Chaos and anxiety in Afghanistan as the radical Taliban have taken over the country at lightning speed. Only at Kabul Airport can still be found by US soldiers. Desperate Afghans are trying to flee the country, the Netherlands is also struggling with evacuees and flights that need to be arranged.
Follow the latest developments in Afghanistan in this live blog.
Here are the main points:
‘Diplomats left against all instructions in Dutch Embassy in Kabul’
Despair with Dutch people in Kabul‘s Hell: ‘Why do the French manage to get away, but not us? ‘
Who is the son of “The Lion of Panjshir’ who is still fighting the Taliban now?
Taliban fighters refuse to admit government employees in the Afghan capital Kabul to their offices. Shortly after the takeover, the Taliban said government personnel could get back to work.
The group announced a general amnesty on Tuesday for people employed by the fallen government. “You can safely resume your normal life and get back to work,” the Taliban said earlier.
Taliban fighters are now blocking access for officials and orders them to wait for an official announcement via television or radio. The warriors would not have been ordered to reopen buildings. It‘s unclear why.
Since the Taliban took power on Sunday, many government offices, banks, schools and universities have been closed. Some companies, such as telecom companies, are open again. Women would show less in public life, fearing reprisals.
19.45 — EU foreign chief: evacuation Afghans impossible by 31 August
It is impossible to evacuate all Afghans who helped Afghanistan’s international partners by 31 August, says EU foreign chief Josep Borrell. U.S. President Joe Biden had listed August 31 as an intended deadline for all evacuations, the same date as the US withdrawal from Afghanistan had to be completed.
Borrell has complained to the United States about the security of Kabul Airport. It would be too strict, making it difficult for Afghans who helped the European Union get to the ground.
The US is currently controlling the airport and airspace. Outside the airport, many desperate Afghans try to enter the terrain and flee the Taliban regime, but U.S. soldiers try to keep them at bay. Further on, Taliban fighters try to discourage people from going to the airport, using violence by the Taliban.
Many NATO countries asked the US to keep the airport open longer on Friday, so that evacuations of civilians, employees and Afghans could leave at risk even after 31 August. President Biden had already promised that it would be possible to extend the US mission beyond 31 August, depending on the number of people still to be evacuated.
15.37 – The Netherlands has evacuated 135 people from Kabul Netherlands since Wednesday
has brought 135 people from Afghanistan to the Netherlands so far. This is evidenced by figures published by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence on Saturday. It is the first time that an overview of the number of people evacuated since Afghan capital Kabul fell back into the hands of the Taliban. It‘s been flown since Wednesday.
It concerns both people with Dutch passports and Afghans who worked for the Netherlands. At the Willem Lodewijk of Nassaukazerne in Zoutkamp, where the latter group is collected, there are currently 78 Afghan evacuees according to the new data.
The people on the lists to be evacuated sometimes end up on flights from other countries. 118 evacuees flew with a Dutch armed aircraft, the remaining seventeen with allies aircraft.
Defence has helped out a total of 368 evacuees Afghanistan, many of whom are evacuated by other countries. Saturday afternoon another plane landed at Schiphol with 153 people on board. They had first been transported from Kabul to a safe country in the region and then traveled. Most of them don’t have the Netherlands as their final destination.
The government has been bringing interpreters who worked for Defence to the Netherlands for years. Due to developments in Afghanistan, where the United States has withdrawn, it has been more momentum in recent months. Still, dozens of interpreters with their families have left behind in that country. The unexpectedly rapid rise of the Taliban has made it a lot harder to get them out of the country.
Wednesday, the Cabinet, under pressure from the House of Representatives, decided that people living in aother capacity for the Netherlands have worked also need to be picked up from Afghanistan, just like the interpreters with their families. Along with the approximately 700 Dutch people still in Afghanistan, it is likely to be thousands of evacuees.
14.12 — German helicopters in Kabul for off-airport evacuations
Two German military helicopters were stationed at Kabul Airport on Saturday to assist in the evacuations threatened by an enormous threat around the airport. Two US helicopters had picked up over 160 evacuees about 200 metres from the airport this weekend.
According to the German Armed Forces, the US asked for the small helicopters of type H-145M. They can land in densely populated areas. The Americans have much larger helicopters in Kabul. The German aircraft are used in operations for people who want to flee but cannot get to the airport and are in acute danger. The German aircraft are used exclusively with American and not outside the Kabul region.
A series of countries are evacuating thousands of people departing from the country overrun by the extremist Taliban. The German ‘Bundeswehr’ has flown around 1800 since last Sunday‘s takeover of power. They are transferred to Tashkent in Uzbekistan, 740 kilometers north, and then fly on civilian aircraft. The German embassy warned that people who go to Kabul Airport on their own do so at their own risk. Two Germans have already been injured in the streets of the city.
12.43 — CNN journalist leaves Afghanistan
CNN’s world-famous war reporter Clarissa Ward has left Afghanistan. Ward is an experienced journalist in conflict zones and has interviewed the most deterrent terrorists in ominous places.
But apparently, today‘s Afghanistan, where she became famous for a riot around her headscarf she started wearing since the Taliban conquest, is a bridge too far.
“Ready to go,” she tweeted at night, after which she landed in Doha on Sunday morning along with around 300 Afghan evacuees. She was able to get a spot on a US Air Force military aircraft. “We are the lucky ones,” she wrote on arrival.
At Kabul Airport, Ward has experienced the chaos. In particular, the images of babies have stayed with her, she reports on social media.
Ward recently admired colleagues for her unscrupulous reporting from Kabul, where she dared to stay as one of the few. A few days ago, she described the scenes as ‘utterly bizarre‘ as Taliban fighters gathered around her.
11.25 — Co-Founder Taliban in Kabul for formation government One of the founders
of the extremist Sunni movement Taliban, mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund, has arrived in the Afghan capital Kabul for consultations with other Taliban leaders on the formation of a government . The Taliban took power in Afghanistan a week ago and are currently profiling as more moderate than their ideology and years of bloody terror suggest. They want to form a government together with other parties. Baradar is the top man of the Taliban and is seen as the emir of the new ‘emirate Afghanistan‘.
Baradar hails from the Uruzgan province and was with his childhood friend Mohammed Omar (1960-2013) at the cradle of the Taliban, who led Omar. Baradar was arrested by Pakistani and US security forces in 2010, but was released at Washington’s insistence in 2018. He then made a name as a Taliban diplomat. Baradar, brother, is actually a nickname of him.
One of the Taliban leaders talking about the new government team is Khalil Haqqani. He is sought by the US as a leader of a terrorist organization, the Haqqani Network. This has proved to be the best trained and armed part of the Taliban in the battle, and observers say is a criminal terrorist group from the Afghanistan and Pakistan border region. The network is now in charge of security in Kabul.
The network is held responsible for drug crime, abductions, terrorist ties and the bloodiest attacks in the Afghan War. The base of the network lies in the Wars of the 1970s and 1980s, in a mountainous border area south of Kabul. The founder of the network, Jalaluddin Haqqani, was a guerrilla leader there.
06.43 — Spokesperson: Taliban will soon come up with rule model
Within a few weeks, the Taliban will announce how they will rule Afghanistan. This is what a radical Islamic organization spokesman said on Saturday.
According toThe Taliban legal and religious specialists are currently working with foreign policy experts on a new rule model. It‘s got to be done within a few weeks.
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The Taliban had a reign of terror in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001. They lost power after the American invasion in 2001, and since their fast power grab last week, they have been trying to present themselves more moderately.
How now in Afghanistan? That and more in the podcast Delta Tango with Jorrit Kamminga, author of the book “Thank You Bin Laden”:
06.36 – Five official websites Taliban on black
Five official websites of the Afghan Taliban have been late on black since Friday night. The sites are an important means of communication for the Taliban, which they use to distribute official information. It is unclear whether there are technical problems or if there is a targeted action against the Radical Islamic Organization.
The sites in English, Arabic, Pashtu, Urdu and Dari were secured by CloudFare according to online registers. A spokesperson for this US security company could not comment.
The Washington Post newspaper reported on Friday, by authority of the SITE Intelligence Group, an organization that follows online extremism, that several Taliban WhatsApp groups are also closed. The encrypted messaging service is owned by Facebook, which refutes the Taliban from its platforms.
23.00 — U.S. soldiers are picking civilians outside Kabul
Airport US soldiers have briefly left the airport of Afghan capital Kabul to pick up people who want to be evacuated for fear of the new rulers, the radical Islamic Taliban. The soldiers picked up 169 civilians stranded 200 metres from the airport with three Chinook helicopters, reports the U.S. Department of Defense.
The Pentagon did not provide information about people’s nationality. U.S. President Joe Biden had previously said 169 Americans had entered the airport using US troops. The Americans hold the airport.
At the same time, reports are coming that Taliban fighters have beaten U.S. civilians. U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin calls this unacceptable.
In a conversation with parliamentarians, Austin said Americans were “beaten” by Taliban in Kabul, American media report. They rely on participants in the consultation. It seems to confirm that the Taliban is getting harder and harder. Shortly after the takeover, they had announced that they would not take revenge after 20 years of struggle against foreign forces in the country.