Afghanistan crisis updates | September 9, 2021

Afghan women shout slogans during an anti-Pakistan protest rally, near the Pakistan embassy in Kabul on September 7.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Two days after Taliban announced the formation of an interim government, U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the al-Qaeda extremist group that used Afghanistan as a staging base to attack United States 20 years ago may attempt to regenerate in the country. The Taliban had provided al-Qaeda with sanctuary while it ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

Earlier on Thursday, Taliban sought to end protests in Afghanistan after days of demonstrations that brought heavy-handed assaults on protesters.

The interior ministry of the new Taliban government issued an order to end all protests in the country — unless demonstrators get prior permission, including approval of slogans and banners.

In the words of the Ministry's statement: “It is announced to all citizens not to attempt at the present time to hold any demonstrations under any name whatsoever.”

Meanwhile, White House announced that the United States is ‘in no rush to rcognise the Taliban government’.

India, in the meantime, has conveyed its concerns to the top security and intelligence officials of the U.S., the U.K. and Russia over the possible implications of Pakistan's links with the Taliban and various terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan for regional security and stability.

Here are the latest developments:

 

 

5.00 pm

Westerners to board first commercial flight from Kabul

Afghanistan's Taliban authorities will allow between 100 and 150 Americans to fly out from Kabul in the coming hours, Qatari officials said on Thursday. It will be the first commercial flight from the international airport since it shuttered after the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country.

A Qatar Airways flight that landed earlier Thursday in Kabul carrying humanitarian aid would ferry the Americans out of Afghanistan, marking the resumption of such flights after the U.S. finished its frantic airlift at the end of August. - AP

4.30 pm

CIA director discusses regional security, Afghan situation with Pak Army chief, ISI head

America's Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns on Thursday met Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI head Lt Gen Faiz Hamid during which they discussed issues related to regional security issues and the current situation in Afghanistan, the military said.

The meeting was held after the Taliban on Tuesday unveiled a hardline interim government with at least 14 members of the Cabinet, including acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund, being listed on the UN Security Council's terrorism blacklist.

Mr. Burns and Mr. Bajwa exchanged views on matters of mutual interest, regional security and the current situation in Afghanistan, the Pakistan Army's media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said in a statement.

Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Hamid was also present during the meeting, it said. - PTI

4.00 pm

Afghanistan's acting PM appeals to past govt officials to return; assures 'full protection'

Afghanistan's acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund has appealed to former officials of past governments to return to the country and assured them "full protection", saying the period of bloodbath is over and they face a humongous task to rebuild the war-ravaged nation.

"We paid a heavy price for seeing this historic moment in Afghanistan," Mullah Hasan said on Wednesday, a day after the hardline Islamic insurgents unveiled an interim Cabinet after seizing power in Kabul.

"We appeal to the officials of past governments to return to their country as we will give them full protection of their lives. We are faced with the huge task of rebuilding and reconstruction of war-ravaged Afghanistan," he said. - PTI

1.45 pm

India has one of the highest stakes in developments in Afghanistan, says Meenakshi Lekhi

As an immediate neighbour of Afghanistan with long standing historical linkages, India has one of the highest stakes in the developments in the war-torn country, Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakashi Lekhi has said, highlighting that the $3 billion Indian investment in different welfare projects was aimed for the benefit of the Afghan people.

“As an immediate neighbour of Afghanistan with long standing historical linkages, we have one of the highest stakes in the developments in the country,” Ms. Lekhi said.

She noted that under India’s Presidency of the Security Council last month, the Council adopted Resolution 2593 which unequivocally underlined that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter, train terrorists, or plan or finance terrorist acts.

“It particularly underlined that terrorists, individuals and entities designated by UNSC resolution 1267, which is of direct importance to India, should not find support in Afghanistan’s territory and recalled the Taliban’s commitments," she said.

- PTI

12.45 pm

Qatar's FM to discuss Afghanistan with Pakistan

Pakistan says Qatar's Foreign Minister will arrive in Islamabad to discuss the latest situation in Afghanistan.

In a statement, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said Qatari chief diplomat Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani during his day-long visit on Thursday will meet with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other top officials.

The development comes two days after the Taliban announced an interim government for Afghanistan. The Taliban maintain a political office in Doha.

- PTI

12:30 pm

Pentagon chief says al-Qaeda may seek comeback in Afghanistan

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday the al-Qaeda extremist group that used Afghanistan as a staging base to attack United States 20 years ago may attempt to regenerate there following an American withdrawal that has left the Taliban in power.

“The whole community is kind of watching to see what happens and whether or not al-Qaeda has the ability to regenerate in Afghanistan,” he said. “The nature of al-Qaeda and (the Islamic State group) is they will always attempt to find space to grow and regenerate, whether it’s there, whether it’s in Somalia, or whether it’s in any other ungoverned space. I think that’s the nature of the organisation.”

The Taliban had provided al-Qaeda with sanctuary while it ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. The U.S. invaded and overthrew the Taliban after it refused to turn over al-Qaeda leaders following the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States. During the course of the 20-year U.S. war, al-Qaeda was vastly diminished, but questions have arisen about its future prospects with the Taliban back in Kabul.

Al-Qaeda may seek comeback in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan: Pentagon chief

12 pm

35 more evacuees from Afghanistan discharged from ITBP COVID-19 centre

35 people, including 11 Nepal nationals, who were evacuated from Afghanistan after the Taliban captured Kabul last month were discharged from an ITBP facility in New Delhi on Thursday after 14 days in quarantine.

With this, 113 people brought from Afghanistan to the Indian Tibetan Border Police facility for the mandated institutional quarantine have been discharged, said ITBP spokesperson Vivek Kumar Pandey. "The group that was discharged includes 24 Indians and 11 citizens from Nepal,” the spokesperson said.

Earlier this week, a batch of 78 people, including 53 Afghan nationals, were similarly allowed to leave after serving their quarantine period and undergoing a final RT-PCR test on September 7.

10.45 am

About 60,000 in Afghan evacuation brought to U.S.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says about 60,000 people have arrived in the country since August 17 from Afghanistan as part of the evacuation formally known as Operation Allies Welcome.

DHS said in the latest updated released on Wednesday that 17% of those arrivals are U.S. citizens and permanent residents who were in Afghanistan when the government there fell to the Taliban.

The remaining 83% are a mix of people.

About 60,000 in Afghan evacuation brought to U.S.

10.30 am

Taliban to allow 200 Americans, other civilians to leave Afghanistan -U.S. official

Taliban authorities have agreed to let 200 American civilians and Afghan nationals who remained in Afghanistan after the end of the U.S. evacuation operation to depart on charter flights from Kabul airport, a U.S. official said.

The Taliban were pressed to allow the departures by U.S.Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, said the official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The departures were expected on Thursday. The official couldnot say whether these Americans and third country nationals were among people stranded for days in Mazar-i-Sharif because their private charters have not been allowed to depart.

- Reuters

10.15 am

Australian Sports Minister urges ICC to take a stand against Taliban banning women's cricket

Reacting to recent media reports that the Taliban is banning women's sports, Australia's Sports Minister Richard Colbeck said the Taliban's position was "deeply concerning".

"Excluding women from sport at any level is unacceptable," he said in a statement carried by SBS.

Mr. Colbeck urged “international sport authorities, including the International Cricket Council (ICC), to take a stand against this appalling ruling."

The ICC, cricket's global governing body, said it was also concerned about reports of the ban.

"This and the impact it will have on the continued development of the game will be discussed by the ICC Board at its next meeting," an ICC spokesperson said in a statement.

- Reuters

10 am

Report: Taliban has banned women's sports in Afghanistan

Australia's SBS TV  has quoted a Taliban spokesperson as saying that women's sports — and women's cricket specifically — will be banned by his group in Afghanistan.

"In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this," the network quoted Ahmadullah Wasiq, the deputy head of the Taliban's cultural commission, as saying.

"It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it. Islam and the Islamic Emirate do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed." Wasiq last month told SBS that the Taliban would allow men's cricket to continue and that it has given approval for the men's national team to travel to Australia for a test match in November.

- PTI

9.30 am

Taliban decrees end to unapproved demonstrations

The Interior Minister of the new Taliban government has issued an order to end all protests in the country — unless demonstrators get prior permission, including approval of slogans and banners.

It's unlikely the women who have been leading near daily protest demanding their rights from the country's hardline Islamic rulers will be allowed to protest under the new rules. In the words of the ministry's statement: “It is announced to all citizens not to attempt at the present time to hold any demonstrations under any name whatsoever.”

Take approval on slogans, banners: Taliban decrees end to unapproved demonstrations

9 am

Former Afghan President tweets defence for fleeing

Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has taken to Twitter to say his flight from Kabul on August 15 was done to save Afghanistan's capital from bloodshed. He says his security personnel advised the secret departure, which opened the gates of the city to a Taliban takeover.

Mr. Ghani also denies widespread allegations of corruption and claims he left the country with millions of dollars. He says there should be an independent investigation.

Mr. Ghani's sudden departure has been widely criticised both in Afghanistan and abroad. Washington blamed Mr. Ghani's flight and the government's collapse for a Taliban takeover ahead of a negotiated deal.

- AP

8.45 am

Blinken to Taliban: Any legitimacy ''will have to be earned''

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that any legitimacy or international support for the Taliban “will have to be earned” after Afghanistan's new rulers announced an interim government that drew a deeply skeptical Western response.

Mr. Blinken said that the new Afghan government “certainly does not meet the test of inclusivity and it includes people who have very challenging track records.” The administration is stacked with veterans of the Taliban's hard-line rule from the 1990s and the 20-year battle against the U.S.-led coalition.

-AP

8.30 am

Australia will cancel Afghanistan test if Taliban bans women's cricket

Australia's cricket board said on Thursday that it will scrap a planned test match against the Afghanistan men's team if the Asian country's Taliban rulers do not allow women to play the sport.

Australian broadcaster SBS quoted a Taliban representative as saying he did not think women would be allowed to play cricket because it was "not necessary" and it would be against Islam if women players faced a situation where their face and body might be "uncovered".

Cricket Australia (CA) said driving the growth of women’s cricket was "incredibly important" to the board. "If recent media reports that women’s cricket will not be supported in Afghanistan are substantiated, Cricket Australia would have no alternative but to not host Afghanistan for the proposed test match due to be played in Hobart."

Australia will cancel Afghanistan test if Taliban bans women's cricket

8 am

U.S. not in a rush to recognise Taliban govt: White House

The United States is not in a rush to recognize the new interim government in Afghanistan, the White House said on Wednesday, asserting that it is talks with the Taliban to get American citizens out of the strife-torn country.

"No one in this administration, not the President nor anyone on the national security team, would suggest that the Taliban are respected and valued members of the global community. They have not earned that in any way, and we have never assessed that. This is a caretaker cabinet that does include four former imprisoned Taliban fighters," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily press conference.

7.30 am

Biden picks Wolosky to help coordinate resettlement of Afghan refugees

U.S. President Joe Biden has picked veteran diplomat Lee Wolosky to help coordinate the resettlement of refugees from the war in Afghanistan, an administration official said on Wednesday.

Mr. Wolosky will serve in the White House Counsel's Office and will work with officials with the National Security Council and other top administration aides to provide legal expertise on resettlement issues, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The United States has evacuated tens of thousands of Afghans from their home country during Biden's withdrawal from that country after 20 years of war, a hasty pullout that has drawn sharp criticism.

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 6:14:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/afghanistan-crisis-updates-taliban-decrees-end-to-unapproved-protests/article36374579.ece

Next Story