Taliban will soon declare the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’ from the presidential palace in Kabul which they captured on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Kabul airport has been closed for commercial flights as military evacuations continue. Here’s all you need to know.
The Taliban declared the war in Afghanistan was over after the outfit took control of the presidential palace in Kabul. President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed, while hundreds of Afghans desperate to leave flooded Kabul airport.
On Monday, Western nations scrambled to evacuate their citizens. American diplomats were flown by helicopter to the airport from their embassy in the fortified Wazir Akbar Khan district. Senior US military officials said Kabul International Airport has been closed to commercial flights as military evacuations continue in the city, reported The Associated Press.
An official part of the militant group said the Taliban will soon declare the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’ from the presidential palace– a return rich in symbolism to the name of the country under the Taliban government ousted by US-led forces after the 9/11 attacks.
TALIBAN TO DECLARE ‘ISLAMIC EMIRATE OF AFGHANISTAN’ FROM PRESIDENTIAL PALACE
A Taliban official has said the group will soon declare the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’ from the presidential palace in Kabul.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official said that it was the name of the country under the Taliban government ousted by US-led forces after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
The Taliban has warned government employees in Afghanistan to return to the way they were 20 years ago under Taliban rule.
“Make a fresh start. Beware of bribery, embezzlement, arrogance, corruption, laziness and indifference,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the Al-Jazeera news network is airing footage of a large group of Taliban fighters inside the presidential palace.
KABUL AIRPORT CLOSED TO COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS: OFFICIALS
Kabul’s international airport has been closed to commercial flights as military evacuations continue, senior US military officials were quoted as saying by AP.
The suspension of commercial flights cuts off one of the last avenues to escape the country for Afghans fearful of Taliban rule.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing operations.
ASHRAF GHANI CONFIRMS HE LEFT COUNTRY TO AVOID BLOODSHED
Hours after Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan, stepping down from the post of president, he confirmed the same, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed.
In a Facebook post late on Sunday, Ashraf Ghani said he came across a “hard choice” between the “armed Taliban” or “leaving the dear country that I dedicated my life to protecting the past 20 years”.
“If there were still countless countrymen martyred and they would face destruction and destruction of Kabul city, result would have been a big human disaster in this 6 million city. Taliban have made it to remove me, they’re here to attack all Kabul and the people of Kabul,” he said in the official statement.
Without disclosing details of his current location, Ashraf Ghani further added that in order to avoid bleeding flood, he thought it was best to get out.
“Taliban have won judgment of sword and guns and now they’re responsible for protecting countrymen’s honour, wealth and self-esteem…Never in history has dry power given legitimacy to anyone and won’t give it to them. Necessary for Taliban to assure all people, nations, different sectors, sisters and women of Afghanistan to win legitimacy and hearts of people. Make a clear plan to do and share it with public. I’ll always continue to serve my nation with intellectual moment and a plan to develop,” Ashraf Ghani added.
Meanwhile, sources said that Ashraf Ghani has left the Tajikistan capital, Dushanbe, on a private jet. He arrived in Dushanbe earlier in the day after his exit from Kabul.
Sources further said that he has arrived at a US airbase in Oman and is expected to travel to the US on a US craft shortly from Oman.
UNSC TO MEET ON MONDAY TO DISCUSS AFGHANISTAN SITUATION
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will meet on Monday at 10 am to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
On the other hand, the White House has said that US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met with their national security team and senior officials to hear updates on the draw down of the country’s civilian personnel in Afghanistan, evacuations of SIV applicants and other Afghan allies, and the ongoing security situation in Kabul.
UAE SUSPENDS EMIRATES, FLYDUBAI FLIGHTS TO AFGHANISTAN FROM MONDAY
The United Arab Emirates has suspended Emirates and ‘flydubai’ flights to Afghanistan from Monday until further notice, an airlines spokesperson has said.
Even British Airways flights have ordered pilots to avoid Afghan airspace because of deteriorating security there, British Airways Spox told news agency ANI.
REACTIONS FROM GLOBAL LEADERS
PAKISTANI FOREIGN OFFICE SPOKESMAN ZAHID HAFEEZ CHAUDHRY
“We’re concerned about the increasingly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan…We have not taken any decision to close our embassy,” Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry told Geo News TV.
AUSTRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ALEXANDER SCHALLENBERG
“Conflict and instability in the region will sooner or later spill over to Europe and thus to Austria,” Austria’s APA news agency quoted Alexander Schallenberg as saying in announcing an aid conference to support Afghanistan’s central Asian neighbours.
EU COMMISSIONER MARGARITIS SCHINAS
“The clock has run out on how long we can wait to adopt the complete overhaul of Europe’s migration and asylum rules we need,” Margaritis Schinas said in a tweet, citing his comments in Italian paper La Stampa.
TALIBAN SHOULDN’T BE RECOGNISED AS AFGHAN GOVT: UK PM
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the Taliban should not be recognised as the government of Afghanistan, adding that it was clear there would be a new administration in the country very shortly.
“We don’t want anybody bilaterally recognising the Taliban,” Boris Johnson said in an interview clip, urging the West to work together on Afghanistan through mechanisms such as the United Nations and NATO.
“We want a united position amongst all the like-minded as far as we can get one so that we do whatever we can to prevent Afghanistan lapsing back into being a breeding ground for terror,” he said.
UK troops have also arrived in Kabul to help evacuate remaining Britons there, Britain’s Defence Ministry said.
After chairing a Cabinet emergency committee meeting, Boris Johnson said that the priority is to get out British nationals, as well as Afghans who helped UK forces in Afghanistan over the past 20 years, “as fast as we can.”
INDIA HAS FLEET ON STANDBY TO EVACUATE STAFF
India is all set with contingencies and eventualities, including evacuating its staff in its embassy in Kabul and Indian citizens stranded in the country.
A fleet of C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force has been kept on standby to undertake evacuation missions, PTI reported.
“The government is closely monitoring fast-paced developments in Afghanistan. We will not put the lives of our staff at the Indian Embassy in Kabul at any risk,” a source said.
TALIBAN TAKE CONTROL OF AFGHAN PRESIDENTIAL PALACE
Taliban commanders said they have taken control of Afghanistan’s presidential palace.
According to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahidin, in order to prevent looting and chaos, their forces will enter some parts of Kabul, Afghanistan and occupy outposts that have been evacuated by security forces, TOLO News reported.
He has asked people not to panic due to their entrance into the city.
Meanwhile, Amrullah Saleh, First Vice President of Afghanistan said that he will never bow down to Taliban terrorists.
FRANCE RELOCATES KABUL EMBASSY TO AIRPORT
France is relocating its embassy in Kabul to the airport to evacuate all citizens still in Afghanistan, initially transferring them to Abu Dhabi.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drain said in a statement on Sunday that military reinforcements and aircraft would deploy in the hours ahead to the United Arab Emirates, “so that the first evacuations toward Abu Dhabi can start.”
Evacuations have been in progress for weeks and a charter flight has been put in place by France in mid-July. Since May, France has taken in Afghan employees from French structures under potential threat, with 600 people relocated to France.
US EMBASSY SUSPENDS OPERATIONS IN KABUL
The US Embassy in Kabul has suspended all operations and has asked all Americans to shelter in place, saying it has received reports of gunfire at the international airport.
Two powerful explosions took place on Sunday near the US Embassy and Afghan presidential palace in Kabul, Sputnik News reported.
The US is racing to airlift diplomats and citizens out of Afghanistan, news agency The Associated Press reported.
“The security situation in Kabul is changing quickly and the situation at the airport is deteriorating rapidly,” the embassy said in a statement.
“There are reports of the airport taking fire and we are instructing US citizens to shelter in place. The US Embassy in Afghanistan has suspended consular operations effective immediately. Do not come to the Embassy or airport at this time,” it added.
COUNCIL LED BY HAMID KARZAI TO OVERSEE TRANSITION OF POWER TO TALIBAN
Taking to Twitter, former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai announced the formation of a coordination council along with Gulbudeen Hekmatyar and Abdullah Abdullah to look at affairs and smooth transition from the Ashraf Ghani administration to Tehreek-e-Taliban’s Afghanistan.
He also called on government forces and the Taliban to control the current chaos on the streets of Kabul.
40 INJURED IN CLASHES IN KABUL
Unconfirmed reports have said that as many as 40 people have been injured in clashes in the suburbs of Kabul,
Meanwhile, acting Interior Minister of Afghanistan Abdul Sattar Mirskwal has ordered a night curfew in Kabul after 9 pm while asking residents to stay home and calm.
BRITISH LAWMAKERS CALLED BACK TO DISCUSS AFGHAN CRISIS
British lawmakers are being called back from their summer break to Parliament to discuss the worsening situation in Afghanistan.
“Parliament will be recalled for one day on Wednesday to debate the government’s response to the crisis. Prime Minister Boris Johnson also called a meeting of his Cabinet’s emergency committee as the Taliban advanced into Kabul, the Afghan capital,” officials said on Sunday.
The Sunday Telegraph reported that the UK’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Laurie Bristow, would be airlifted out of Afghanistan by Monday evening. However, the Foreign Office declined to comment on the report.
TALIBAN FORCES ASKED TO ENTER KABUL CITY
Taliban forces have been asked to enter the city of Kabul, TOLO News quoted Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid as saying.
He pledged that the security situation would be under control.
CANADA SUSPENDS DIPLOMATIC OPERATIONS IN AFGHANISTAN
Canada has suspended diplomatic operations in Afghanistan and the Canadian personnel are on their way back to their country, Khaama Press reported.
AIR INDIA FLIGHT FROM KABUL REACHES DELHI
Air India Flight AI243 carrying 129 passengers from Kabul landed at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) this evening. This was the last flight of the day. Further flights are unscheduled between Kabul – Delhi.
GHANI’S GOVT FAILED KABUL, SAYS FORMER AFGHAN PM
Former Afghan Prime Minister Gulbidin Hekmatyar has said that Ashraf Ghani’s government has failed Kabul, adding that the Afghan government hesitated to end the fighting and concede power in order to allow authority to be handed over to a government acceptable to all.
” The Taliban decided to avoid entering Kabul city, but some people are misusing the situation. People can ensure their security on their own. Indicating that Ghani’s faction could continue resistance, the defence minister too has hinted that,” Gulbidin Hekmatyar was quoted as saying by TOLO News.
ABDULLAH ABDULLAH CONFIRMS GHANI’S RESIGNATION AS AFGHANISTAN PRESIDENT
Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), has urged the people to keep their calm. He has also asked the Afghan forces to cooperate in ensuring security.
Abdullah Abdullah also called Ashraf Ghani a “former president” and said he has left the country.
Ashraf Ghani, NSA Mohib and DG Administration Office of President Fazel Fazly has left for Tajikistan, a senior interior ministry official said.
AFGHANISTAN DELEGATION ARRIVES IN PAKISTAN
A delegation from Afghanistan has arrived in Islamabad, Pakistan, Khaama News reported. Mir Rahman Rahmani, Mohammad Karim Khalili, Mohammad Younes Qanuni, Mohammad Mohaghegh, Ahmad Zia Massoud and Ahmad Wali Massoud are included in this delegation.
Negotiations on how to form a transitional government and the peaceful transfer of power are part of the mission, sources have said.
BLINKEN SAYS KABUL EMBASSY EVACUATION ‘OLDERLY’
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the US is evacuating the remaining staff at the US Embassy in Kabul as the Taliban entered the Afghan capital. But he is playing down America’s hasty exit, saying “this is manifestly not Saigon.”
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Blinken said: “The compound itself, our folks are leaving there, and moving to the airport.”
Blinken also confirmed that US Embassy workers were destroying documents and other items ahead of fleeing the embassy, but insisted “this is being done in a very deliberate way, it’s being done in an orderly way, and it’s being done by American forces there to make sure we can do it in a safe way.”
TALIBAN ENTER AFGHAN CAPITAL TWO DECADES AFTER US OUSTER
Taliban insurgents have entered Afghanistan’s capital Kabul saying they expected to take power within days, promising to moderate their earlier hardline Islamist rule even as foreign diplomats and many locals tried to leave.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has said that because security forces had left parts of Kabul city and their checkpoints, Taliban forces were entering the area to prevent chaos and looting.
In the statement, the Taliban called on the people not to be afraid of the Taliban.
PRESIDENT GHANI LEAVES KABUL
According to TOLO News, with the exit of President Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan no longer has an internationally recognised government.
Ashraf Ghani flew out of the country, two officials told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to brief journalists.
Civilians fearing that the Taliban could reimpose the kind of brutal rule that all but eliminated women’s rights rushed to leave the country, lining up at cash machines to withdraw their life savings.
POLICE SPECIAL UNITS DEPLOYED IN VARIOUS KABUL DISTRICTS
According to TOLO News, the Ministry of Interior has said that police special units have been deployed in various Kabul city districts to guard against “opportunists,” and the police have permission to fire. This comes even after the Taliban said in its statement that it would not enter Kabul.
NATO also that it is “helping to maintain operations at Kabul airport to keep Afghanistan connected with the world.”
In a statement, it said that it would also maintain its diplomatic presence in Kabul.
“The security of our personnel is paramount, and we continue to adjust as necessary,” it added.
“We support Afghan efforts to find a political solution to the conflict, which is now more urgent than ever,” the statement said.
TALIBAN ISSUING DEGREES UNDER ISLAMIC EMIRATE OF AFGHANISTAN EMBLEM
The Taliban has also started issuing degrees under the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’ emblem.
The spokesman of the ‘Islamic Emirate’ has assured banks, traders, money changers and shops in Kabul and other countries of the safety of their money and assets under the Taliban.
POPE CALLS FOR SOLUTIONS, PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN
Pope Francis has urged dialogue in Afghanistan so that people can live in peace and with security. He said that he shares “the unanimous concern for the situation in Afghanistan” as Taliban fighters sweep across the war-torn country.
From a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, the pope asked for prayers “so that the clamor of weapons may cease and solutions may be found at the negotiating table.”
“Only in this way, may the battered population of the country — men and women, elderly and children — return to their homes and live in peace and safety, with full mutual respect,” he added.
TALIBAN REPRESENTATIVE REACHES KABUL FOR NEGOTIATIONS WITH GHANI GOVT
Deputy chief of the Taliban,Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, has arrived in Kabul and is negotiating a transfer of power at the presidential palace.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin’s envoy to Afghanistan has said that there are no plans to evacuate the Russian embassy in Kabul.
The Taliban has promised to guarantee the safety of the Russian embassy in Kabul, Russia’s state news agency has reported.
“The organisation has “good relations with Russia” and a “policy in general to ensure safe conditions for the functioning of the Russian and other embassies,” news agency AP quoted Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office, as saying to Tass.
Zamir Kabulov told the Interfax news agency that Russia’s ambassador and its staff are “calmly carrying out their duties.”
TRANSFER WILL TAKE PLACE PEACEFULLY: AFGHAN MINISTER
Afghanistan’s Acting Interior Minister Abdul Sattar Mirzkwal on Sunday said that Kabul will not be attacked and the transfer will take place peacefully. He says the security of Kabul is the responsibility of the security forces. He assured that Afghan forces would ensure the security of the residents in the capital city.
TALIBAN ENTER KABUL, CLAIM AFGHAN OFFICIALS
Three Afghan officials told the Associated Press that the Taliban have entered the outskirts of Kabul. Taliban fighters were in the districts of Kalakan, Qarabagh and Paghman near Kabul, they said.
Though the Taliban’s arrival at the gates of Kabul did not trigger a fight, government offices suddenly began sending workers home early on Sunday as military helicopters buzzed overhead, the Associated Press reported.
Meanwhile, the Taliban said they won’t take Kabul “by force”, adding that negotiations are underway for a peaceful entering into the capital city.
“Since the capital Kabul is a large and densely populated city, the Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate do not intend to enter the city by force or fighting, but rather to enter peacefully through Kabul. Negotiations are underway. Until the transfer process should be completed in a safe and secure manner, no one’s head, property and honour should be harmed and the lives of the citizens of Kabul should not be jeopardised,” the Taliban’s statement read.
TALIBAN SEIZE MAIDAN WARDAK, JALALABAD
The Taliban say they have seized Maidan Wardak provincial capital on Sunday, which is about 90 kilometers from Kabul. The Taliban also captured Jalalabad, near a major border crossing with Pakistan, leaving Afghanistan’s central government in control of just Kabul and six other provincial capitals out of the country’s 34.
On Saturday, the Taliban said in a statement that their rapid gains showed they were popularly accepted by the Afghan people and reassured both Afghans and foreigners that they would be safe.
US PRESSES EVACUATION BUTTON
Amid the looming security threat, the US has started evacuating its officials from its embassy in Kabul. Helicopters were seen landing at the US Embassy in Kabul as diplomatic vehicles leave the compound, the Associated Press reported.
The embassy also instructed its staff to destroy sensitive materials as part of the “Emergency Destruction Services” protocol.
The development comes weeks before US troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan.