Afghanistan crisis updates | September 10, 2021

Taliban personnel stand beside a plane at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday. Some 200 foreigners, including Americans, flew out of Afghanistan on an international commercial flight from Kabul airport on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: AP

Terming the situation in Afghanistan as “very fragile”, India has said it is important that the Taliban adheres to its commitment to not allow the use of the Afghan soil for terrorism, including from terror groups designated under Security Council resolution 1267 that lists Pakistan-based outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Earlier on Friday, claiming that the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has put 20 years of steady economic gains at risk, the United Nations development agency says that Afghanistan is teetering on the brink of “universal poverty” which could become a reality in the middle of next year unless urgent efforts are made to bolster local communities and their economies.

Also read: Return of the Mullahs: On the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

Meanwhile, U.N. special envoy for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons has warned that the Taliban have already “visibly welcomed and sheltered” al-Qaeda members.

On Thursday, in a first such large-scale departure since U.S. forces completed their frantic withdrawal over a week ago, an estimated 200 foreigners, including Americans, left Afghanistan on a commercial flight out of Kabul on Thursday with the cooperation of the Taliban.

Also read: The fall of Afghanistan, the fallout in West Asia

Although the White House praised the Taliban for their “businesslike” and “professional” cooperation in facilitating the departure of American citizens and lawful permanent residents on charter flights, the U.S., however, said that the interim Taliban government does not reflect what the international community and the United States hoped to see.

Also read: Explained | Who is Mullah Hasan Akhund? What does the Taliban’s choice of interim prime minister mean for Afghanistan?

Here are the latest developments:

6:15 pm

Do not isolate us from international cricket: Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO to Cricket Australia

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) CEO Hamid Shinwari on Friday asked Cricket Australia (CA) to reconsider its decision not to host its men's team for a Test in November, saying such a move will only isolate the strife-torn country.

Soon after forming an interim government, the Taliban banned women from playing cricket or any others sports, casting doubts over Afghanistan men's team Test status.

As per ICC rules, all Test playing nations must have a women's team as well.

"We ask Cricket Australia and the whole cricketing world to keep the door open for us, walk with us, do not isolate us and avoid penalising us for our cultural and religious environment," Mr. Shinwari said.- PTI

2 p.m.

Spain seeks help from Pakistan to evacuate Afghans who worked for the country

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez   | Photo Credit: AP

 

Spain’s Foreign Minister is in Islamabad for talks with Pakistani officials aimed at easing the transit of Afghan people who worked with Spain before Afghanistan’s fall into the hands of the Taliban.

Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares is scheduled to hold meetings with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and his counterpart, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, among other officials.

In a video released by the Spanish ministry, Mr. Albares said that the goal was to hold talks “with one of the main key players in the region” and find ways to “leave no one behind.” The Minister said he would give assurances to the Pakistani government that Spain’s embassy would deal fast with Afghans who worked for the country in order for them not to become a burden for Pakistan.- AP

1.45 p.m.

Pakistan says Afghanistan in crisis helps no one

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi   | Photo Credit: AP

 

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister says it is the collective responsibility of the international community to help Afghanistan to avert a humanitarian crisis.

In a statement Friday, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that despite having limited resources, Pakistan a day earlier sent a plane carrying food and medicines to Kabul. Qureshi said more such aid will be dispatched to Afghanistan via land routes.

Mr. Qureshi made his comments ahead of the visit of his Spanish counterpart, José Manuel Albares, who was expected to arrive in the capital, Islamabad, later Friday, for talks on Afghanistan.

Mr. Qureshi said that a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan wouldn't be anyone's interest — in the region or in the world. Pakistan wants the international community to unfreeze Afghanistan’s assets to enable Kabul use its own money to avert a worsening humanitarian crisis.

- AP

1.30 p.m.

Russia to reinforce its Tajikistan base with new tanks

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and his Tajik counterpart Imomali Rakhmon (2nd L) visit Russian military base number 201 in Dushanbe. File

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and his Tajik counterpart Imomali Rakhmon (2nd L) visit Russian military base number 201 in Dushanbe. File   | Photo Credit: Reuters

 

Russia is to equip its military base in Tajikistan, which neighbours Afghanistan, with 30 new tanks by the end of the year, the Interfax news agency reported.

Moscow has held military exercises in Tajikistan and expanded the hardware at the base, its biggest in a foreign country, since the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban's lightning takeover.

Russia is worried about the potential for fallout in the wider region and the possibility of Islamist militants infiltrating Central Asia, which Moscow sees as its southern defensive buffer.

Tajikistan's border with Afghanistan stretches for 1,344 km (835 miles), and much of it is mountainous and hard to police.

- Reuters

12 p.m.

Taliban must adhere to the commitment on not allowing Afghan soil for terrorism, says India

India's Permanent Representative to U.N., T.S. Tirumurti, along with representatives of UNSC member countries on September 10, 2021.

India's Permanent Representative to U.N., T.S. Tirumurti, along with representatives of UNSC member countries on September 10, 2021.  

 

India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador T. S. Tirumurti said at the U.N. Security Council Debate on Afghanistan on Thursday that as Afghanistan’s neighbour, India was privileged to preside over the adoption of a substantial and forward-looking product of the Council during its presidency of the 15-nation U.N. body last month.

The resolution on Afghanistan “took into account some of our collective concerns, in particular on terrorism, where it has noted the commitment of the Taliban not to allow the use of the Afghan soil for terrorism, including from terrorists and terrorist groups designated under Resolution 1267.

The Security Council resolution has “underlined that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or to finance terrorist acts. As witnessed from the deplorable terrorist attack at Kabul Airport last month, terrorism continues to pose a serious threat to Afghanistan. It is therefore important that commitments made in this regard are respected and adhered to,” Mr. Tirumurti said.

- PTI

11 a.m.

Teams may refuse to play Afghanistan at T20 World Cup, says Australia Test captain Tim Paine

Tim Paine

Tim Paine   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

 

Australia captain Tim Paine said that the chances of their first ever test against Afghanistan going ahead are "not looking good" with the Taliban unwilling to let women play cricket and questioned why the game's governing body had remained quiet on the issue.

"I don't think we want to be associated with countries that are taking things or opportunities off literally half of their population."

Paine said he could not see how Afghanistan can be allowed to play in an ICC event under the current circumstances. "But as yet we've heard nothing from the ICC, which I think is fascinating given there is a T20 World Cup in a month's time and at the moment Afghanistan are in that," he said questioning ICC's silence over the matter.

"It will be interesting to see what happens in that space. Does the team get kicked out of the World Cup? I imagine it will be impossible if teams are pulling out against playing against them and governments are not letting them travel to our shores, then how a team like that can be allowed to play in an ICC sanctioned event is going to be very, very hard to see."

- Reuters

9 a.m.

Afghanistan on brink of “universal poverty”, says U.N.

In this October 29, 2019 photo, Yousuf, who fled with his family from his home in eastern Afghanistan eight years ago to escape the war, sits with children while his wife burns plastic as she makes tea, in Kabul, Afghanistan. File

In this October 29, 2019 photo, Yousuf, who fled with his family from his home in eastern Afghanistan eight years ago to escape the war, sits with children while his wife burns plastic as she makes tea, in Kabul, Afghanistan. File   | Photo Credit: AP

 

The United Nations development agency says Afghanistan is teetering on the brink of “universal poverty” which could become a reality in the middle of next year unless urgent efforts are made to bolster local communities and their economies.

It said the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has put 20 years of steady economic gains at risk.

The U.N. Development Program outlined four scenarios for Afghanistan following the Taliban’s Aug. 15 assumption of power that predict the country’s GDP will decline between 3.6% and 13.2% in the next fiscal year starting in June 2022, depending on the intensity of the crisis and how much the world engages with the Taliban. That is in sharp contrast to the expected 4% growth in GDP before the fall of the government.

- AP

8.30 a.m.

Flight takes about 200, including Americans, out of Kabul

An estimated 200 foreigners, including Americans, left Afghanistan on a commercial flight out of Kabul on Thursday with the cooperation of the Taliban — the first such large-scale departure since U.S. forces completed their frantic withdrawal over a week ago.

The Qatar Airways flight to Doha marked a breakthrough in the bumpy coordination between the U.S. and Afghanistan’s new rulers. A dayslong standoff over charter planes at another airport has left hundreds of mostly Afghan people stranded, waiting for Taliban permission to leave.

A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorised to talk to the media, said the Taliban's foreign minister and deputy prime minister helped facilitate the flight. Americans, U.S. green card holders and other nationalities, including Germans, Hungarians and Canadians, were aboard, the official said.

- AP

8 a.m.

U.N. envoy says Taliban have already 'visibly welcomed and sheltered' al-Qaeda

United Nations special envoy for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons warned that the Taliban have already “visibly welcomed and sheltered” al-Qaeda members, and Islamic State extremists remain active “and could gain strength.” She told the UN Security Council it will have to decide how to engage with many of the 33 members of the Taliban government who are on the UN sanctions blacklist, including the prime minister, the two deputy prime ministers and the foreign minister.

The U.N. special envoy also urged the world to unite to prevent the collapse of the Afghan economy, to address fears that the Taliban's Islamic state may spread to its neighbours, and to fight terrorism.

But Mr. Lyons said the worsening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan must be addressed now, while warning there is another “looming crisis” caused by the freezing of billions of dollars in Afghan assets.

- PTI

7.30 a.m.

Interim Taliban govt does not reflect what international community hoped to sees, says U.S.

The interim Taliban government does not reflect what the international community and the United States hoped to see, the Biden Administration said on Thursday.

"We have spoken about our reaction to the initial caretaker government. You have heard us say that the lack of inclusivity, the track records, the backgrounds of some of the individuals involved, are a cause for concern. It certainly does not reflect what the international community and what, as a part of that, the United States hoped to see," State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his press conference.

"Now, we note this is an initial caretaker government. We note that some of these positions remain unfulfilled. So what will be important to us is not only the composition of any future government of Afghanistan...again, we will look to see to it that it is inclusive, to see to it that it is representative of the people that the Taliban purport to represent," he said.

- PTI

7 a.m.

U.N. says Afghan staff increasingly harassed, intimidated since Taliban takeover

Afghan staff of the United Nations are being increasingly subjected to harassment and intimidation since the Taliban came to power last month, the U.N. special envoy on Afghanistan Deborah Lyons said on Thursday.

Mr. Lyons told the Security Council that U.N. premises had largely been respected, although there were some exceptions.

"We are ... increasingly worried by the growing number of incidents of harassment and intimidation against our national staff. We will continue to do everything possible to support our staff and keep them from harm's way," Mr. Lyons said.

"The U.N. cannot conduct its work - work that is so essential to the Afghan people - if its personnel are subjected to intimidation, fear for their lives, and cannot move freely," Mr. Lyons said on Thursday.

- Reuters

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