United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on Monday asked the international community to work together to suppress the “global terrorist threat” in Afghanistan. He was referring to The Taliban.
The Union Ministry of External Affairs on Monday said the Indian government will help repatriate Afghan Hindus and Sikhs who wish to come to India once commercial flight services resume.
The airspace over Afghanistan was closed on Monday afternoon after thousands fearful of Taliban rule desperately thronged the airport in an attempt to flee the war-torn country. At least five people were reportedly killed amid the chaos at the Kabul airport. Some videos showed horrifying images of at least two people who tried to escape Kabul by clinging to a plane fall after takeoff.
The Taliban took complete control of Afghanistan on Sunday evening, after making rapid advances through the country for weeks.
President Ashraf Ghani left the country on Sunday, soon after the Taliban entered the outskirts of Kabul. He is reportedly in neighbouring Tajikistan. In a Facebook post, Ghani claimed that he left Afghanistan to avoid bloodshed.
10.27 pm: President Joe Biden will address the country on the evacuation from Afghansitan, reports The Indian Express. He will speak at 1 am on Tuesday (Indian Standard Time).
10.24 pm: The Taliban spokesperson says a secure environment will be provided to all diplomats, embassies, consulates, and charitable workers, whether they are international or national.
10.21 pm: The United States Department of Defence confirms that its forces shot and killed two individuals at the Kabul airport, reports The Indian Express. The department says the killed individuals were armed.
It says that one American soldier was also injured. It department adds that the US military was sending another battalion of about a thousand troops to help safeguard the airport.
8.53 pm: Seven people have died amid the chaos at the Kabul airport in an attempt by Afghan citizens to flee the war-torn country, reports AP, citing unidentified senior United States military officials. The officials said that the toll included those who clung to a flight and fell from it as it gained altitude.
8.24 pm: United Nations chief Antonio Guterres asks the international community to work together to suppress the “global terrorist threat” in Afghanistan, reported AFP.
“The international community must unite to make sure that Afghanistan is never again used as a platform or safe haven for terrorist organisations,” Guterres says at an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Afghanistan.
7.50 pm: The Centre says that it will help the members of the Hindu and Sikh in Afghanistan once commercial flight service begins from Kabul, reported NDTV. “We are in constant touch with the representatives of Afghan Sikh and Hindu communities,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tells reporters. “We will facilitate repatriation to India of those who wish to leave Afghanistan”.
He adds: “The government will take all steps to ensure the safety and security of Indian nationals and our interests in Afghanistan”.
6.40 pm: Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi says the “defeat” of the United States in Afghanistan should bring in a durable peace in its neighbouring country, reports AFP. Raisi adds his country wants a good relationship with Afghanistan.
6.13 pm: United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan says that the speed with which the cities fell in Afghanistan could not have been anticipated, reports NBC’s. Sullivan says that the US will stick to its decision and that the American troops will not return to fight the Taliban.
“I think the worst case scenario for the United States would be a circumstance in which we were adding back in thousands and thousands of troops to fight and die in civil war in Afghanistan, when the Afghan army wasn’t prepared to fight in itself,” Sullivan adds.
5.57 pm: An evacuation plane deployed by the Indian Air Force has landed in Kabul, reports the Hindustan Times, citing unidentified officials. The special flight, a C-17 Globemaster, circumvented Pakistani airspace and flew over Iran, the newspaper says.
5.49 pm: An Afghan military plane has crashed inside Uzbekistan, reports AFP, citing the country’s defense ministry. “The military plane illegally crossed the border of Uzbekistan,” ministry spokesperson Bakhrom Zulfikarov tells AFP. “An investigation is underway.”
According to the news agency, the plane crashed late on Sunday in Uzbekistan’s southern province of Surkhondaryo, which borders Afghanistan.
5.40 pm: A video on social media shows two men falling off a plane that had taken off from the Kabul airport. Scroll.in could not, however, confirm the authenticity of the video.
In another video, Afghan citizens could be seen hanging on to the wing of a United States military plane as it prepares to take off.
5.27 pm: Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai says that she is worried about women, minorities and human rights advocates in Afghanistan as the Taliban take over the country. “Global, regional and local powers must call for an immediate ceasefire, provide urgent humanitarian aid and protect refugees and civilians,” she tweets.
5.21 pm: Russia’s embassy in Kabul says that Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani had fled the country with four cars and a helicopter full of cash, reports Reuters, citing Russian news agency RIA. It adds that Ghani had to leave some money behind as it would not all fit in.
5.12 pm: The Congress asks the central government to “wake up from its slumber” and ensure the safe return of Indian citizens in Afghanistan. “Modi government’s refusal to set in motion a well thought out plan to evacuate our citizens is a gross abdication of its duty and is totally unacceptable,” the party says in a statement.
It urges the Union Ministry of External Affairs to spell out the country’s policies for the safe return of its citizens and also the future relationship with Afghanistan
5.07 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh urges the Union Ministry of External Affairs to arrange for evacuating all Indians, including 200 Sikhs who were stuck in a gurdwara in Afghanistan, reports PTI. Singh adds that his government was willing to extend help for it.
China says the Taliban have expressed hope to develop a good relationship with it, AFP reports. “They [the Taliban] look forward to China’s participation in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan,” China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying says.
The official adds: “We welcome this. China respects the right of the Afghan people to independently determine their own destiny and is willing to continue to develop... friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan.”
3.25 pm: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan says Afghans have “broken the shackles of slavery”, Dawn reports. His remark came amid videos showing people in Kabul desperately trying to flee Afghanistan after Taliban’s takeover.
3.19 pm: The press secretary of the Afghan Embassy in India indicates that the diplomatic mission’s Twitter account was hacked. The official shared a screenshot of a tweet crtiticising Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which was posted from the embassy’s handle.
3.16 pm: The international community must continue its engagement with Afghan leaders, says Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
3.12 pm: Meanwhile, Australia is sending three jets and 250 military officers to bring back over 130 Australians and their families from conflict-torn Afghanistan, according AP. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his government is also trying to evacuate refugees.
3.07 pm: Portugal says it is ready to take in 243 Afghans, along with their families, who worked with its forces in Afghanistan, AP reports.
1.44 pm: Three Afghan research scholars at the Central University of Kerala, who went back home because of the Covid-19 pandemic, are uncertain about returning to the institution to complete their courses, The Hindu reports.
“To return to India, I need the electronic number to get a passport to India,” Mohammed Kazem, one of the scholars, tells The Hindu. “But it is complete chaos now. We are not getting proper information even on TV. Only Islamic series are being telecast here.”
1.24 pm: The United Nations Security Council, under India’s presidency, will hold an emergency meeting on the Afghanistan situation on Monday. It is scheduled to take place at 10 am (local time, 7.30 pm according to Indian Standard Time in) New York, the Hindustan Times reports.
1.18 pm: The Chinese Embassy in Kabul does not plan to evacuate its staff amid the conflict, The Guardian reports.
“The Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan has asked the various factions in Afghanistan to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens, Chinese institutions and Chinese interests in Afghanistan,” reads an official statement.
It adds: “The embassy hereby reminds Chinese citizens in Afghanistan to pay close attention to the security situation, strengthen their own security protection, and refrain from going out.”
1.13 pm: United Kingdom Defence Secretary Ben Wallace acknowledges that the Taliban have control of Afghanistan and says that the return of British forces to the conflict-torn country is “not on the cards”, Sky News reports.
1.01 pm: Taliban officials say there has been no report of any clashes from across the country in the last 24 hours, reports Reuters. “The situation is peaceful, as per our reports,” one of the senior members of the Taliban tells the news agency.
12.59 pm: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urges Taliban leaders to uphold human rights in Afghanistan, reports Reuters. “I would just again implore those who made these moves in recent days to acknowledge what the international community has called for – human rights and the safety of their people,” says Ardern.
She adds: “What we want to see is women and girls being able to access work and education. These are things that have traditionally not been available to them where there has been governance by Taliban.”
12.52 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday urges the Centre to make arrangements for the evacuation of all Indians, including 200 Sikhs who are stuck in a gurdwara in Afghanistan.
12.50 pm: Vistara’s flights from Delhi to London have stopped using the Afghanistan airspace, reports PTI. “We...are taking an alternate route for our flights to and from London Heathrow,” says a spokesperson of the airline. “We are closely working with the relevant authorities to monitor and assess the situation and taking necessary steps to ensure the safety of our passengers, staff and aircraft.”
12.48 pm: France Defence Minister Florence Parly says his country will evacuate its citizens from Kabul to a base in the UAE by Monday evening, reports AFP.
12.44 pm: All commercial flights at Kabul airport have been suspended.
12.42 pm: The Chicago-Delhi flight, which has been diverted, will land in Sharjah, PTI reports. The flight will then leave for Delhi again and avoid the Afghan airspace.
12.27 pm: Air India flight to Kabul will not be able to operate after airspace over Afghanistan was declared closed. The airline had a scheduled flight for Kabul from Delhi at 8.50 am on Monday. However, it was rescheduled to 12.50 pm later before it was cancelled.
“Airspace over Afghanistan is declared closed so no aircraft can operate there. Our scheduled flight to Kabul also cannot go,” an Air India spokesperson tells Hindustan Times.
12.02 pm: Air India diverts its AI 126 Chicago-Delhi flight to Gulf airspace due to the closure of the Afghan airspace, ANI reports.
11.28 am: A spokesperson of the Taliban posts a video from the streets of Kabul claiming that the situation in the city is “normal” and its fighters are “providing security”.
11.26 am: Several airlines including United Airlines, British Airways, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic are rerouting flights to avoid using Afghanistan’s airspace.
11.10 am: US troops fire shots in the air at Kabul airport as crowd mobs the tarmac, reports AFP, citing an eyewitness.
Several social media users posted a video of people jostling to board a plane at the airport as they seek to flee the country.
10.07 am: The US military has secured the perimeter of Kabul airport, reports AFP. The State department says Washington’s embassy in the Afghan capital has been completely evacuated.
10.04 am: The Kabul-bound Air India flight from Delhi will now fly at 12.30 pm, instead of 8.30 pm, reports ANI.
10.01 am: Staff and personnel at the Indian Embassy in Kabul vacated the premises and left the Afghanistan capital on Sunday night on a special aircraft, reports The Indian Express. The aircraft is headed to India via Iran.
9.20 am: Another video shows crowds at Kabul airport trying to flee the Afghan capital due to the deteriorating security situation.
9.05 am: The US Embassy in Kabul is urging its citizens and Afghan nationals not to travel to the airport unless they are told to do so, as the security situation remains unsafe.
The Taliban has taken control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday evening. Talks to form a transitional government have been upended by the sudden departure of Ghani.
9 am: Emirates has suspended flights to Afghanistan’s capital Kabul until further notice, the airline says on its website.
“Customers holding tickets with final destination to Kabul will not be accepted for travel at their point of origin,” the airline adds.
8.55 am: A State Department official tells AP that the American flag is no longer flying at the United States Embassy in Kabul as the military races to evacuate diplomats and civilians from the Afghanistan capital.
8.40 am: Videos show chaos at Kabul airport as the Taliban seize control of Afghan capital. Thousands of Afghans desperate to leave the country are crowding at the airport.
8.35 am: Former United States President Donald Trump calls for his successor Joe Biden to resign after the Taliban quickly seized control of Afghanistan, reports AFP.
“It is time for Joe Biden to resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen to Afghanistan,” Trump says in a statement.
In another statement, the former president added, “What Joe Biden has done with Afghanistan is legendary. It will go down as one of the greatest defeats in American history.”
8.06 am: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urges the Taliban to show “restraint to protect lives and ensure humanitarian needs”.
8.05 am: The United States says it will deploy 6,000 additional troops over the next two days to ensure safe departure of its citizens and allies from Afghanistan, reports PTI.
8.01 am: Over 60 countries, in a joint statement, call for facilitating the departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country.
7.56 am: Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani says he left the country to avoid bloodshed.
“The Taliban have won with the judgement of their swords and guns, and are now responsible for the honour, property and self-preservation of their countrymen,” he says in a Facebook post.
7.55 am: The Taliban have entered the presidential palace in Afghan capital Kabul hours after President Ashraf Ghani left the country.
7.53 am: Mohammad Naeem, the spokesman for the Taliban’s political office, says the war in Afghanistan is over, reports Al Jazeera. He adds that the type and form of the new regime in Afghanistan would be made clear soon and calls for peaceful international relations.
A quick look at the developments from Sunday:
- Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani left the country for neighbouring Tajikistan hours after the Taliban entered the outskirts of capital Kabul.
- The development came after Taliban fighters were asked not to take Kabul by force as a negotiations started between the group and officials of the Afghan government on “transition of power”. However, the situation on future governance in Afghanistan is not yet clear.
- Before taking Kabul, Taliban captured the cities of Jalalabad and Mazar-i-Sharif on Sunday. They also took control of the Bagram air base, home to a prison housing 5,000 inmates – both Taliban and Islamic State group fighters.