Afghanistan crisis updates | Blinken says under 200 Americans in Afghanistan

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Afghanistan crisis updates | Blinken says under 200 Americans in Afghanistan

The United Nations Security Council, under the current Presidency of India, on Monday, August 30, 2021, adopted a resolution on the situation in Afghanistan, demanding that the war-torn country not be used to threaten or attack any nation or shelter terrorists. The resolution was put forward by the US, the UK, France.

On the same day, the United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan, ending America’s longest war and closing a chapter in its military history.

Here are the latest developments:

India/Qatar

India holds first meeting with Taliban

India has held the first officially confirmed meeting with the Taliban.

It was conducted between Indian Ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal and Sher Mohammed Stanekzai, head of the Political Office of the Taliban based in Doha.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a press release said the meeting was held in the Embassy of India in Doha.

 

USA

Blinken says under 200 Americans in Afghanistan

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says fewer than 200 Americans remain in Afghanistan who want to leave and the U.S. will continue to try to get them out.

Mr Blinken says the number of Americans left may be closer to 100. He says the U.S. would work with Afghanistan’s neighbours to secure their departure either overland or by charter flight once the Kabul airport re-opens.

Speaking shortly after the Pentagon announced the completion of the U.S. military pullout Monday, Mr Blinken said the U.S. Embassy in Kabul will remain shuttered and vacant for the foreseeable future.

He says American diplomats who had worked from the now-closed embassy will be based in Doha, Qatar.

– AP

Pakistan

Pakistan FM Qureshi says global community must not abandon Afghanistan

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday warned the international community not to abandon Afghanistan, saying repeating the mistakes of the past and an economic collapse of the war-torn country will have serious consequences.

Addressing a press conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas, who is here on a two-day trip to discuss bilateral issues and regional situations, he said that this is a pivotal moment in Afghanistan’s history.

“The international community must remain engaged. Humanitarian assistance must flow. Do not let the economic collapse in Afghanistan take place,” Mr Qureshi said.

 

Afghanistan

Eight Taliban killed in Panjshir fighting, Afghan militia forces say

Taliban forces clashed with militia fighters in the Panjshir valley north of the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday night, losing eight killed, a representative of the main anti-Taliban opposition group said.

Since the fall of Kabul on Aug. 15, the Panjshir has been the only province to hold out against the Taliban, although there has also been fighting in neighbouring Baghlan province between Taliban and local militia forces. – Reuters

Japan

Japan to relocate its Kabul embassy to Qatar

Japan’s top diplomat says his country has temporarily moved its embassy from Afghanistan to Turkey but now plans to relocate it to Qatar, where the Taliban have an office.

The Gulf Arab country is also expected to play an important political role in what comes next for Afghanistan.

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi earlier this month visited the Middle East. He told reporters on August 31 that his talks with leaders in the region suggest that Doha, the capital of Qatar, will carry growing political importance.

“I believe various forms of communication will take place,” Mr. Motegi said. – PTI

India

High-level group monitoring developments in Afghanistan: Sources

A high-level group comprising External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, NSA Ajit Doval and a number of other senior officials is monitoring the ground situation in Afghanistan with a focus on India’s immediate priorities, official sources said on August 31.

The group has been meeting regularly over the last few days following a direction from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they said. “In view of the evolving situation in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently directed that a high-level group comprising of External Affairs Minister, the National Security Adviser and senior officials focus on the immediate priorities of India,” said a source.

“It is seized of issues pertaining to the safe return of stranded Indians, the travel of Afghan nationals [especially minorities] to India, and assuring that the territory of Afghanistan is not used in any manner for terrorism directed against India,” it said The sources also said that the group has also been monitoring the ground situation in Afghanistan and international reactions, including the resolution, passed this morning by the UN Security Council. – PTI

Afghanistan

‘This victory belongs to us all’: Taliban spokesman after U.S. withdrawal

The Taliban’s top spokesman congratulated Afghans on their victory on August 31, hours after the last U.S. troops left the country following 20 years of military intervention. “Congratulations to Afghanistan… this victory belongs to us all,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said from the runway of Kabul airport.

“We want to have good relations with the U.S. and the world. We welcome good diplomatic relations with them all,” he added.

Afghanistan crisis updates | Blinken says under 200 Americans in Afghanistan

Taliban Badri special force fighters secure the airport in Kabul on August 31, 2021, after the U.S. has pulled all its troops out of the country to end a brutal 20-year war, one that started and ended with the hardline Islamist in power.
 

AFP

Afghanistan

Taliban control Kabul airport after U.S. withdrawal

The Taliban held full control of Kabul’s international airport on August 31 after the last U.S. plane left its runway, marking the end of America’s longest war and leaving behind a now-quiet airfield and Afghans outside it still hoping to flee the insurgents’ rule.

Vehicles raced back and forth along the Hamid Karzai International Airport’s sole runway on the northern military side of the airfield. Before dawn broke, heavily armed Taliban fighters walked through hangars on the military side, passing some of the seven CH-46 helicopters the State Department used in its evacuations before rendering them unflyable.

Taliban leaders later symbolically walked across the runway, marking their victory. – PTI

USA

U.S. military disabled scores of aircraft before leaving Kabul airport

The U.S. military disabled scores of aircraft and armored vehicles as well as a high-tech rocket defense system at the Kabul airport before it left on August 30, a U.S. general said.

Central Command head General Kenneth McKenzie said 73 aircraft that were already at Hamid Karzai International Airport were “demilitarized,” or rendered useless, by U.S. troops before they wrapped up the two-week evacuation of the Taliban-controlled country.

“Those aircraft will never fly again… They’ll never be able to be operated by anyone,” he said. “Most of them are non-mission capable to begin with. But certainly they’ll never be able to be flown again.” – AFP

USA

U.S. says Taliban legitimacy and support will need to be ‘earned’

The United States expects the Taliban to live up to their commitments now that US troops have pulled out of Afghanistan, but any legitimacy or support will need to be “earned,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on August 30. “Our troops have departed Afghanistan,” Mr. Blinken said. He added, “A new chapter of America’s engagement with Afghanistan has begun. It’s one in which we will lead with our diplomacy. The military mission is over; a new diplomatic mission has begun.” – AFP

USA

U.S. suspends diplomatic presence in Kabul, moves operations to Qatar: Blinken

The United States embarked August 30 on a “new” chapter regarding Afghanistan and shifted its diplomatic operations to Qatar, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, as he expressed commitment to helping every American who wants to leave the war-weary nation.

“As of today, we’ve suspended our diplomatic presence in Kabul and transferred our operations to Doha, Qatar,” Blinken said, adding that Congress would be notified.

America’s top diplomat, speaking just hours after the final evacuation flights left Kabul, said a small number of U.S. citizens, “under 200” but likely closer to just 100, remained in the country. – AFP

USA

Last troops exit Afghanistan, ending America’s longest war

The United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan late Monday, ending America’s longest war and closing a chapter in military history likely to be remembered for colossal failures, unfulfilled promises and a frantic final exit that cost the lives of more than 180 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members, some barely older than the war.

America’s 20-year-old military presence in Afghanistan has ended, President Joe Biden announced, hours after the United States withdrew all of its soldiers from the war-ravaged country.

“Now, our 20-year military presence in Afghanistan has ended,” he said, thanking armed forces for their execution of the dangerous retrograde from Afghanistan as scheduled — in the early hours of Tuesday (August 31) – with no further loss of American lives. – AP

International

UNSC adopts resolution on Afghanistan; demands territory not be used to attack other countries

The United Nations Security Council, under the current Presidency of India, on Monday, August 30, 2021, adopted a resolution on the situation in Afghanistan, demanding that the war-torn country not be used to threaten or attack any nation or shelter terrorists.

The resolution was put forward by the US, the UK, France. It was adopted after 13 Council members voted in favour, while permanent members Russia and China abstained from the voting.

The resolution demands that Afghan territory at no cost be used to threaten or attack any other country or to shelter or train terrorists. – PTI

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