Afghanistan crisis live |UN chief to hold meeting on Afghanistan funding

After all the U.S. troops pulled out from Afghanistan, and many countries evacuated refugees, the Taliban announced that Mullah Baradar, the militant group co-founder would head the government. Hours after this announcement, The Taliban, however, postponed the formation of the government by a week.

Read | Reaching out to the ‘undesirables’

Scores of women took to the streets demanding equality in work days after rest of the countries completed their evacuation. Even though the Taliban has asserted that their administrative approach would be different from what it was two decades ago, it remains to be seen what style of functioning they will adopt.

Here are the latest developments:


Taliban fire weapons into air, at least 2 killed

An official at Emergency Hospital in Kabul says two people were killed and 12 wounded after Taliban fighters in the capital fired their weapons into the air in celebration.

Taliban in Kabul fired into the air September 3 night to celebrate gains on the battlefield in Panjshir province, which still remains under the control of anti-Taliban fighters.

The hospital official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media. -AP

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Pakistan’s powerful intel chief arrives in Kabul

Pakistan’s powerful intelligence chief has made a surprise visit to the Afghan capital of Kabul. That’s according to two Pakistan officials who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

It wasn’t immediately clear what Gen. Faiez Hameed had to say September 4 to the Taliban leadership but the Pakistani intelligence service has perhaps the greatest outside influence over the Taliban.

The Taliban leadership had its headquarters in Pakistan and were often said to be in direct contact with the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency. -AP


Austria says Afghan migration wave to be avoided

Austria’s leader says any migration wave from Afghanistan should be handled in neighboring countries.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said September 4 in Belgrade that a potential wave toward Europe must not take place. He adds that “this is why we are in contact with countries in the region.” -AP


California governor seeks $16.7M in aid for Afghan refugees

California’s governor and legislative leaders on September 3 requested $16.7 million in State money to help resettle Afghan refugees in the State.

The request to use general fund money to help those fleeing the Taliban takeover signals “that California stands ready to assist those in need,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “As the nation’s most diverse state, we don’t simply tolerate diversity, we celebrate it.” -AP


UN chief to hold meeting on Afghanistan funding

The United Nations chief will convene a ministerial meeting in Geneva on September 13 to seek a swift scale-up in funding to address the growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, where nearly half the country’s 38 million people need assistance.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric made the announcement on September 3 and said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will also appeal “for full and unimpeded humanitarian access to make sure Afghans continue to get the essential services they need.”  -AP


U.S. building ‘small cities’ at bases for Afghans

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he will travel to Qatar and Germany to visit U.S. diplomats and troops along with Afghans who were evacuated from Kabul amid the scramble to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan.

Mr. Blinken’s visit to Qatar will coincide with the first stop of a tour of Persian Gulf allies by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. -AP


Taliban stop planes of evacuees from leaving but unclear why

At least four planes chartered to evacuate several hundred people seeking to escape the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan have been unable to leave the country for days, officials said Sunday, with conflicting accounts emerging about why the flights weren’t able to take off as pressure ramps up on the United States to help those left behind to flee.

An Afghan official at the airport in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif said that the would-be passengers were Afghans, many of whom did not have passports or visas, and thus were unable to leave the country. He said they had left the airport while the situation was sorted out.


2nd Afghan boy dies of mushroom poisoning in Poland

A second child of an Afghan family evacuated from Kabul to Poland died September 3 after eating soup containing death cap mushrooms, which the family had unknowingly gathered in a Polish forest outside their quarantine center.

The 6-year-old boy had received an emergency liver transplant but doctors were unable to save him. His 5-year-old brother was pronounced dead on September 2 at Poland’s main children’s hospital, where both were treated. -AP


California families relay harrowing escape from Afghanistan

When Yousef’s wife and their four children boarded a July 15 flight in San Diego to attend her brother’s wedding in Afghanistan, they were looking forward to a month of family gatherings. It was long overdue — the coronavirus pandemic prevented them from traveling earlier.

Their return ticket was August 15, two days before their children’s school year began in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon.

But the Afghan Americans found themselves dodging gunfire and trying to force their way into the crowds of thousands ringing the airport in Kabul after Afghanistan’s government collapsed and the Taliban seized power. -AP


Islamic State threatens to eliminate Pugwash staff in Kabul

One of the key back channel dialogue facilitators in Afghanistan, the Afghanistan wing of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs has received a death warrant from the Islamic State in Kabul, a representative of the organisation has informed.

Pugwash which works at the intersection of science and peace has been active in facilitating dialogue among various sections of Afghan society including the Taliban even before the U.S. engaged the Taliban for the Doha accord.


Taliban order university women to wear face-covering niqab

Women attending private Afghan universities must wear an abaya robe and niqab covering most of the face, the Taliban have ordered, and classes must be segregated by sex —or at least divided by a curtain.

In a lengthy document issued by the Taliban’s education authority, they also ordered that female students should only be taught by other women, but if that was not possible then “old men” of good character could fill in.

The decree applies to private colleges and universities, which have mushroomed since the Taliban’s first rule ended in 2001.


Taliban battle for Panjshir as U.S. warns of Afghanistan civil war

Taliban fighters advanced deep into the last holdout province of Panjshir Sunday, as the top U.S. general warned Afghanistan faces a wider civil war that would offer fertile ground for a resurgence of terrorism.

Following their lightning fast rout of Afghanistan’s army last month —and celebrations when the last U.S. troops flew out after 20 years of war on Monday — the Taliban are seeking to crush resistance forces defending the mountainous Panjshir Valley.


‘Some 1,000 people awaiting Taliban flight clearance from Mazar-i-Sharif’

About 1,000 people, including dozens of Americans and Afghans holding visas for the United States or other countries, remained stuck in Afghanistan for a fifth day on September 5 while awaiting Taliban clearance for flights out of the country, the New York Times reported.

The newspaper reported that the situation facing those hoping to leave from the international airport in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif mirrored that of thousands who were unable to board flights from Kabul after the Taliban took the capital before U.S. troops withdrew. -REUTERS

United Kingdom

U.K. PM Johnson to address lawmakers about Afghanistan on September 6

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will address lawmakers on September 6 about Britain’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, amid criticism of the handling of the evacuation and failure to predict how quickly the Taliban would sweep through the country.

The United States and Britain withdrew from Afghanistan last month, and Johnson’s foreign minister Dominic Raab has admitted that both countries misjudged the Taliban’s capacity to seize control. -REUTERS


After escape, Afghan director mourns her ‘lost country’

As a filmmaker, Shahrbanoo Sadat watched with fascination as Taliban fighters took over her city and terrified crowds animated the streets. But as an Afghan woman, she also watched the scene through another prism and knew: It was time to flee.

After her family’s harrowing escape from Kabul, Ms. Sadat is now warning world governments: “The Taliban is a terrorist group and the world should realize they are dangerous,” she told The Associated Press in Paris on Sunday. -AP


Taliban say UN promises aid after meeting with officials in Kabul

Senior Taliban officials met in Kabul on September 5 with the UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, who promised to maintain assistance for the Afghan people, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of the Taliban’s political office and other officials met Martin Griffiths as Afghanistan faces a potentially catastrophic humanitarian crisis caused by severe drought and a collapsing economy.

“The UN delegation promised continuation of humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, saying he would call for further assistance to Afghanistan during the coming meeting of donor countries,” Mr. Shaheen said on Twitter. -REUTERS


Top Republican says Taliban holding Americans

The top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee says some Americans who have been trying to get out of Afghanistan since the U.S. military left are sitting in airplanes at an airport ready to leave but the Taliban are not letting them take off.

Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas says there are six airplanes at the Mazar-e-Sharif airport with American citizens on board, along with their Afghan interpreters, and the Taliban are “holding them hostage” right now. -AP


After messy pullout, Blinken to intensify Afghanistan diplomacy in Qatar, Germany

A week after declaring America’s “new chapter” of engagement with Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will aim to form a united front with allies this week on how to tackle the Taliban and ensure continued support for U.S. bid to help evacuate Americans and at-risk Afghans who remained behind.

In a trip to Qatar and Germany, Mr. Blinken will be overlapping with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin who is also departing on September 5 for a wider Gulf visit covering Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. -REUTERS


Taliban resume some flights, press assault on final holdout

Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers resumed some domestic passenger flights to and from Kabul on September 5, as the religious militia’s fighters stepped up an assault on the last remaining pocket of resistance being led by fighters opposed to their rule.

The anti-Taliban fighters in Panjshir province, north of the Afghan capital, are being led by former vice president Amrullah Saleh, who has appealed for humanitarian aid to help the thousands of people displaced by the fighting. -AP


Qatar delivers food and medical aid to Kabul

Qatar has sent a plane carrying food and medical goods to Kabul, part of an effort to provide badly needed supplies to Afghanistan as the country faces a halt in most Western aid.

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said the plane had landed at Kabul airport on September 5 with 26 tons of medical and food aid, the second such shipment in as many days. -AP


Afghan opposition leader Massoud says he is ready for talks with Taliban

The leader of the Afghan opposition group resisting Taliban forces in the Panjshir valley north of Kabul said on September 5 he welcomed proposals from religious scholars for a negotiated settlement to end the fighting.

Ahmad Massoud, head of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA), made the announcement on the group’s Facebook page. Earlier, Taliban forces said they had fought their way into the provincial capital of Panjshir after securing the surrounding districts. -REUTERS


Taliban say they have entered capital of holdout Afghan region

The Taliban said on September 5 their forces had fought their way into the provincial capital of the Panjshir valley, their latest claim of progress in fighting against opposition forces holding out in the area north of Kabul.

There was no immediate response from the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA), which groups opposition forces. It had said earlier the Taliban “propaganda machine” was trying to spread distracting messages and that it had pushed Taliban forces back from another part of the valley. -REUTERS


Pakistan hosts virtual meeting of representatives of Afghanistan’s neighbours

Pakistan on September 5 hosted a virtual meeting of the special representatives and envoys of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries, including China and Iran, during which the participants agreed that peace in the war-torn nation is crucial for security and stability of the region.

The meeting chaired by Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq was attended by representatives of China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the Foreign Office said in a statement. -PTI


Germany wants to talk with Taliban about further evacuations from Afghanistan – Merkel

Germany wants to talk with the Taliban about how to its remaining local contract workers out of Afghanistan, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on September 5, adding it was a good sign that the airport in Kabul could be used for evacuation flights again.

“We need to talk to the Taliban about how we can continue to get people who worked for Germany out of the country and to safety,” Ms. Merkel said. -REUTERS

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