World Taliban Reportedly Engaging in Revenge Kills of Afghan Security Forces, U.N. Official Says
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.
Thereportedly is executing revenge killings of former Afghan security forces, according to Michelle Bachelet, the human rights chief.
Citing credible allegations received by her office, Bachelet also said there were reports of instances in which the Taliban detained former officials from the overthrown Afghan government and their relatives, who later turned up dead.
Fact check: Biden didn't 'gift' weapons to Taliban, hasn't proposed banning pistols
A widespread narrative on social media misleads on the value of military equipment left behind in Afghanistan."The current regime that just gifted the Taliban with $80+ billion worth of military grade weapons wants your 9mm pistols," reads an Aug. 17 text post on Facebook. "THINK ABOUT IT.
The human rights chief cautioned that Afghanistan could be entering a "new and perilous phase," despite initial indications from the Taliban that they would avoid retaliation tactics and form a more inclusive government than the one seen when they last held power in the 1990s, the Associated Press reported.
There have been "multiple" allegations that Taliban fighters operated house-to-house searches for former Afghan government officials and others who worked with U.S. forces and enterprises, while other reports have emerged that members of the group beat journalists and violently broke up protests, Bachelet said.
Bachelet noted that women have begun to fear the Taliban and a degradation of their rights, as they have been progressively excluded from public life since the group took power in mid-August and appointed an all-male government, AP reported.
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.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
Western governments and the U.N. human rights chief voiced concerns Monday about the Taliban's first steps as they establish power in Afghanistan. The United Nations, meanwhile, hosted a donors conference to drum up emergency funds for beleaguered Afghans who could soon face widespread hunger after decades of conflict.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was leading the world body's call for more than $600 million for the rest of this year in a "flash appeal" for Afghans after their country's government was toppled by the Taliban and U.S. andforces exited the 20-year war in a chaotic departure.
There are concerns that instability and upended humanitarian efforts, compounded by an ongoing drought, could further endanger lives and plunge Afghanistan toward famine.
The conference will put to the test some Western governments and other big traditional U.N. donors who want to help everyday Afghans without handing a public relations victory or cash to the Taliban, who ousted the internationally backed government in a lightning sweep.
Taliban promise to uphold rights for women and US allies, but White House is skeptical
The Taliban said they won't hurt women. U.S. military commanders work with the militant group to allow Americans and some Afghans to evacuate.Before the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, women virtually had no rights under the fundamentalist Taliban's oppressive rule. Most were forced to quit their jobs and stay at home, denied access to education and health care, enduring high rates of illiteracy and maternal mortality.
The U.N. says "recent developments" have increased the vulnerability of Afghans who have already been facing decades of deprivation and violence. A severe drought is jeopardizing the upcoming harvest, and hunger has been rising.
The U.N.'s World Food Program is to be a major beneficiary of any funds collected during Monday's conference at which the U.N., along with its partners, is seeking $606 million for the rest of the year to help 11 million people.
Coinciding with the conference in Geneva, the head of the U.N. refugee agency, Filippo Grandi, made a previously unannounced visit to Kabul. He wrote onthat he would assess humanitarian needs and the situation of 3.5 million displaced Afghans—including over 500,000 who have been displaced this year alone.
Officials at UNHCR have expressed concerns that some people could try to seek refuge in what have been traditional havens for fleeing Afghans in neighboring Pakistan and Iran, which both have large populations of Afghans who had fled their country earlier to escape war and violence.
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.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, speaking to the council, said the world has a "moral obligation" to continue helping the Afghan people—and said Germany would be "significantly stepping up" its humanitarian aid for Afghanistan. But he also suggested such aid would only continue if rights are respected.
"We demand from the Taliban that they respect basic human rights, particularly the rights of women and girls," Maas said, saying that would be a "benchmark for us and our partners in determining our future engagement with a new Afghan government—including for possible development assistance."
He also criticized the Taliban's decision to exclude other groups from their recently announced interim government, saying it was "not the right signal" for international cooperation and stability in Afghanistan.
Also on Monday, a Pakistan International Airlines plane charted by thelanded at Kabul's airport to evacuate more people, according to Abullah Hafeez Khan, a spokesman for the airline. Pakistan has halted commercial flights to Kabul because of security reasons, and the airline has no plans so far to resume commercial flights.
Last Thursday, an estimated 200 foreigners, including Americans, left Afghanistan on a Qatar Airways flight out of Kabul with the cooperation of the Taliban—the first such large-scale departure since U.S. forces completed their frantic withdrawal on August 30.
Once inmates, Taliban now in charge in a Kabul prison
KABUL (AP) — Once, Kabul’s main prison was crowded with thousands of Taliban captured and arrested by the government. On Monday, a Taliban commander strolled through its empty halls and cell blocks, showing his friends where he had once been imprisoned. It was a sign of the sudden and startling new order in Afghanistan after the militant group swept into the capital nearly a month ago and threw out the crumbling, U.S.-backed government it had fought for 20 years. The Taliban now run Pul-e-Charkhi Prison, a sprawling complex on Kabul’s eastern outskirts.
Many thousands of Afghans remain desperate to get out, too, afraid of what Taliban rule might hold. The Taliban have repeatedly said foreigners and Afghans with proper travel documents could leave. But their assurances have been met with skepticism, and many Afghans have been unable to obtain certain paperwork.
Abdul Hadi Hamdani, head of Kabul's airport, said Monday that all domestic flights were back to their regular schedule but that "some technical problems need to be solved" before international flights can resume. Members of the border police who previously worked at the airport have been called back to resume their duties.
Defense secretaries in their own words: US 'invented reasons' to stay in Afghanistan .
The Taliban blitz exposes the failure of the 20-year Afghanistan war and portends terrorism threats, say former defense secretaries Panetta and Hagel.Afghan security forces, trained and equipped at the cost of $83 billion, wilted before Taliban fighters. With few exceptions, the Taliban rolled through provincial capitals without a fight despite a force of Afghan troops that was supposed to number more than 300,000. In reality, there were far fewer Afghan forces because of desertions and commanders who reportedly pocketed the pay of ghost soldiers they had kept on rolls. For those who remained and fought, there wasn't enough ammunition and food, to say nothing of pay.