- The last US soldier left Afghanistan on August 31st.
- Rebels hide in the Panjshir Valley and are besieged by the Taliban.
- The Taliban stress that they want good relations with the US.
Reports of heavy fighting in the Panjshir Valley
The radical Islamic Taliban reportedly fought fierce skirmishes with their remaining opponents in the Panjshir Valley on Friday. A spokesman for the resistance movement against the Islamists said the troops led by the Taliban opponent Ahmed Massud were involved in “heavy” fighting with the Taliban.
Shots of joy could be heard in Kabul on Friday evening as rumor spread that the Taliban had conquered the Panjshir Valley. A resident of the valley denied this to AFP by phone.
Videos were distributed on Twitter accounts loyal to the Taliban, apparently showing tanks and other heavy military equipment captured by the Taliban in the valley. Both sides reported on Twitter that the important Parjan district had been temporarily taken by the Taliban. These reports could not be verified by an independent party.
The Panjshir Valley was a stronghold of resistance against the Taliban in the 1990s and never fell under the control of the Islamists. After the Taliban seized power again three weeks ago, another resistance movement formed in the valley under the leadership of the son of the legendary Afghan warlord and Taliban opponent Ahmed Shah Massoud.
Ahmed Massud’s father had fought against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, and during the Taliban rule between 1996 and 2001 he fought against the Islamists. On September 9, 2001, he was killed by two suicide bombers from the Al-Qaeda terrorist network – two days before the attacks in the USA that led to the international military operation in Afghanistan.
Biden visits wounded soldiers
Three days after the last US troops left Afghanistan, President Joe Biden visited wounded US soldiers at the Walter Reed Military Hospital near Washington. The President was accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden on Thursday evening, the White House announced. Biden had justified the controversial US withdrawal from Afghanistan, among other things, with the fact that he did not want to send more generations of Americans to war there.
Biden has a special relationship with soldiers and the military. His son Beau was an officer in Iraq in 2008/2009 and finally died in 2015 of a brain tumor. When Biden announced the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in April, he said: “I am the first president in 40 years who knows what it means to have a child who serves in a war zone.”
Biden’s trip to the military hospital in Bethesda, a suburb of Washington, was not on his public schedule. The White House only announced the visit upon arrival. (DPA)
UN resumes humanitarian air service in Afghanistan
After the Taliban came to power, the United Nations Air Service resumed flights in Afghanistan. UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said on Thursday in New York that Humanitarian Air Service (Unhas) passenger planes are currently connecting the Pakistani capital Islamabad with Mazar-i-Sharif in the north and Kandahar in the south of Afghanistan. In addition, an airlift will be set up for cargo such as medical and other relief supplies.
Dujarric said that as soon as the security and financial situation allowed, the flight service operated by the World Food Program WFP would again fly to more than 20 destinations in Afghanistan – as in the past. The Unhas connections should enable more than 160 aid organizations to continue their life-saving activities in the Afghan provinces.
Local forces turned out to be assassins
“We continue to try to help the Afghans to leave the country, who have stood by Germany as local staff (…)” – the attitude of Chancellor Angela Merkel during the evacuation mission from Kabul is described by retired German Colonel Thomas Sarholz opposite the Newspaper as naive.
Sarholz himself served in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2006 and knows: “We have seen local workers, especially in other countries, who have turned out to be suicide bombers.” Others who were used as guards “who then reported this outside from watchtowers when convoys left the camp.”
Sarholz believes that the fact that the Bundeswehr only dealt with Afghans who share Western values is naive. “People who we would have better left there pushed their way into the planes because of their physical strength,” says Colonel Sarholz.
USA does not rule out agreements with the Taliban
After the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, the US military is not ruling out the possibility of collusion with the Taliban in the future – for example for attacks against the Islamic State. This is what Mark Milley said to the US media. It is difficult to predict how the Taliban will behave, said the chief of staff.
Milley also called the Taliban an unscrupulous group. One will see “whether they change or not”. So what will the relationship between the USA and the Taliban look like in the future? Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin refused to make any predictions.
(DPA / mur)
Call for help to Biden
A former interpreter for US President Joe Biden is stuck in Afghanistan, according to a media report. The Afghan, who took part in a rescue mission for Biden and two other US politicians in 2008, did not receive a timely exit permit, reported the Wall Street Journal. For fear of retaliation from the Taliban, he has now gone into hiding with his family and is hoping for help from Washington.
“Hello Mr. President, save me and my family,” the newspaper’s translator told the newspaper in a cry for help. “Don’t forget me here.”
The man, whom the “Wall Street Journal” only names Mohammed for security reasons, had worked regularly for the US military and accompanied soldiers on combat missions. In 2008, he was part of a small emergency force that rescued then Senator Biden and two other US politicians after their helicopter had to make an emergency landing in a remote area due to a snow storm, a former soldier told the newspaper. (AFP)
Trump attacks Biden
Former US President Donald Trump (75) interferes in politics on Afghanistan. In a statement to the US media, Trump demands that the Taliban return all weapons immediately, “if this does not happen, we should either proceed with unequivocal military force and fetch them or at least bomb the country to hell”, calls for Trump.
He wants to let his successor Joe Biden know: “Nobody would have thought it possible that such a stupid thing as this insane retreat is possible.” The ex-president continues: “Never in history has a withdrawal from a war been handled so badly or incompetently as the withdrawal of the Biden administration from Afghanistan.”
The Taliban apparently escorted US citizens to the airport
The last days of the US military operation in Afghanistan were chaotic – and it was extremely dangerous for foreign citizens to get to Kabul airport. Thousands of people besieged the gates, the risk of attack was high. It has now been revealed that there was a secret deal between the US military and the Taliban on how CNN reported.
A safe passage to Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul should be made possible for US citizens. The Taliban escorted assembly points through the city before the US Army received the foreigners. CNN claims to have found out from unnamed US officials. The agreement was kept secret for fear of attacks by the Islamic State terrorist group. The transfers were carried out several times a day.
UN Secretary General warns of humanitarian catastrophe
After the withdrawal of the last US soldiers from Afghanistan and the end of the evacuation operation, UN General Secretary António Guterres warned of a complete collapse of basic services in the country. “A humanitarian catastrophe is looming,” said Guterres on Tuesday evening in New York. People lose access to basic goods and services every day. “Almost half of Afghanistan’s population – 18 million people – depend on humanitarian aid to survive. Every third Afghan does not know where their next meal will come from. More than half of all children under the age of five are expected to be acutely malnourished next year. ”
Guterres said that all member states are called upon to “stand up for the people of Afghanistan in their darkest hour of need”. You should make funds available in a timely, flexible and comprehensive manner. During the next week, details of the most pressing humanitarian needs and funding needs for the next four months would be announced. (DPA)
Biden warns IS: “We’re not done with you yet”
According to President Joe Biden, the USA will continue to take action against the local branch of the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) even after it has withdrawn from Afghanistan. He warned the group that claimed responsibility for the recent attack at Kabul airport that the US would continue to pursue them. “We’re not done with you yet,” said Biden in the White House on Tuesday.
The fight against terrorism continues even after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, albeit without ground troops. The US would hunt and capture terrorists attacking the country “to the end of the world,” said Biden. “We will not forgive, we will not forget.” (DPA)
Previous Afghan government turned land over to the Taliban
US President Joe Biden has again blamed the former Afghan government and the country’s security forces for the Taliban’s takeover. Contrary to expectations, the Afghan security forces were not a strong opponent in the fight against the Taliban, Biden said in the White House on Tuesday.
The Afghan government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. They would have “handed the country over to their enemies, the Taliban”. This increased the risk for the US armed forces and their allies. Biden did not admit his own mistakes in the withdrawal of the US soldiers.
With the withdrawal of the last US soldiers from Kabul airport on Tuesday night, the international mission in Afghanistan came to an end after almost 20 years. Biden announced in July that all US troops would be withdrawn by August 31. After the announcement of the withdrawal, the Taliban’s triumphant advance had accelerated rapidly. In mid-August, the Islamists, whose regime the US-led operation had overthrown in late 2001, took power again.
Since then, the US and its allies have tried feverishly to fly their own citizens and Afghan employees out of the country. The evacuation mission also ended on Tuesday night.
Taliban want good relations with the United States
After the US troops have withdrawn, the radical Islamic Taliban say they want “good” relations with the US. “We want to have good relations with the USA and the whole world,” said Taliban spokesman Sabihullah Mujahid on Tuesday in a speech at the airport in Kabul. “We welcome good diplomatic relations with everyone.”
He congratulated the Afghans on their “victory” a few hours after the last US soldiers left the country shortly before midnight. “Congratulations to Afghanistan, this victory belongs to all of us,” said Mujahid, who was standing on the runway at Kabul airport. (AFP)
US military leaves vehicles and aircraft unusable
When they withdrew, US troops disabled 73 aircraft and 97 armored vehicles so that they would not fall into the hands of the Taliban or other Islamist groups. Humvees and armored MRAP vehicles – which can cost up to a million dollars each – have been rendered unusable.
The US also left behind the C-RAM missile defense system, which was used to protect the airport from missile attacks. (AFP)
100 more Americans willing to leave Afghanistan
After the end of the evacuation mission of the US armed forces, according to the US Secretary of State, there are still more than 100 Americans in Afghanistan who want to leave the country. It is assumed that their number is “below 200, probably closer to 100,” said Blinken on Monday evening in Washington. Blinken emphasized that the US government would continue to seek them. This also applies to US citizens who have family roots in Afghanistan and may not decide to leave the country until later. “We’ll help them leave.”
Blinken said there had also been intensive efforts to evacuate Afghans who had worked with the US. “We got a lot out, but many are still there.” One will continue to work to help them. “Our obligation to them has no deadline.” Blinken emphasized that the Taliban had promised to allow Afghans to leave the country, “including those who worked for the Americans.” (DPA)
The last US soldier leaves Afghanistan
Major General Chris Donahue is the last US soldier to leave Afghanistan. The US Central Command tweeted a picture on Tuesday night that was taken through a night vision device. It shows the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division of the US Army boarding a transport plane at Kabul International Airport late on Monday evening. “The last American soldier is leaving Afghanistan,” tweeted the US Central Command.
With the withdrawal of the last US soldiers from Kabul airport on Tuesday night, the international mission in Afghanistan came to an end after almost 20 years. The West is leaving the country back to the Islamists it had ousted at the end of 2001. The United States and its allies had at times more than 100,000 international soldiers on duty. Of the international troops, the United States suffered by far the heaviest casualties, with more than 2,460 US soldiers dying in America’s longest war. The last US military aviator took off from the airport in the Afghan capital one minute before midnight, Kabul time. (DPA)
USA moves embassy to Qatar
With the withdrawal of troops from Kabul, the US ended its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday evening that diplomatic activities were relocated to the Qatari capital, Doha. “In view of the uncertain security situation and the political situation in Afghanistan, this was a prudent step.”
A new diplomatic mission has now started. From Doha one wants to regulate consular affairs, but also manage humanitarian aid and organize cooperation with the allies. “We want to continue our relentless efforts to help Americans, foreigners and Afghans to leave Afghanistan if they choose to,” said Blinken. (DPA)