Afghanistan live updates: Europe's nations admit 'impossible' to end evacuations by deadline

Afghanistan live updates: Europe's nations admit 'impossible' to end evacuations by deadline

The Afghanistan crisis will dominate discussions at Tuesday's virtual G7 meeting, hosted by the UK, as the rush continues to try to complete evacuations from Afghanistan.

European leaders are expected to press US President Joe Biden to extend his self-imposed August 31 deadline for the total withdrawal of American troops. The Taliban said on Monday that such a move would be a "violation".

The UK, Germany and Spain have all said on Tuesday that it will be impossible to complete evacuations from Kabul in time.

Western nations are trying to bring out thousands of foreign nationals as well as Afghans who worked for or otherwise supported the American-led NATO operation.

The G7 leaders also have to deal with a growing refugee crisis, the collapse of the Afghan government, fears of human rights under the Taliban, and fears of a resurgence in Afghan-based terrorism.

Key developments:

  • The UK, France and Germany have all said evacuation operations should continue beyond August 31. President Biden has said the military is discussing the possibility; a decision is expected on Tuesday.
  • Senior government ministers from the UK, Germany and Spain have all said they cannot bring out in time all those eligible for evacuation from Kabul. France has also said a delay is needed to complete operations.

  • The Taliban has warned that the US and allies will face "consequences" if they stay past the deadline.

  • The UN's human rights chief has cited reports of severe abuses in areas under Taliban control.

  • Boris Johnson also expected to call on G7 leaders to reinforce their support for Afghan refugees and humanitarian aid, as well as develop a long-term strategy for the country.

Latest updates:

14:45

Evacuated Afghan arrested in France for suspected Taliban links

Meanwhle UK Defence Secretary answers similar reports as the Home Office makes denials.
READ MORE on the story mentioned in an earlier post:
Afghanistan live updates: Europe's nations admit 'impossible' to end evacuations by deadline

Evacuated Afghan arrested in France over possible Taliban link

euronewsOne of the five Afghans placed under surveillance after being repatriated to France has been taken into custody, the French government has announced. Meanwhle UK Defence Secretary answers similar reports as the Home Office makes denials.
14:20

German soldier aiding Afghans slams withdrawal

A German army officer trying to help at-risk Afghans flee their country launched a blistering rhetorical attack on Germany's evacuation efforts on Tuesday.

Cpt. Marcus Grotian told reporters in Berlin that he was "overwhelmed by disbelief at the way Germany's governing parties and politicians disregarded warnings" about the Taliban advance and accused Chancellor Angela Merkel's office of failing to step in when needed.

Grotian, who heads a network of volunteers trying to help locals who worked for German institutions in Afghanistan, said some 6,000 Afghans are still waiting to be evacuated and many likely won't make it.

"There will be many, too many human tragedies to come. That's absolutely clear," he said.

Grotian accused German officials of creating a dysfunctional bureaucracy that is making incomprehensible decisions about who can board evacuation flights and who can't.

He said the mixed messages being sent to Afghans by German bureaucrats would likely mean some will miss other opportunities to leave the country because they are still waiting for Germany to evacuate them.

"Everyone who has worked for Germans must now be let through, because there won't be many more chances," said Grotian. "They've been rejected three times, some of them four. There may not be a fifth when the planes don't fly anymore."

14:18

Airbnb offers free housing for 20,000 Afghan refugees globally

Airbnb offered free housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees globally on Tuesday and sought more assistance from hosts who rent property through the home-sharing company. "There's no time to waste," CEO Brian Chesky said on Twitter.
The UN Refugee Agency said last month that an estimated 270,000 Afghans had been newly displaced inside the country since January – primarily due to insecurity and violence – bringing the total uprooted population to over 3.5 million.
 
14:13

Netherlands completes 12 Kabul evacuation flights

The Dutch military has completed twelve flights using military transport planes out of Kabul to air bases in the region since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan.

Seven flights carrying more than 1,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan have arrived in the Netherlands since the Taliban seized control of the country.

The flights have carried Dutch nationals, Afghans and citizens of other countries.

On Tuesday, the government agency that houses asylum seekers opened a third center for Afghan evacuees at a military base in the central town of Ede.

14:11

Turkey has so far evacuated 1,404 from Kabul

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey has so far evacuated 1,404 people from Afghanistan — 1,061 of them Turkish nationals and 343 nationals of “various countries.”

“Because of our (troops’) presence at the airport, many countries, international organizations or NGOs have asked our help in evacuating their personnel,” Cavusoglu told reporters Tuesday. “We have been providing assistance to them together with the United States and Britain.”

Cavusoglu said that there were some 4,500 Turkish nationals in Afghanistan but only around 200 are still waiting to be evacuated.

“We have contacted each one of them. ... An important number of them said they did not want to return,” Cavusoglu said, explaining that they included people who had businesses or jobs in Afghanistan or were married to Afghans.

“We of course, respect their decision but we have also made the necessary suggestions and warnings,” he said.

14:10

Afghan filmmaker warns against recognising Taliban

A week after leaving Kabul and arriving in Ukraine, prominent Afghan film director Sahraa Karimi on Monday urged world leaders not to recognize the Taliban's authority in Afghanistan.

Karimi, the head of the national cinema body Afghan Film, managed to escape Afghanistan's capital on August 15 when Taliban forces seized the city and taking control of most of the country.

The 38-year-old graduate of the Slovak Film and Television Academy asked the Academy to help her and her family to leave the country.

With the help of the Ukrainian government, she was able to board a Turkish plane and eventually arrive in Ukraine.

Speaking at the Kyiv Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen, organized by Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska on the sidelines of the Crimea Platform, Karimi called on international leaders "not to stay silent".

"I beg you, please, tell your husbands not to give them recognition," she said while sobbing on the stage.

"If they give the Taliban political recognition, if they accept them, then they will destroy our lives, women's lives," Karimi added.

The U.N. human rights chief warned Tuesday that she had credible reports of "summary executions" and restrictions on women in areas under Taliban control in Afghanistan.

14:06

French prime minister Jean Castex meets Afghan refugees

Jean Castex paid a visit to a Paris suburb on Tuesday morning to meet Afghan refugees, torn between the relief of having been able to flee Kabul after its swift capture by the Taliban but also deeply worried about the fate of their families and friends.
The hotel has taken in hundreds of men, women and children, all evacuated from the Afghan capital.
A young Afghan journalist, who arrived in France on Sunday after having "left everything", burst into tears: "I do not know if I will ever see my flag again", she told the prime minister.
"We are very worried for our family. I was happy to come to France but I have a slightly mixed feeling", added a doctor who described two days of chaos at Kabul airport before being evacuated by French soldiers.
"We will take responsibility," Castex said. "France must protect those who, in one way or another, have helped the French Republic. And France is also a land of asylum and owes protection to those who are particularly vulnerable," he added.
13:03

CIA chief meets Taliban leader - Washington Post 

 

The Washington Post newspaper reports CIA Director William Burns held a secret meeting with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar, in Kabul on Monday.
 
It is the highest-level meeting between the US and the Taliban since its return to power in Afghanistan.
 
The decision by US President Joe Biden to send Burns, often described as his most experienced diplomat, to Kabul illustrates the gravity of the crisis for his administration.
 
Abdul Ghani Baradar, who headed the Taliban's political office in Qatar, is the new strongman of the regime that has taken power in Kabul.
 
The Washington Post did not reveal the content of the discussions between the Taliban leader and the CIA boss.
 
The US is racing to evacuate thousands of people from Kabul’s airport, and the Taliban have said the deadline of 31 August for troop withdrawals stands.
 
12:12

British MP tells of friend's attempt to flee Afghanistan

Conservative lawmaker Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, has tweeted about a friend who is trying to leave Afghanistan with his family. 
The MP served in the British Territorial Army in the country and also worked there for the British government.
 
12:02

August 31 deadline 'not enough' to get everyone out -- German foreign minister

The US deadline of August 31 for pulling all troops out of Afghanistan, "will not be enough" to evacuate from the country "all those we want to bring out," the German Foreign Minister warned on Tuesday. .
"Even if (the evacuation operation) lasts until August 31 or a few more days, it will not be enough," Heiko Maas said in an interview with Bild newspaper, again pleading for further discussions with the Taliban to ensure transfers once the army leaves.

Tuesday's G7 summit will bring together the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the UK, the US, Canada and Japan, and will take place by video link in the afternoon. The heads of NATO and the UN have also been invited.

Boris Johnson spoke by phone to Joe Biden on Monday ahead of the meeting. A statement from Downing Street said the two leaders had pledged to work together to ensure that those with the right to leave Afghanistan would be able to do so.

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