Numerous nations around the globe are calling for all those involved in the events in Afghanistan to respect the wishes of Afghans and foreign nationals.
Sunday night, more than 60 countries issued a joint statement citing “the deteriorating security condition” in Afghanistan. According to the statement, those in power across the country “bear accountability and responsibility for the protection and preservation of human life and property and the immediate restoration and maintenance of civil order and security.”
In their statement, the nations also stated that roads, airports, and border crossings must remain accessible and that calm must be maintained.
The statement concluded that the Afghan people deserve to live in safety and security with dignity. The international community stands ready to help them.
The State Department distributed the statement to U.S. media.
SEOUL, South Korea — The South Korean Foreign Ministry stated that it had “temporarily shut down” its Kabul embassy and sent most of its staff to a third country in the Middle East.
According to the ministry, a few diplomats (including Ambassador Choi Taeho) remain in Afghanistan in support of the evacuation of a South Korean national. The Seoul government also said that it is working closely with the United States to ensure their safe evacuation.
Since 2007, South Korea has placed Afghanistan on its travel ban list. According to reports, there were five South Koreans in Afghanistan at the time that the Seoul government demanded they leave within 10 days of the United States and NATO initiating troop withdrawals.
WASHINGTON — The American flag is not being flown at the U.S. Embassy Kabul due to evacuations from Afghanistan’s capital. According to The Associated Press, almost all embassy staff have been moved to the city’s international airport.
According to the official, the flag is actually with embassy personnel who are among thousands of Americans waiting for flights. The official spoke only under condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the details.
The Pentagon and the State Department made a joint statement on Sunday night to say that they are working together to ensure safe departures of military and civilian aircraft.
According to the statement, the U.S. security presence will increase to almost 6,000 troops in the next two days. They will also take over air traffic control.
These include American citizens, Afghans who are currently living in Afghanistan, local U.S. Mission staff in Kabul, their families, and other vulnerable Afghan nationals.
The departure plan also includes thousands of Afghans who are eligible for U.S. special immigration visas. Over the past two weeks, nearly 2,000 people with special visas arrived in the United States.
— Matthew Lee.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden, and other top U.S. officials, have been shocked by the speed at which the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan. As the plan for withdrawal of American troops became urgently a mission to ensure safe evacuation,
The rapid collapse of the Afghan government and the chaos that followed was the greatest test for Biden’s leadership and he was subject to harsh criticism from Republicans who claimed he had failed.
Biden ran as an experienced expert in international relations. He spent months debunking the possibility of an ascendant Taliban, while also arguing that Americans have had enough of a 20 year war. This conflict showed the limits of military might and money to force democracy Western-style on a society that was not ready to accept it.
However, senior officials in the administration admitted that they were caught unaware by the rapid collapse of Afghan security forces on Sunday. After reports of gunfire at Kabul’s airport, Americans sought refuge as they waited for flights to safety.
UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged the Taliban and other parties to show “utmost restraint” to ensure that Afghans are safe and humanitarian aid is delivered.
Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the U.N., stated Sunday that “the United Nations is determined to contribute towards a peaceful settlement and promote the human rights in Afghanistan, particularly women and girls, as well as provide vital humanitarian assistance to civilians who are in dire need.”
According to the U.N. humanitarian office, members of the humanitarian community (both from the U.N. as well as non-governmental organizations) remain committed to aiding the millions of Afghans in need and will continue to stay in Afghanistan despite the “highly complicated” security environment.
OCHA (Office for Civil and Human Rights) released a statement Sunday stating that 18.4 million people needed assistance, before 550,000 people were forced to flee conflict in this year’s first quarter. This figure has more than doubled since May.
This article has been corrected to reflect that OCHA stated that more than 18.4million people are in urgent need of assistance and not 550,000.
KABUL (Afghanistan) — A Taliban spokesman tells The Associated Press the Taliban are holding talks to form an “open, inclusive Islamic government” for Afghanistan.
Suhail Shaheen spoke with the AP shortly after the Taliban took over most of the country within a matter days. They then pushed into Kabul as the United States tried to pull diplomats and civilians out.
An earlier Taliban official claimed that the group would announce a new government at the presidential palace. However, those plans seem to have been put on hold.
WASHINGTON — Another 1,000 troops are being sent by the United States to Afghanistan. This brings the total U.S. troop presence to approximately 6,000.
According to a defense official, 1,000 troops from the 82nd Airborne will be going directly to Kabul rather than going to Kuwait as a reserve force. To discuss a decision about a deployment not yet made public by the Pentagon, the defense official spoke under anonymity.
Joe Biden, the President of the United States, authorized Saturday’s troop deployment to increase to approximately 5,000 troops by adding another 1,000. Since then, the Taliban has entered Kabul’s capital and the Afghan president fled the country.
Helicopters have been evacuated personnel from the U.S Embassy. Other Western missions are also preparing to take their people out.
KABUL (Afghanistan) — Al-Jazeera’s news network airs footage of a large Taliban group inside the capital of Afghanistan’s presidential palace.
Expect the Taliban to announce their takeover at the palace and rename the country the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. As the U.S. prepares to pull out after 20 years of war, most of Afghanistan has been seized by the militants in just a few days.
LONDON — The British Defense Ministry has announced that U.K. troops arrived in Kabul to assist with the evacuation of remaining Britons.
After chairing a meeting of the Cabinet emergency committee, Boris Johnson stated that the priority was to expel British nationals and Afghans who have aided U.K forces in Afghanistan for the past 20 years “as quickly as possible.”
Sky News reported that the ambassador was working around the clock and had been present at the airport to process the applications. “We have the resources at the moment to get them out… It’s just about making sure they can do it in the next few days.”
Johnson stated that the “vast majority” of officials and staff from embassy have already left Afghanistan.
NEW YORK — Latest developments in Afghanistan. A Taliban blitz took large swathes of territory in just weeks prior to the withdrawal of American and NATO troops.
At the request of Estonian and Norwegian, the U.N. Security Council will hold a special meeting on Monday morning about Afghanistan (10 am EDT).
The Council diplomats stated Sunday that Antonio Guterres, U.N Secretary-General, will inform council members about the current situation following the Taliban takeover in Kabul.
On Friday, the U.N. chief urged Taliban leaders to stop their offensive in Afghanistan and to negotiate “in good faith” with them to avoid a prolonged civil conflict. He said that he was “deeply disturbed” by the Taliban’s early attempts to impose severe restrictions on areas they control, especially those affecting journalists and women.
KABUL (Afghanistan) — U.S. military officials have confirmed that Kabul’s international airport is closed to commercial flights because of ongoing military evacuations.
Afghans who fear Taliban rule are deprived of one last escape route, which is commercial flight. They spoke under anonymity to discuss the ongoing operations.
In a matter of days, the Taliban had captured the majority of the country and were able to sweep into the capital city on Sunday.
Scenes of chaos unfolded at the airport earlier as Afghans raced to board the last flight out of Afghanistan.
Online videos showed airport staff struggling to board a plane in coral crowds while a man lying on the ground with a broken leg was watching. A U.S. Air Force plane was spotted landing in the background.
KABUL (Afghanistan) — A Taliban official claims that the group will soon declare Islamic Emirate Afghanistan from Kabul’s presidential palace.
This was the name of the country that the Taliban government dissolved after the attacks on September 11, 2001. Because he wasn’t authorized to brief media, the official spoke under anonymity.
KABUL (Afghanistan) — The U.S. Embassy has suspended all operations and advised Americans to shelter in place. It said it had received reports of gunfire at Kabul’s international airport.
After the Taliban took over most of Afghanistan and entered the capital on Sunday, the U.S. is racing for diplomats and citizens to be evacuated from Afghanistan.
The embassy released a statement saying that the security situation in Kabul was changing rapidly and that the situation at the airport was rapidly deteriorating.
We are directing U.S. citizens not to go into the airport, as there are reports of it being set on fire. Effective immediately, the U.S. Embassy has suspended consular operations in Afghanistan. You should not visit the Embassy or airport during this time.”
PARIS — France will relocate its embassy to Kabul to the airport in order to evacuate all Afghan citizens. Initially, they will transfer them to Abu Dhabi.
Jean-Yves Le Drain, Foreign Minister, stated Sunday in a statement that military reinforcements would be deployed to the United Arab Emirates in the next hours “so that Abu Dhabi can begin its first evacuations.”
Since May, evacuations have been ongoing and France placed a charter flight in mid-July. France has relocated 600 Afghans to France from French structures that were under threat since May.
France began to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in 2013 and 2015. Since then, former personnel of the French Army as well as their families, which included some 1,350 Afghans were brought to France.
KABUL (Afghanistan) — Afghan leaders created a coordination committee to meet with Taliban leaders and manage the transfer power. This was after the lightening offensive by religious militias swept to Kabul.
Hamid Karzai posted a statement on social media stating that the body would be headed by Abdullah Abdullah (head of the High Council for National Reconciliation), as well as Gulbudin Hukmatyar (leader of Hizb-e-Islami), and him.
According to the statement, the move was made “to prevent chaos and decrease the suffering of the people” and “to manage peace and a peaceful transfer.”
BERLIN — More than 550,000 Afghans have fled their homes since the beginning of the year, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
The UNHCR, Geneva-based, published a situational update Sunday showing that 126,000 people were affected by the conflict in the month ending Aug. 9.
UNHCR spokeswoman said that although the situation in Afghanistan is fluid, the “for now, the displacement is mostly internal.”
Shabia Mantoo stated that “there is a need for support the humanitarian response to the country.” “If we see cross-border movement, then additional support from outside the country will also be required.”
She said that the agency still has staff from Afghanistan and other countries.
BERLIN — German media issued an urgent appeal for Angela Merkel, the country’s foreign minister, to establish an emergency visa program for Afghan staff members who have worked for them.
Sunday’s open letter by major German newspapers, commercial and public broadcasters, as well as the dpa news agency, warned that “the lives and livelihoods of these freelance workers are now in serious danger.”
Media outlets highlighted that reporting from Afghanistan in the past 20 years would not have been possible without the bravery and efforts of Afghan staff: stringers, translators, and local journalists.
The letter cited several recent attacks on journalists and stated that it was “to be feared that such killings will now dramatically escalate” due to the Taliban’s advance. Many of our staff are also at risk.
It states, “We are confident: there is no time for us to lose now.” “Our staff members who wish to leave the country face persecution, arrest, torture, and death. We ask that you quickly act.
KABUL (Afghanistan) — Officials in Afghanistan say President Ashraf Ghani fled the country after the Taliban advanced into Kabul.
Ghani left the country, according to two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to inform journalists. Abdullah Abdullah (head of the Afghan National Reconciliation Council) later confirmed that Ghani had left via an online video.
“He left Afghanistan in a hard time, God hold him accountable,” Abdullah said.
Ghani’s location and destination are unknown at the moment.
TORONTO — Canada has suspended diplomatic activities in Afghanistan, and Canadian personnel are returning to Canada.
Marc Garneau, Foreign Minister, stated in a statement that the decision to suspend operations was temporary and that the Embassy will reopen if security conditions permit staff to remain safe.
Over 13 years, some 40,000 Canadian soldiers were deployed to Afghanistan as part of NATO’s mission. They left in 2014 after being outlawed. More than 150 Canadian soldiers were killed during the Afghanistan mission.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken said that the U.S. is moving to evacuate the remaining staff at its Embassy in Kabul, as the Taliban invade the Afghan capital. He is denying America’s hasty exit and saying that “this is clearly not Saigon.”
Blinken spoke on ABC’s Sunday show “This Week”, saying that the compound itself is being evacuated by its inhabitants and they are moving to the airport.
Blinken confirmed that U.S. Embassy employees were destroying documents and other objects in preparation for fleeing the embassy. However, he said, “This is being done very deliberately, it’s been done in an ordered way and it’s done with American forces there in order to ensure we can do this in a safe manner.”
U.S. military helicopters lifted off from the embassy grounds on Sunday to evacuate Kabul. Smoke rose into the sky as officials from the U.S. worked to prevent sensitive material falling into the hands of Taliban.
This scene is a result of President Joe Biden’s earlier dismissal of any possibility that the Taliban could seize Afghanistan or that there would be scenes similar to the Vietnam war, where military helicopters took off from the rooftops of embassy buildings.
Blinken supported Biden’s decision in ending the almost 20-year U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. He said that Biden was tied by a 2020 withdrawal agreement President Donald Trump made with the Taliban.
Blinken stated that if Biden had delayed the withdrawal, then “we would be back at war with Taliban” and forced to send tens of thousand of American troops back to Afghanistan.
Oklahoma City: __ Ellen Knickmeyer