The Taliban has blocked access to Kabul airport, which is the only international airport in Afghanistan. The move was made after a suicide attack on Thursday that killed at least 29 people and wounded over 70 others.
The afghan blanket is a common item that Afghans use to stay warm during the winter. The Taliban has blocked access to Kabul Airport, and this will cause problems for those that need to travel.
Here’s what you should be aware of:
Afghan citizens continue to swarm Kabul’s airport in search of an escape route since the Taliban seized control of the country. Even if emergency aircraft are chartered on a daily basis, leaving the nation remains impossible. CreditCredit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek
The Taliban said on Tuesday that they would prevent Afghans attempting to flee the country from using Kabul’s airport and that they would oppose any attempts to extend the deadline for American soldiers to depart Afghanistan by the end of this month.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson, said at a press conference on Tuesday that the turmoil at the airport remained a serious issue, and that the road leading to it was being blocked to Afghan civilians to prevent anyone from joining the masses.
“The route leading to the Kabul airport has been shut off. Foreigners are permitted to go on it, but Afghans are not,” Mr. Mujahid added, without specifying how long the restriction would remain in place.
He encouraged Afghans thronging the airport in the hopes of fleeing the country to return home instead, claiming the Taliban would “ensure their protection” and that there was no list of individuals designated for retaliation.
Witnesses have previously reported a Taliban assault on anti-Taliban demonstrators. Afghans who cooperated with US and NATO troops are also being aggressively sought by the Taliban.
Mr. Mujahid also urged the US not to “push Afghans to leave their nation,” saying, “This country needs its physicians, engineers, and educated people – we need their skills.”
On Monday, the organization warned that if the American presence lasted any longer, there would be “consequences.”
The deadline set by President Biden for the withdrawal of American citizens and friends from Afghanistan — August 31 — is less than a week away. As time runs out to save individuals that the government has promised to safeguard from Taliban retaliation, the operation may enter a perilous new phase.
In recent days, US troops have advanced beyond Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul to rescue trapped civilians in the city, rescuing hundreds of people. Crowds of Afghans wanting to flee the country have gathered on the airport, resulting in chaotic and tragic scenes.
Conditions on the ground are becoming increasingly hazardous as authorities debate their tactics.
Those attempting to escape Afghanistan must pass through Taliban checkpoints and jostle with throngs of desperate people, risking injury or death. According to British military authorities, seven Afghan civilians, including a baby, were crushed to death in the throng outside the airport.
Other Afghans, especially women, who have supported the US war effort for two decades are afraid to leave their houses for fear of incurring the Taliban’s wrath at checkpoints.
The Taliban and US authorities have taken measures to prevent the situation from spiraling out of hand any further. According to US military sources, the senior US official in Afghanistan meets with the Taliban almost every day, resulting to an agreement that extended the security perimeter around the airport, with the aim of bringing more order to the turmoil.
The Pentagon has sent helicopters and soldiers to several locations in Kabul to rescue trapped American residents and Afghan friends, at least twice going outside the airport’s local vicinity.
Since Aug. 14, when Kabul fell to the Taliban, the US military has assisted in the evacuation of 58,000 civilians, with the pace picking up lately. Military authorities stated on Tuesday that around 21,600 individuals had been evacuated in the previous 24 hours.
The Biden administration has been unable to determine the exact number of individuals that need evacuation.
In May, William J. Burns, center, was in Washington. Credit… The New York Times’ Stefani Reynolds
According to American sources acquainted with his visit, C.I.A. Director William J. Burns went to Kabul this week for meetings with Taliban leadership — the highest-level in-person talks between a Biden administration official and Afghanistan’s new de facto government.
Mr. Burns, a veteran diplomat, met with Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban commander who spearheaded diplomatic talks with the US government in Qatar, on Monday.
Getting the Taliban leadership to provide additional time for evacuation operations from Kabul airport is a major problem for the US. The US is transporting a significant number of individuals out of Afghanistan, including Afghans, Americans, and others. President Biden has set a deadline of Aug. 31 for the operation to be completed.
Thousands of US soldiers have been sent to protect the airport, and evacuations have accelerated in recent days. However, transporting Afghans safely from their houses to Kabul’s airport is growing increasingly difficult and hazardous, and it’s unclear if the US government will be able to keep up with the evacuations.
According to former officials, the US will need additional time, perhaps until late September, to transport Afghans who have filed for special visas out of the country.
A spokesperson for the Taliban in Qatar, Suhail Shaheen, warned on Monday that any extension beyond August 31 would be a “obvious breach” of the US-Taliban agreement on military departure.
Mr. Burns had a lengthy diplomatic career in which he specialized in sensitive, covert communications before being appointed C.I.A. director. His book is titled “The Back Channel,” and he was in charge of the early, secret conversations that led to the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear talks.
With the collapse of the American-backed government and the departure of diplomats and soldiers from Afghanistan, the C.I.A. will be in charge of most of the country’s future surveillance.
The Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council also refused to comment. Mr. Burns’ visit was first reported by the Washington Post.
For the time being, the Taliban have permitted activities at the airport to continue. The Taliban have not openly interfered with American activities, despite several civilians being harassed and assaulted while attempting to reach the airport.
Officials in the United States, however, are concerned about the possibility of terrorist strikes at the airport by the Islamic State and other organizations.
The Taliban’s tacit cooperation for American activities isn’t enough to enable the flights to take place. They also want the organization to aggressively prevent ISIS and others from carrying out strikes against Afghan people, such as suicide bombs near the airport.
Despite their hard-line posturing, the Taliban have a vested interest in working together. The acting administration aims to establish international legitimacy and avoid the isolation that the group faced while it was in control in the 1990s. Taliban commanders have encouraged foreign countries to keep their embassies in Afghanistan operational.
On Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden visited the White House. On Tuesday, he will meet with other members of the Group of 7. Credit… The New York Times’ Stefani Reynolds
On Tuesday, leaders of the Group of 7 countries are likely to urge President Biden to extend US military presence in Kabul beyond August 31 in order to finish a hurried evacuation of Americans, Afghan friends, and others. However, British officials were reducing their hopes that Mr. Biden would agree to a change in the deadline.
The president’s resolve to terminate the US operation in Afghanistan, combined with a Taliban warning that an extension would be unacceptable, indicated that the commanders would have an uphill battle to alter the timeline.
Britain’s defense minister, Ben Wallace, told the, “I wish we had more time.” “At the present, I believe that is unlikely.” He claimed that British soldiers had “literally hours” to make sure “everyone we can get past the gate.”
At 2:30 p.m. London time, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will convene an emergency virtual conference of G-7 leaders. It comes at a time when the trans-Atlantic relationship is under severe pressure, with Britain and other NATO members chastised by what they see as the White House’s lack of engagement on the withdrawal’s timing and methods.
Mr. Johnson talked with Mr. Biden for the second time in a week on Monday evening, but neither the White House nor Downing Street mentioned a deadline extension in their reports of the conversation.
“The leaders agreed to keep working together to ensure that those who are eligible to leave are able to do so, including after the initial phase of the evacuation has ended,” the British statement said, citing the need for “diplomatic engagement to secure the progress made in Afghanistan and prevent a humanitarian crisis.”
According to Karen Pierce, the British ambassador to Washington, although the evacuation will be the leaders’ first concern, the aftermath of the pullout will also be discussed.
“What is the humanitarian response?” says the narrator. Ms. Pierce expressed her thoughts. “How will the West interact with Afghanistan in the future? Can we plan for additional Afghans to be resettled if they manage to flee?” She pointed out that the United Kingdom has promised to take in 20,000 Afghan refugees over the long term.
Other European officials said the summit would be critical in clearing the air and preventing the disorderly departure from Afghanistan from jeopardizing other security and counter-terrorism operations.
“The use of this internet for propaganda isn’t only in Taiwan, where China claims the West is untrustworthy,” said Tom Tugendhat, head of the British Parliament’s foreign affairs committee. “We have obligations and disputed space throughout Africa and elsewhere.”
Emergency, an international humanitarian group, runs a hospital in Kabul. Credit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek
Mohammad, the farmer’s surname, had been making his way towards Kabul. The Taliban were launching their last assault, which would culminate in the loss of Afghanistan’s capital on August 15th. Mr. Mohammad had found a ride in a minivan with Taliban militants in it.
A government car that had been abandoned erupted in flames. In his chest, he felt a searing feeling. He would later learn that five passengers had died as a result of the pandemonium.
Mr. Mohammad, who had been wounded by six gunshots, claimed that other cars were so terrified that they didn’t even stop to assist.
Mr. Mohammad talked last week from his bed at a hospital operated by Emergency, an international humanitarian group that runs hospitals in Afghanistan and gives its staff personal accounts of the tragedy there.
They claimed they had seen a change in violence, including increased casualties at the Kabul airport, in interviews. However, they’ve seen a decrease in aggression, which may be a good indication, as well as a change in the kinds of injuries.
Patients coming to Emergency’s hospitals had been traumatized by airstrikes, mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, and tiny explosives during the Taliban’s fight for control of the nation, according to a Taliban official at a Kabul-area hospital.
Bullets are now the most common cause of conflict-related injuries, which he attributes to the Taliban’s takeover’s overall lawlessness. The official said that some individuals were taking advantage of the absence of police.
According to the official, the number of victims has decreased since then. Currently, the organization takes in approximately six individuals each day, most of whom have been injured by gunshot during violent confrontations near the airport.
At the height of the siege of Lashkar Gah, in the southern province of Helmand, another of Emergency’s hospitals was receiving 50 victims each day. They had no choice but to increase the admissions standards. Soft tissue injuries, for example, were sent to a different government facility.
Since last week, there has been a substantial decrease in violence, and the hospital is now accepting civilian trauma patients from other sources, such as road accidents.
The Taliban are well aware of what they’re doing. Dr. Omar, a Taliban health director, had visited the Kabul hospital and assured its managers that they would be free to carry out their duties without interference. Emergency has been able to transport supplies to first-aid stations throughout the nation via road.
One healthcare employee was cautiously hopeful.
“It’s been a week,” the employee said. “The number of individuals who have been wounded is diminishing. We no longer hear gunfire, and we are unconcerned about suicide strikes. Over the past three days, even the number of casualties from the airport has decreased.”
Some locals recall what life was like when the Taliban controlled the nation two decades ago, when women’s rights were severely limited.
The worker said, “Women are still going about without a complete veil.” “However, they are concerned that if a government is formed, such policies will be altered.”
Nonetheless, the increased feeling of security was appreciated by the worker.
“For the last three or four years, everytime I left my house, I said farewell to my family because I didn’t know whether I’d see them again,” the worker said. “However, to be honest, it is no longer a worry for me. I want it will continue indefinitely.”
On Tuesday morning, families wanting to escape the nation arrived at the airport. Credit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Pentagon said on Tuesday that it has flown 21,600 individuals out of the nation in less than 24 hours, the highest number of daily evacuations from the Kabul airport thus far.
According to Maj. General Hank Taylor, the military has assisted in the evacuation of approximately 58,000 civilians since Aug. 15, when Kabul fell to the Taliban and the Afghan government left the nation.
However, this is a small fraction of the number of Americans, foreign nationals, and Afghan allies attempting to flee.
President Biden has left the possibility of extending the American military presence at Hamid Karzai International Airport, which currently numbers 5,800 Marines and troops, beyond the August 31 deadline.
But he refuses, according to administration sources, and the Taliban has threatened “consequences” if the US force remains beyond the deadline.
According to Pentagon press secretary John F. Kirby, the Pentagon would most likely establish more military sites in the United States to offer temporary lodging for Afghan refugees.
“Our goal is to keep this pace as aggressively as we can,” he added of the evacuations.
Officials warned that delays at the airport and at the sites across the globe where the refugees are being temporarily housed may obstruct the process. They specifically mentioned the cumbersome procedure of screening individuals.
Mr. Kirby said that US friends in Afghanistan who fear Taliban retaliation are still being processed at the Kabul airport, despite the fact that the airport’s gates have been closed many times in the last week due to the influx of passengers.
A Taliban spokesperson warned on Tuesday that the group’s members will physically prevent Afghans from entering the airport.
On Sunday, Taliban militants stood outside the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, which was closed. Credit… The New York Times’ Victor J. Blue
BRUSSELS, BELGIAN REPUBLICAN REPUBLICAN REPU Officials from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy say that there has been more diktat than dialogue on Afghanistan, despite President Biden’s pledges to respect and engage with NATO partners who were scorned by his predecessor.
Mr. Biden is expected to hear grumbling on Tuesday in an emergency videoconference meeting among the Group of 7 leaders, now that the fast Taliban advance and hurried US departure have created turmoil and terror in Kabul for more than a week.
The situation in Afghanistan brings up an issue that has plagued NATO almost since the end of the Cold War: Will there be a significant change in the alliance’s operations, with the United States leading and Europe trailing?
When the US acts without respect for the opinions of its friends — as it has in Libya and Syria, to say nothing of Iraq — it feeds fresh demands for European allies to become less reliant on Washington in military and security issues. More autonomy, however, would need more military expenditure, which European leaders seem to lack the political will to do.
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who served from 2004 to 2009, stated that European criticism of Mr. Biden was correct, but also partly immaterial, since “we Europeans have grown accustomed to US leadership.”
Some of the demands for strategic autonomy are more serious — and more vehement — than in the past.
“Europeans are furious, but there are no other options,” said Rem Korteweg, a senior scholar at the Clingendael Institute in the Netherlands. “So take this with a grain of salt,” says the author.
On Sunday, the Paralympics symbol was seen in Tokyo Bay. Credit… The New York Times/Chang W. Lee
According to Nikki Dryden, a former Canadian Olympian turned human rights lawyer who was engaged in the attempt, two Afghan paralympians have left Kabul with the aid of a group of Australian sports stars.
They were among a group of more than 50 athletes, including soccer players, referees, and their families, who had obtained safety in Australia, she claimed on Tuesday. The athletes and their families were given humanitarian visas, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“The operation is still continuing, but at least 50 athletes and their families are on flights or — for us, just getting them into the airport safely was a win,” Ms. Dryden told ABC.
She noted that the two Paralympians were “safely out of Afghanistan.” She didn’t mention their names.
The Afghanistan Paralympic Committee said last week that the nation’s competitors will not compete in the Games due to the difficulties of leaving the country.
Ms. Dryden said the Australians had been working for days to contact the athletes through social media, get a promise from the Australian government to accept them, secure visa sponsorship and paperwork, and remotely lead the athletes to Kabul’s airport.
She claimed the sportsmen waited in line for 48 hours at the airport before getting inside. “The only thing we could tell them was to keep pushing ahead, keep pushing forward, remain in line, don’t move,” she added. “Every single person who will make it to Australia did it by themselves.”
She expressed doubts about the Paralympians’ ability to compete in Tokyo.
FIFPro, the international soccer players’ federation, said on Twitter that it was “encouraged by recent developments” and “thankful for the assistance of governments, military, and human rights groups who are collaborating closely with us to evacuate women footballers and other athletes from Afghanistan.”
650 additional individuals were evacuated from Kabul overnight on four Australian planes and one New Zealand flight, according to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Members of an Afghan girls’ robotics team that drew worldwide notice escaped to Qatar, prompting the athletes’ escape.
On Tuesday, Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, met with Nasir Ahmad Andisha, the Afghan ambassador to the United Nations. Credit: EPA/Salvatore Di Nolfi/Shutterstock
On Tuesday, the UN’s top human rights officer highlighted “harrowing and reliable” allegations that the Taliban are carrying out summary killings of civilians and noncombatants, as well as abusing women’s rights.
Speaking at the opening of an emergency session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, asked for the establishment of a commission to monitor the Taliban’s behavior.
She encouraged nations to take decisive measures to send a clear message to Taliban leaders that resuming their cruel past practices would be unacceptable, and her suggestion was backed by several Western states and human rights organizations.
However, while asking for quick and transparent investigations into human rights abuses, a resolution presented by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Countries failed to establish the foundation for any such inquiry.
Instead, it requested that Ms. Bachelet update the council in March of next year.
The decision was dubbed a “travesty” by Shahrazad Akbar, head of Afghanistan’s independent Human Rights Commission.
Ms. Akbar addressed the council via video connection, saying, “Afghan activists on the ground, my colleagues on the ground, who face direct threats to their lives and the lives of their families, deserve better.” “To tell you the truth, you’re failing them.”
On Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris gave a lecture in Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay. Credit… Evelyn Hockstein took this picture of the pool.
During a speech in Southeast Asia on Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris sought to bolster the United States’ image as a reliable ally by criticizing China, an effort that comes as the White House faces growing questions about its reliability amid ongoing violence in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
“We know Beijing continues to coerce, intimidate, and assert claims to the overwhelming majority of the South China Sea,” Ms. Harris said in Singapore, adding that China’s “unlawful claims” continued to “undermine the rules-based system and endanger country sovereignty.”
The White House wants to concentrate its foreign policy approach on contending with China’s growing economic might rather than fighting “forever wars” like Afghanistan’s two-decade-long struggle. The tumultuous attempt to remove Americans and Afghan friends from Kabul has cast a pall on the vice president’s trip, which started on Sunday in Singapore and will end in Vietnam.
Ms. Harris’s second foreign journey as vice president took on added urgency in the days leading up to her departure aboard Air Force Two. The trip was billed as an opportunity to strengthen commercial and security relations with important allies Singapore and Vietnam, as part of President Biden’s South China Sea policy. Her trip, however, marked the administration’s first test of its attempts to convince the world that it can still be a trusted foreign partner in the aftermath of the chaotic departure from Afghanistan.
When Ms. Harris lands in Vietnam, the pressure will most certainly grow. Her top aides have been confronted with questions about the historical parallel between the US evacuation of American citizens from Saigon in 1975 and the current situation in Kabul, which includes scenes of desperate Afghans running behind US military planes and American citizens, Afghan allies, and their relatives crammed into the Kabul airport and stuck in limbo.
Families fleeing Afghanistan waited to board buses at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia on Monday. Credit… Associated Press/Jose Luis Magana
On Tuesday, Airbnb and its charity arm, Airbnb.org, announced that the business will offer free temporary accommodation to 20,000 Afghan refugees escaping the Taliban’s takeover.
The property rental business termed the displacement and resettlement of migrants a “major humanitarian catastrophe” as American and European governments rush to remove tens of thousands of people.
The cost of the lodgings will be paid by Airbnb and its CEO, Brian Chesky, as well as donations to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund, which was launched in June with an aim of collecting $25 million. The group is collaborating with resettlement organizations and has volunteered to assist the federal and state governments.
“One of the most serious humanitarian problems of our day is the displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the United States and abroad. On Twitter, Mr. Chesky said, “We feel a duty to stand up.”
“I hope this serves as an example to other corporate executives. He said, “There is no time to squander.”
Airbnb did not say how long migrants may remain in the flats or homes, but it did say that its hosts could accommodate both short and long-term visits. The business said last week that it has started assisting Afghans leaving the country by providing money to the International Rescue Committee and other groups to offer temporary lodging for up to 1,000 migrants using the Airbnb platform.
Airbnb claimed it put 165 refugees in accommodation throughout the United States over the weekend, including in California, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
This month, an Afghan refugee and her daughter were seen at a bus stop in Van, Turkey. Credit… The New York Times’ Nicole Tung contributed to this article.
VAN, Turkey (Reuters) – An Afghan lady was bent over weeping on a bus station seat in eastern Turkey in the days leading up to the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, her children screaming at her feet.
As our reporting team was interviewing her and other Afghan asylum seekers, fourteen Turkish security and migration officers swooped down on them, part of a massive operation by Turkey to arrest Afghans crossing from Iran by the hundreds and prevent media from reporting on their suffering.
The lady gripped her stomach and retched as her husband attempted to collect their things. They were led to a police car after being questioned for a lengthy time.
Many thousands of Afghans have been gradually leaving their nation via land, making their journey 1,400 kilometers over Iran to the Turkish border, even before the recent horrific images of Afghans thronging the Kabul airport to leave the Taliban. There is every evidence that now that the Taliban are in control, their numbers will grow much more.
However, for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the burden of hosting so many refugees — including 3.6 million Syrians and more than 300,000 Afghans — has become a political hot potato, particularly as the Turkish economy has deteriorated. Afghans questioned in Van claimed Turkey had strengthened border control with a sometimes violent police operation, sending Afghans away despite their asylum petitions.
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