Afghanistan crisis updates | August 22, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden on August 22 will provide an update on the administration's response to the Afghanistan crisis, the White House said on Saturday.

Updated - August 22, 2021 10:11 pm IST

Published - August 22, 2021 11:46 am IST

Families evacuated from Kabul, Afghanistan, walk through the terminal before boarding a bus after they arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport, in Chantilly, Va., on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021

Families evacuated from Kabul, Afghanistan, walk through the terminal before boarding a bus after they arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport, in Chantilly, Va., on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021

The Biden administration is considering calling on U.S. commercial airlines to provide planes and crews to assist in transporting Afghan refugees once they are evacuated from their country by military aircraft.

India on Sunday evacuated 168 people including 107 Indians from Kabul in a military transport aircraft of the IAF amid the deteriorating security situation in the Afghan capital city following its takeover by the Taliban a week back.


Here are the latest developments:

United Kindom

'Imbecilic': Ex-U.K. leader Tony Blair slams Afghan withdrawal


Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister who had deployed troops to Afghanistan, 20 years ago, after the 9/11 attacks, said the U.S. decision to withdraw from the country has “every Jihadist group round the world cheering.”

In a lengthy essay posted on his website on August 21, the former Labour Party leader said the sudden and chaotic pullout that allowed the Taliban to reclaim power risked undermining everything that had been achieved in Afghanistan over the past two decades, including advances in living standards and the education of girls. - AP


Evacuation of Indians from Afghanistan happening in flawless manner: Union Minister

Union Minister V. Muraleedharan on Sunday said the evacuation process of Indians from Kabul in Afghanistan, in the backdrop of the deteriorating situation in the city after its takeover by the Taliban, was happening in a flawless manner and the Central government will bring back all Indian citizens, who want to come back. - PTI


Kerala CM thanks PM Modi and MEA for Afghan evacuation


Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday said the evacuation and repatriation of Indian nationals ,including Keralites, from Afghanistan by the Ministry of External Affairs was "commendable" and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Vijayan, in a tweet, thanked the Ministry and Modi and said the Keralites requiring assistance can contact Norka roots. - PTI


Pentagon asks airlines for help moving evacuees

The Pentagon said on Sunday that it is formally seeking airlift help from commercial airlines to relocate evacuees from Afghanistan once they have gotten out of their country.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has activated the initial stage of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet program, asking for 18 aircraft: three each from American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines and Omni Air; two from Hawaiian Airlines; and four from United Airlines. - PTI

New Delhi

India brings back close to 400 people in three flights


India on August 22 brought back nearly 400 people, including 329 of its nationals and two Afghan lawmakers, in three different flights as part of its efforts to evacuate its citizens from Kabul in the backdrop of the deteriorating situation in the city after its takeover by the Taliban.

A total of 168 people, including 107 Indians and 23 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, were flown from Kabul to the Hindon airbase near Delhi in a C-17 heavy-lift military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF).


U.S., Spain agree use of military bases in Spain for Afghan refugees


U.S. President Joe Biden and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez agreed two military bases in southern Spain can be used to receive Afghans who have worked for the U.S. government, the Spanish government said on August 22.

In a 25-minute telephone conversation on Saturday night, Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanchez agreed Moron de la Frontera near Seville and Rota near Cadiz can be used for refugees from Afghanistan until their travel to other countries is arranged. - Reuters


Afghan returnees to be vaccinated against polio in India

India has decided to vaccinate Afghanistan returnees against polio for free as a preventive measure against the wild polio virus, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Sunday.

The minister also shared a photo where returnees could be seen getting jabs at the Delhi international airport.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries in the world where polio is still endemic.



British military: 7 Afghans killed in chaos at Kabul airport


The British military says seven Afghan civilians have been killed in the crowds near Kabul's international airport amid the chaos of those fleeing the Taliban takeover of the country.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement on August 22 that "conditions on the ground remain extremely challenging but we are doing everything we can to manage the situation as safely and securely as possible.” - AP


IS threat forces U.S. changes to evacuations at Kabul airport

Potential Islamic State threats against Americans in Afghanistan are forcing the U.S. military to develop new ways to get evacuees to the airport in Kabul, a senior U.S. official said on August 21, adding a new complication to the already chaotic efforts to get people out of the country after its swift fall to the Taliban.

The official said that small groups of Americans and possibly other civilians will be given specific instructions on what to do, including movement to transit points where they can be gathered up by the military. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss military operations.

The changes come as the U.S. Embassy issued a new security warning Saturday telling citizens not to travel to the Kabul airport without individual instruction from a U.S. government representative. Officials declined to provide more specifics about the IS threat but described it as significant. They said there have been no confirmed attacks as yet. - AP


Trump assails Biden for Afghanistan 'humiliation'

Former President Donald Trump launched a sustained attack on President Joe Biden's handling of the retreat of U.S. forces from Afghanistan on August 21, which he called "the greatest foreign policy humiliation" in U.S. history.

"Biden’s botched exit from Afghanistan is the most astonishing display of gross incompetence by a nation’s leader, perhaps at any time," Mr. Trump said at a boisterous rally packed with his supporters near Cullman, Alabama. - Reuters


Australia evacuates more than 300 overnight from Afghanistan: PM

Australia ran four flights into Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday night, evacuating more than 300 people, including Australians, Afghan visa holders, New Zealanders, U.S. and British citizens, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on August 22.

"We will continue to run those flights, working together with our partners and our allies," Mr. Morrison told the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) Insiders program on August 22. - PTI


U.S., Germany advise against travel to Kabul airport amid evacuation chaos

The United States and Germany on August 21 told their citizens in Afghanistan to avoid travelling to Kabul airport, citing security risks as thousands of desperate people gathered trying to flee almost a week after Taliban Islamists took control. - PTI


Russian envoy to Kabul: Taliban offering a deal

The Russian ambassador in Kabul says the Taliban have asked his embassy to convey their offer of a deal to a remaining pro-government holdout in northern Afghanistan.

Ambassador Dmitry Zhirnov said on August 21 that a senior member of the Taliban's political leadership has asked Russia to tell fighters in the Panjshir Valley that the Taliban hope to reach a political agreement to settle the situation there.

The diplomat says the Taliban claim they don't want bloodshed in the region. - PTI

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