Afghanistan crisis updates | September 08, 2021

India is in “close contact” with both Moscow and Washington over developments in Afghanistan, official sources said, with two high-level intelligence delegations to Delhi this week

September 08, 2021 07:34 am | Updated 08:18 pm IST

The Hindu has learnt that an American delegation of intelligence and security officials, led by Chief of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) William Burns, is visiting the region including India and Pakistan, and held consultations with National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval on September 7 to discuss a number of issues arising from the Afghanistan evacuation effort and Taliban government formation. On September 8, the Russian Secretary of the Security Council General Nikolay Patrushev will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, NSA Doval and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, the MEA announced.

The separate meetings with U.S. and Russian officials in South Block come as the Taliban announced an acting or interim government led by Mohammad Hasan Akhund , and Abdul Ghani Baradar as deputy Prime Minister.

Here are the latest developments:

 

Nepal

Nepal rescues 895 of its nationals from Afghanistan

The Nepal government on Wednesday said it has evacuated 895 of its citizens from Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the war-torn country last month.

In the last 24 hours, 32 Nepalese nationals have arrived from Afghanistan in Kathmandu aboard a Qatar Airways aircraft, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Chaos has enveloped Kabul after the Afghanistan government collapsed and the Taliban seized control on August 14. Foreign nationals and even Afghan citizens have made desperate attempts to leave the war-torn country. - PTI

Pakistan

Afghanistan's 'new reality' requires world to discard 'old lenses': Pak FM Qureshi

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday hosted the first ministerial meeting of Afghanistan's neighbours since the Taliban took over in Kabul, saying that even though the situation in the war-weary country is "complex and fluid", its "new reality" required the world to discard "old lenses" and proceed with a "realistic approach".

Mr. Qureshi issued a series of tweets as he chaired the first virtual meeting of Foreign Ministers of China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - the neighbours of Afghanistan.

“The situation in Afghanistan remains complex and fluid. We hope the political situation stabilises leading to normalcy soon. The new reality requires us to discard old lenses, develop new insights and proceed with a realistic/pragmatic approach,” he said in one of his tweets. - PTI

India

Afghan students in city stage protest against Taliban & Pakistan

Students from Afghanistan staged a demonstration in Bengaluru on Wednesday against the Taliban takeover of their country and the alleged interference of Pakistan in its internal affairs.

They gathered at the Corporation Circle in the city, carrying placards and posters and raised slogans against Taliban and Pakistan. - PTI

 

At least 14 members of Taliban's govt on UNSC's terrorism blacklist

At least 14 members of the Taliban's hardline interim government in Kabul are on the UN Security Council's terrorism blacklist, including acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund and his both deputies, raising concern of the international community over the composition of the new Cabinet in Afghanistan.

Specially designated global terrorist Sirajuddin Haqqani, who carries a reward of USD 10 million US bounty on his head, is the acting interior minister while his uncle - Khalil Haqqani – has been named as acting minister for refugees.

Acting defence minister Mullah Yaqoob, acting foreign minister Mullah Ameer Khan Muttaqi and his deputy Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai are all listed under the UNSC 1988 Sanctions Committee, also known as the Taliban Sanctions Committee.

"At least 14 members of the Taliban's interim government are on the UN Security Council blacklist,” BBC Urdu reported. - AP

International

Elders leader tells U.N. council to protect rights

Former Irish president Mary Robinson, who heads the group of prominent former leaders founded by Nelson Mandela, called on China and Russia especially to tell the Taliban that participation of women in Afghan society and the education of girls are “non-negotiable and must be respected.”

Mary Robinson recalled visiting Afghanistan in March 2002 as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and being with the then minister of women's affairs and other Afghan women who had been active before the Taliban ruled from 1996-2001 when they drafted a charter of women's rights. - PTI

 

UN appeals for $606M to aid Afghans rest of year

The United Nations is making an emergency appeal for $606 million to help nearly 11 million people in Afghanistan for the four remaining months of 2021. It says they face a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by drought, displacement, chronic poverty and the sharp increase in hostilities as the Taliban swept to power.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs already has a $1.3 billion appeal for Afghanistan for the entire year of 2021, but it is only 39% funded, at just $498 million.

The agency's a “Flash Appeal” launched September 7 includes the $413 million from the original appeal that has not been funded and $193 million in new needs through December. - PTI

International

U.N. doesn't engage in recognition of governments, says its deputy spokesman on Taliban's new government

As the Taliban announced a hardline interim government in Afghanistan, a spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the United Nations does not engage in recognition of governments and reiterated that only a negotiated and inclusive settlement will bring sustainable peace to the conflict-torn country. “The U.N. Secretariat and the U.N. doesn't engage in acts of recognition of governments. That is a matter that's done by the member states, not by us,” Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, said at the daily press briefing on September 7 as he was asked equations about the Taliban announcing the caretaker government.

“From our standpoint, regarding today's announcement, only a negotiated and inclusive settlement will bring sustainable peace to Afghanistan." "The United Nations remains committed to contribute to a peaceful solution, promote the human rights of all Afghans, notably women and girls, promote sustainable development in line with Agenda 2030, and provide life-saving humanitarian assistance and critical support to civilians in need,” Mr. Haq said. - PTI

 

 

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

The Taliban announced on September 7 that Mullah Hasan Akhund has been appointed interim prime minister of Afghanistan. Akhund held a political role in the Taliban government of the 1990s, serving as foreign minister; however, his importance lies more in the development of the group’s religious identity. - PTI

 

Afghanistan

Taliban name new Afghan government, interior minister on U.S. sanctions list

The Taliban named Mullah Hasan Akhund, an associate of the movement's late founder Mullah Omar, as the head of Afghanistan's new government on Tuesday, with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of the movement's political office, as deputy.

Sarajuddin Haqqani, son of the founder of the Haqqani network, designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, will be the new interior minister, the Taliban's main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a news conference in Kabul.

Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, son of Mullah Omar, has been named as defence minister. All the appointments are in an acting capacity, Mujahid told a news conference in Kabul. - Reuters

 

 

CIA chief, Russian security head in Delhi

India is in “close contact” with both Moscow and Washington over developments in Afghanistan, official sources said, with two high-level intelligence delegations to Delhi this week.

The Hindu has learnt that an American delegation of intelligence and security officials, led by Chief of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) William Burns, is visiting the region including India and Pakistan, and held consultations with National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval on September 7 to discuss a number of issues arising from the Afghanistan evacuation effort and Taliban government formation.

On September 8, the Russian Secretary of the Security Council General Nikolay Patrushev will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, NSA Doval and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, the MEA announced. Both the MEA and the U.S. Embassy declined to confirm or deny the visit of Mr. Burns, when asked for a response by The Hindu.

USA

CIA veteran: al-Qaeda will rebuild within Afghanistan

The CIA man who briefed President George W Bush on September 11, 2001, and later President Barack Obama on the intelligence that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden said that he’s convinced the Taliban will invite al-Qaeda to rebuild in Afghanistan.

“There is no doubt in my mind,” said Michael Morell, who twice served as acting CIA director. “I believe that the Taliban will give safe haven to al-Qaeda, and I believe it will be al-Qaeda’s intention to again build its capability so that they can attack us here at home.” Morell spoke at an online forum sponsored by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, which is holding multiple panels this week to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. - PTI

International

China will try to work out arrangement with Taliban, says Biden

U.S. President Joe Biden said on September 7, 2021 that he was certain that China would try to work out an arrangement with the Taliban after the Islamic insurgents seized power in Afghanistan on August 15.

Asked if he was worried that China would fund the group, which is sanctioned under U.S. law, Mr. Biden told reporters, "China has a real problem with the Taliban. So they're going to try to work out some arrangement with the Taliban, I'm sure. As does Pakistan, as does Russia, as does Iran. They're all trying to figure out what do they do now." - Reuters

 

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