Afghanistan crisis updates | September 12, 2021

Presidents Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton gathered at the site where the World Trade Center towers fell two decades ago sharing a moment of silence to mark the anniversary of the nation's worst terrorist attack with a display of unity

Updated - September 12, 2021 09:25 pm IST

Published - September 12, 2021 09:50 am IST

The iconic Taliban flag is painted on a wall outside the American embassy compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 11, 2021

The iconic Taliban flag is painted on a wall outside the American embassy compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 11, 2021

The Taliban flag waved over the Afghan presidential palace the same day the U.S. and the world marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The milestone anniversary on September 11 takes place just weeks after the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the return to power of the Taliban, the faction that sheltered the Muslim militant group founded by Osama bin Laden that carried out the attacks.

Read | The Taliban regime | Return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

Meanwhile, The Taliban shot dead the brother of Amrullah Saleh , the former Vice-President of Afghanistan, and his driver in northern Panjshir Province, Saleh’s nephew said on September 11.

Here are the latest developments:



Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid says he lived in Kabul right under nose of his adversaries

Taliban’s spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, who appeared before the media for the first time in a decade at a press conference after the insurgent group seized Kabul last month, said that he lived in the Afghan capital right under the nose of his adversaries who considered him a 'ghost-like' figure during the war.

Mujahid, who operated in the shadows for years, also admitted that he studied at the Haqqania seminary in Nowshera in northwest Pakistan, which has also been dubbed the Taliban University or the 'University of Jihad' internationally.

"They (US and Afghan National Forces) used to think I did not exist," Mujahid told The Express Tribune newspaper in an interview.

"I escaped so many times from their raids and attempts to capture me that they seriously considered that ‘Zabiullah’ was a made up figure, not a real man who exists," the 43-year-old spokesman said. - PTI



Taliban say girls, women may study in no-men classrooms

The higher education minister in the new Taliban government says women can study in universities, including at post-graduate levels, but that classrooms will be gender-segregated and that Islamic dress is compulsory.

The minister, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, laid out the new policies at a news conference September 12, several days after Afghanistan's new rulers formed an all-male, all-Taliban government.



India, Australia pitch for 'broad-based and inclusive govt' in Afghanistan

India and Australia have called for a "broad-based and inclusive" government in Afghanistan to ensure long-term peace and stability in the war-torn country, signalling their clear unwillingness to accord any recognition to the Taliban regime.

In a joint statement issued early on September 12 following the inaugural India-Australia 2+2 ministerial dialogue, the two sides sought the protection of rights of women and children and their full participation in public life and expressed concerns over targeted violence against the defenders of their rights. -PTI


Ex-Afghan leader hosts tribal elders on 9/11

Afghanistan’s first 2001 post-Taliban president Hamid Karzai marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America with a meeting of tribal elders at his high-walled compound in the Afghan capital where he has remained with his family since the August return of the Taliban to Kabul.

In a tweet, Mr. Karzai called for “peace and stability” and expressed the hope that the new caretaker Cabinet that included no women and no non-Taliban would become an “inclusive government that can be the real face of the whole Afghanistan.” -AP


Marine killed by Afghan bomb comes home to U.S.

The body of a U.S. Marine killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan has returned home to Massachusetts on the 20th anniversary of the attacks that led to the war.

Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, was among the U.S. service members and Afghans killed in the August 26 bombing near the Kabul airport. -PTI


The Taliban are lying, France's foreign minister says

The Taliban are lying and France will not have any relationship with its newly-formed government, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said late on September 11 before heading for talks in Qatar on September 12 to discuss future evacuations from Afghanistan.

"They said they would let some foreigners and Afghans leave freely and (talked) of an inclusive and representative government, but they are lying," Le Drian said on France 5 TV. -REUTERS


In NYC, Trump criticizes Afghanistan withdrawal

Former President Donald Trump commemorated the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks by visiting a fire station and police precinct in New York, where he criticized his successor for the way he pulled out of Afghanistan last month.

Mr. Trump skipped joining President Joe Biden and other past presidents at official 9/11 memorial ceremonies September 11 at the World Trade Center and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Instead, he traveled several blocks from his Trump Tower building in Manhattan to the 17th police precinct and the neighboring fire station. Speaking to officers, Mr. Trump criticized the withdrawal from Afghanistan and expressed surprise about why it hadn't come up in other 9/11 memorial speeches. “It was gross incompetence,” he said of the exit.



Afghan women rally in support of the Taliban

Afghan women wearing full face veils sat in rows at a Kabul university lecture theatre Saturday, pledging commitment to the Taliban's hardline policies on gender segregation.

About 300 women — covered head-to-toe in accordance with strict new dress policies for education—waved Taliban flags as speakers railed against the West and expressed support for the Islamists' policies.

A handful wore blue burqas, which have only a small mesh window to see from, but most wore black niqabs covering most of the face apart from the eyes.


Afghanistan should never again become safe haven for 'breeding and training' of terrorists: India, Australia after 2+2 dialogue

Afghanistan must not allow its soil to be used for terrorism and it should never again become a safe haven for "breeding and training" of terrorists, India and Australia asserted on September 11 as they joined the world in marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

A resolve to deepen strategic cooperation and a commitment towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific in the face of increasing Chinese assertiveness were some of the key highlights of the inaugural '2+2' talks between External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and their Australian counterparts Marise Payne and Peter Dutton here.



Pak ISI chief hosts security meeting of intel head of regional countries on Afghanistan

Pakistan’s ISI chief on September 11 hosted a key security meeting of intelligence heads of regional countries, including China, on the evolving situation in Afghanistan, according to media reports.

Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed, the Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), discussed the issue of Afghanistan with intelligence heads of China, Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan here, The Express Tribune reported. -PTI


U.S. marks 20 years since 9/11, in shadow of Afghan war's end

Americans solemnly marked the 20th anniversary of 9/11 on September 11, remembering the dead, invoking the heroes and taking stock of the aftermath just weeks after the bloody end of the Afghanistan war that was launched in response to the terror attacks.

The ceremony at ground zero in New York began exactly two decades after the deadliest act of terrorism on U.S. soil started with the first of four hijacked planes crashing into one of the World Trade Center's twin towers. -PTI

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