Chaos and anxiety in Afghanistan as the radical Taliban have taken over the country at lightning speed. To the great discomfort of the locals and the international community. It led to great chaos during evacuation missions from the airport in Kabul, with two attacks claimed by IS, as a dramatic low. Follow the situation in Afghanistan through our live blog here.
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19.15 – Afghanistan takes ruler form Iranian clergy over
Afghanistan will possibly be ruled in the style of Shiite neighbour Iran. Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada becomes spiritual leader. He gets the last word about everything. Beneath him will be a president and a head of government or prime minister. The Sunni extremists of the Taliban, who took over power in mid-August, said this, according to news channel al-Arabiya.
Sunnis do not have strict religious hierarchy, such as shiites with ayatollahs, for example. Akhundzada is called Commander of the Believers by the spokesperson. In that position as spiritual leader, he would “participate in the Islamic government” of the country.
In Iran, archconservative Shiite clergy seized power in 1979. The founder of the Islamic Republic, Ruhollah Khomeini (1902-1989), did not become president, but was a spiritual leader over government, legislators and judges. Thats still true among the ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has only strengthened his grip on the land.
If Afghanistans Taliban makes a Sunni version of Iran, the recent reconciliating statements by their leaders seem to be just for the show. They have repeatedly argued that they want to compare and govern jointly with other currents and tribes. Akhundzada, in spite of low experience as a Taliban fighter, Akhundzada is considered to be an iron performer in the extremist movement. He loves that sons were suicide terrorists. Yet in the summer he announced that he is “intensely hoping for a political solution” to the conflict.
In 2016 he became the leader of the movement, but has almost never been seen, just like the founder of the terror group, Mohammed Omar (1960-2013). Both come from Kandahar where the cradle of the Taliban stands. According to Taliban saymen, Akhundzada has lived in that city for a long time. He joined the Taliban at the time of the creation of the Taliban and was a feared figure in the judicial system during the reign of terror of the movement in the years 1996 – 2001.
After the regimes fall in 2001, he emerged as a religious authority. When Taliban leader Akhtar Mansour was killed with an American drone in 2016, Akhundzada became leader of a divided Taliban. Among other things, he had competition from the most powerful clan in the Taliban, the Haqqani family, and a son of the founder Omar, Mohammed Yaqoob. But Akhundzada was able to close the lines. He survived at least two assassinations in 2012 and in 2019, both in Pakistan.
16.26 – British government thought Kabul would not fall so fast
According to British intelligence, Kabul would quickly destabilize after the withdrawal of international forces, but not be taken over by the Taliban this year. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab stresses that the United Kingdom had prepared for other scenarios
during the withdrawal of international partners from Afghanistan, the Taliban began to advance rapidly in the country. Within a few months, the capital Kabul fell and the radical Islamic organization proclaimed victory.
“The overall estimate was that after completing the withdrawal in August, there would be a gradual decline, but that Kabul was unlikely to fall this year,” Raab said at a press conference. According to him, more NATO countries had this idea.
Raab himself says to go to the region around Afghanistan soon. He didnt say exactly where hes going.
15.21 — Marechaussee too busy with Afghan evacuees for corona checks
The Royal Marechaussee has no capacity to help police check for corona evidence in the border area. This is “due to developments in Afghanistan, among other things,” a spokesperson for the Marechaussee knows, where it is particularly busy with the influx of the evacuees.
The Ministry of Health has therefore requested Customs assistance from the border control team. Theyre going to help between September 1st and October 31. The control teams way of working remains the same. “The Covid-19 mobile border control team now checks threefour hours a week at the Belgian and German borders. There is a chance that more checks will take place in the long run,” said a Customs spokesperson.
Five coronaboetes have been written since border controls. Recent figures on the number of vehicles and persons audited are not yet known.
14.58 — Insurers do not insure aircraft going to Afghanistan
Insurance companies do not want to insure civil aviation aircraft going to Afghanistan. Its too dangerous in their eyes now after the Americans leave that country.
The extremist Taliban took the capital almost effortlessly in mid-August. They then allowed the US to hold the airport for another two weeks to carry out evacuations. They were completed on Monday and an estimated 123,000 people have left the country in predominantly military aircraft through Kabul International Airport since mid-August. The Americans also controlled Afghanistans airspace until Tuesday.
There have been virtually no non-military aircraft in Afghanistans airspace since mid-August. The United Nations managed to arrange a flight on Mazar-i-Sharif on Monday using a civil aircraft operated by the Afghan airline Kam Air. But then there was just U.S. control of the airspace. On Tuesday, according to the site Flightradar24, a small civil aircraft flew from Islamabad to Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, but near that city the aircraft suddenly turned over and flew back to Pakistan.
14.13 — Al-Qaeda congratulates Taliban on victory over Americans
The Islamic terror organization al-Qaeda congratulates the Taliban in Afghanistan for their “victory” over the Americans. The United States had invaded Afghanistan twenty years ago to eliminate the movement of Saudi Osama bin Laden. The terrorists behind the September 11 attacks on the United States were sheltered by the then Taliban regime.
The international military operation led by the Americans was dealt with al-Qaeda and expelled the fundamentalist Taliban from much of Afghanistan. But with the US withdrawal, the Taliban was able to regain power.
“We congratulate you on this great victory over the alliance of crusaders,” said an al-Qaeda statement, distributed through propaganda branch As-Sahab. The terrorist organization claims to see the Talibans victory as a harbinger of the “liberation of Palestine” and other territories, such as Somalia and Yemen. al-Qaeda calls on Afghans to join the Taliban and to commit to the decisions of the new powers in Afghanistan.
12.43 — Republican politician himself wanted to get people from Afghanistan
Once again, an American parliamentarian has traveled independently to the Afghanistan region to set up an evacuation mission. Republican delegate Markwayne Mullin asked the U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan according to The Washington Post for help to hire a helicopter, with which he wanted to bring five Americans from Afghanistan. When the ambassador couldnt help him, Mullin would have threatened him and other embassy personnel, the newspaper reports.
It is unknown where Mullin is after the failed attempt to have the wife and four children from Afghanistan. His spokesperson says on Twitter that he is safe and that he will do everything he can to bring home all Americans left behind by President Biden. Last week, the Congressman had already tried to reach Afghanistan through Greece.
Last week, the Democrat Seth Moulton and Republican Peter Meijer of the House of Representatives had already left for Afghanistan on their own to oversee the evacuation from the airport in Kabul. They had to be evacuated by the US Army themselves.
The actions are sharply condemned by the US authorities. “This behavior is extremely dangerous, and thats another understatement,” an anonymous foreign ministry official said to the Post. The Democratic President of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said last week after Moulton and Meijer traveled to Afghanistan: “We dont want anyone to think this was a good idea and that they should try the same thing.”
Mullin reported on Twitter earlier this week that he felt that Biden violated the U.S. Army motto that no man should be left behind. According to him, the President should not have withdrawn the troops from the country on the agreed date of 31 August. Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken said Mondayless than 200 Americans have stayed behind in Afghanistan.
Also in other tweets and expressions on social media, Mullin, who is part of the conservative branch of Republicans, presents itself as advocate of the armed forces. But unlike Moulton and Meijer, Mullin never served in the army himself. Prior to being elected to parliament in 2012, he was active as a wrestler and mixed martial arts fighter.
12.12 — Taliban parade with plundered US vehicles
Taliban fighters hold a parade of plundered US army vehicles on Wednesday in the city of Kandahar, including trucks and possibly a helicopter. On a highway outside the city stands a long line of military vehicles with the black and white flag of extremists.
Earlier in the day, Kandahars new governor spoke to the people. It was thought that the Talibans highest leader Habitullah Akhundzada would appear, but in the end it didnt happen. Meanwhile, people at Kandahars cricket field are waiting for the parade to begin. Kandahar is the birthplace of the fundamentalist Taliban and was the capital of the groups first regime in the 1990s.
The day before the parade, the Taliban celebrated as the American departure from Afghanistan was completed. The last U.S. military got home on a plane Monday night. Shortly afterwards, the Taliban shot in the air and adherents took to the streets as they chanted “God is the Greatest” and waved the Taliban flag.
The material that the Taliban exhibits in the parade has been captured since the conquest of Afghanistan. After the takeover, they shared images of their fighters with hand weapons or vehicles left by the U.S. Army. To avoid any more material coming into the hands of the Taliban, the Americans cut dozens of vehicles and planes down before their departure. This is how tires were shot and cockpit windows were smashed.
8.51 — Thousands of Afghans are allowed to remain permanently in the UK
Thousands of Afghans may remain permanently in the UK if they have worked closely with British government services in their home country. This group previously had a maximum stay of five years. According to British media, the scheme covers more than 8,000 of more than 15,000 Afghans who came to the country since 13 August.
Operation Warm Welcome, as the government calls it, they never have to move to another country again and can look for a job without restrictions. According to the government, they are given the “security and stability” to rebuild their lives and the opportunity to acquire citizenship in the future.
“We owe a huge amount to those who worked with the armed forces in Afghanistan and I am determined to give them and their families the support they need to rebuild their lives here in the UK,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Among other things, the government will ensure that Afghans have access to care and children can go to school as soon as possible. They are also offered a corona vaccine. More than seven hundred Afghans who are out of quarantine have had their first shot.