World The Latest: Blinken says US working with Taliban on flights
The Taliban have declared victory. Now they must reckon with a country freefalling into chaos
The last American military flight left the airport and disappeared into the Kabul sky on Monday -- and minutes later, the Taliban flooded the streets around the city's last exit point, filling the night with celebratory gunfire. © Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/Shutterstock Taliban militants spilled onto the streets outside Kabul airport after the final Western military flight left on Monday. It was a decisive and humbling final chapter to the United States' longest war, a two-decade effort that unraveled spectacularly in the space of a few weeks.
DOHA, Qatar — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the State Department is working with the Taliban to facilitate additional charter flights from Kabul for people seeking to leave Afghanistan after the American military and diplomatic departure.
Blinken was speaking on Tuesday at a joint news conference with Qatar’s top diplomats and defense officials. He said the U.S. has been in contact with the Taliban “in recent hours” to work out arrangements for additional charter flights from the Afghan capital.
Al Qaeda, ISIS-K, and a trio of has-beens: The players in Taliban-led Afghanistan
Just over a week ago, the U.S.-backed Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was overthrown as the Taliban swept through Afghanistan and seized the capital with the aim of establishing the so-called “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan."As thousands of Americans and Afghan allies remain behind Taliban lines in Afghanistan as the U.S. evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport continues, multiple players in the country, including Taliban allies such as the Haqqani Network and al Qaeda, have strengthened their hand while anti-Taliban warlords have fled the country and anti-Taliban resistance fighters engage in a desperate fight with the country's new rulers.
Blinken said the Taliban have given assurances of safe passage for all seeking to leave Afghanistan with proper travel documents. He said the United States would hold the Taliban to that pledge.
Blinken said the United States believes there are “somewhere around 100” American citizens still in Afghanistan who want to leave. The State Department had previously put that estimate at between 100 and 200.
Latest on Afghanistan: Biden says US 'on a pace' for Aug. 31 pullout; Taliban block Afghans from airport
Biden added the deadline depends on Taliban cooperation, and added that he has asked the Depts. of State and Defense to prepare contingency plans.His remarks from the White House came the same day the Taliban said it would stop Afghans from trying to go to the Kabul airport and told women to stay home to stay for a time to stay safe, fueling worries about how the Taliban will treat women.
Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are in Qatar to thank the Gulf Arab state for its help with the transit of tens of thousands of people evacuated from Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of Kabul on Aug. 15.
MORE ON AFGHANISTAN:
—to visit Gulf to address postwar stresses
—last holdout Afghan province
—, brutality, trauma, moments of grace
—: US tally misses hundreds left in Afghanistan
— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/afghanistan
Senior Democrat's spokesperson disputes Blinken's comments about flights grounded in Afghanistan
The communications director for a senior Democratic senator pushed back on comments from Secretary of State Antony Blinken about charter flights that have been grounded for days in the north of Afghanistan, as uncertainty over the militant group's promises to let Americans leave Afghanistan continued to roil Washington and as the Taliban named members of a designated terror group to its interim government. © OLIVIER DOULIERY/POOL/AFP/Getty Images US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin meet with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Qatari Deputy Prime Ministe
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
BOSTON — Over two decades, the United States and its allies spent hundreds of millions of dollars building databases for the Afghan people. The nobly stated goal: Promote law and order and government accountability and modernize a war-ravaged land.
But in the Taliban’s lightning seizure of power, most of that digital apparatus — including biometrics for verifying identities — apparently fell into Taliban hands. Built with few data-protection safeguards, it risks becoming the high-tech jackboots of a surveillance state. As the Taliban get their governing feet, there are worries it will be used for social control and to punish perceived foes.
As world marks 9/11, Taliban flag raised over seat of power
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban raised their iconic white flag over the Afghan presidential palace Saturday, a spokesman said, as the U.S. and the world marked the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The banner, emblazoned with a Quranic verse, was hoisted by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the prime minister of the Taliban interim government, in a low-key ceremony, said Ahmadullah Muttaqi, multimedia branch chief of the Taliban’s cultural commission. © Provided by Associated Press A man walks down the stairs at dusk in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
Putting such data to work constructively — boosting education, empowering women, battling corruption — requires democratic stability, and these systems were not architected for the prospect of defeat.
“It is a terrible irony,” said Frank Pasquale, Brooklyn Law School scholar of surveillance technologies. “It’s a real object lesson in ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions.’”
Since Kabul fell Aug. 15, indications have emerged that government data may have been used in Taliban efforts to identify and intimidate Afghans who worked with the U.S. forces.
‘Debacle’ and ‘betrayal’: Blinken ripped for Afghanistan failures in rancorous House hearing .
MORE GRILLED BLINKEN ON TAP: To call yesterday’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan “contentious” would be to risk serious understatement. Secretary of State Antony Blinken faced withering criticism from Republicans on the committee, including demands he resign. More “grilled Blinken” is on the menu for this morning as the embattled secretary of state is raked over the hibachi by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, beginning at 10 a.m. © Provided by Washington Examiner DOD header 2020 “I can summarize this in one word, ‘betrayal,’” said ranking Republican Rep.