial flights or even visas.

    In harrowing videos shared on social media, hundreds of people are seen running next to a C-17 as it appears to gather speed, some clinging to the sides of the plane.

    In another, attack helicopters are seen flying low near the crowds in an apparent attempt to clear the runway for an aircraft.

    Afghan media reported that several people died after falling from planes as they took off.

    One person died in the landing gear well of a C-17 that took off from Kabul, the Washington Post and Politico reported.

  • Tuesday Aug 17 2021 | 02:50 PM

    Kabul airport chaotic scenes are ´shameful for the West´: German president

    By: AFP
    File photo

    Germany´s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday blasted Western powers over the scenes of desperation at Kabul airport where thousands of Afghans have gathered in a bid to flee the country after the Taliban swept back to power.

    "The images of desperation at Kabul airport are shameful for the political West," he said, calling the situation in Afghanistan a "human tragedy for which we share responsibility".

  • Tuesday Aug 17 2021 | 11:12 AM

    Taliban announce 'general amnesty' for govt officials: statement

    By: AFP
    Mullah Baradar with other Taliban leaders. screengrab 

    KABUL: The Taliban Tuesday declared a general amnesty for all government officials and urged them to return to work, two days after taking power following a lightning sweep through the country.

    "A general amnesty has been declared for all... so you should start your routine life with full confidence," said a statement from the Taliban.

  • Tuesday Aug 17 2021 | 10:44 AM

    China's foreign minister slams 'hurried' US withdrawal from Afghanistan

    By: Reuters
    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. File photo 

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday that the hasty pullout of US troops from Afghanistan had a "serious negative impact," but pledged to work with Washington to promote stability in the country.

    Thousands of civilians desperate to flee Afghanistan thronged Kabul airport's single runway on Monday after the Taliban seized the capital in the face of the US military drawdown there.

    President Joe Biden blamed the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan on Afghan political leaders who fled the country and the unwillingness of the Afghan army to fight the insurgents.

    The US State Department said in a short statement that Blinken spoke with Wang about "the security situation and our respective efforts to bring US and PRC citizens to safety," using the acronym for the People's Republic of China.

    It said Blinken had spoken separately to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

    Wang told Blinken the facts on the ground in Afghanistan proved that a foreign model could not be arbitrarily applied to a country with different cultural and historical conditions, according to a Chinese state media report.

    "Using force and military means to resolve problems will just increase them. The lessons of this deserve serious reflection," China's state broadcaster CCTV cited Wang as saying.

  • Tuesday Aug 17 2021 | 10:35 AM

    Continued US economic engagement with Kabul vital for stable Afghanistan: FM Qureshi

    By: Web Desk

    ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a telephonic conversation to discuss the evolving situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the country.

    During the telephone call, FM Qureshi said that Pakistan would remain engaged with Washington and other international partners in promoting efforts for supporting a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

    He shared Pakistan's perspective noting the significant change in the situation within a short span and the avoidance of violence and stressed the importance of inclusive political settlement as the best way forward.

    Continued US economic engagement with Afghanistan is of crucial importance as well, he added.

    He also apprised Antony Blinken of Pakistan's efforts to facilitate the evacuation of personnel and staff of diplomatic missions, international organizations, media and others.

    The foreign minister also underlined Pakistan's commitment to forging a broad-based, long-term and sustainable relationship with the United States that is anchored in peace, deeper economic cooperation and regional connectivity.

    Read More