Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis Highlights: ISIS Claims Rocket Attack On Kabul Airport As US Troops Pull Out

A security official who worked in the administration toppled two weeks ago by the Taliban said the rockets had been fired from a vehicle in north Kabul.

Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis Highlights: ISIS Claims Rocket Attack On Kabul Airport As US Troops Pull Out

About 114,000 people have been evacuated since August 15.

The ISIS group claimed a rocket attack on Kabul airport on Monday, as US troops raced to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan and evacuate allies under the threat of further violence.

Several rockets were fired at Kabul's airport Monday, witnesses and security sources said, less than 48 hours before the United States is due to complete its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The sound of rockets whooshing over the capital was heard by AFP staff before the morning rush hour began.

A security official who worked in the administration toppled two weeks ago by the Taliban said the rockets had been fired from a vehicle in north Kabul.

The sound of the airport's missile defence system could be heard by local residents, who also reported shrapnel falling into the street -- suggesting at least one rocket had been intercepted.

Smoke could be seen rising above buildings in the north, where the Hamid Karzai International Airport is located.

Social media posts -- which could not immediately be verified -- also showed a vehicle on fire after being apparently struck by retaliatory fire.

Here are the highlights on Afghanistan-Taliban crisis:

Aug 31, 2021 05:27 (IST)
"We have made history": Senior Taliban official after US troops leave

A senior Taliban official said Tuesday the Taliban had "made history", as celebratory gunfire was heard across the Afghan capital after the last US troops pulled out.

"We made history again. The 20-year occupation of Afghanistan by the United States and NATO ended tonight," said Anas Haqqani, a senior official in the hardline Islamist movement, in a tweet. "I am very happy that after 20 years of jihad, sacrifices & hardships I have this pride to see these historic moments."
Aug 31, 2021 05:27 (IST)
US Secretary Of State Antony Blinken: America Suspends Diplomatic Presence In Kabul, Moves Operations To Qatar

US embarked Monday on a "new" chapter regarding Afghanistan and shifted its diplomatic operations to Qatar, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, as he expressed commitment to helping every American who wants to leave the war-weary nation. 
Aug 31, 2021 05:09 (IST)
US says Taliban legitimacy and support will need to be 'earned'

The United States expects the Taliban to live up to their commitments now that US troops have pulled out of Afghanistan, but any legitimacy or support will need to be "earned," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday.

America's top diplomat, speaking just hours after the final US evacuation flights left Kabul, said Washington has suspended its diplomatic presence in Kabul as of Monday and shifted its operations to Qatar.

"Our troops have departed Afghanistan," Blinken said. "A new chapter of America's engagement with Afghanistan has begun.

"It's one in which we will lead with our diplomacy. The military mission is over; a new diplomatic mission has begun."

Blinken said the United States was committed to helping every American who wants to depart Afghanistan to leave the country.
Aug 31, 2021 04:53 (IST)
US Military Disabled Scores Of Aircraft, Armored Vehicles Before Leaving Kabul Airport

The US military disabled scores of aircraft and armored vehicles as well as a high-tech rocket defense system at the Kabul airport before it left Monday, a US general said. Read Here
Aug 31, 2021 04:31 (IST)
Will Address Nation On Tuesday Over Final US Exit From Afghanistan: Joe Biden

President Joe Biden announced he will address the nation Tuesday on the final US exit from Afghanistan after 20 years of war against the Taliban. Read Here
Aug 31, 2021 03:35 (IST)
Aug 31, 2021 02:50 (IST)
Pentagon admits it could not evacuate as many from Kabul as hoped

The final withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan Monday meant the US military could not evacuate all the people that it had hoped to, said Central Command head General Kenneth McKenzie.

Even after an arilift that flew more than 120,000 people from the country since July, "we did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out," said McKenzie.

Aug 31, 2021 01:57 (IST)
US Warns Terror Threat To Kabul Airport "Real" In Evacuation's Final Hours
The Pentagon warned Monday of "real" and "specific" threats of new attacks at Kabul airport just hours ahead of a US deadline to complete its frenzied withdrawal from Afghanistan, which has been marred by ISIS violence. Read Here
Aug 30, 2021 23:24 (IST)
Indian Air Force Planes Back To Bases After Afghan Evacuation Operations
After helping in the evacuation of more than 500 Indians from Afghanistan, Indian Air Force (IAF) transport aircraft have returned to their respective home bases.

The Indian Air Force had deployed its C-17 Globemasters and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft for evacuation operations of Indians stuck in Afghanistan, which is now under the control of the Taliban.

Aug 30, 2021 22:21 (IST)
First WHO Flight Since Taliban Takeover Lands In Afghanistan
A plane carrying desperately-needed medical supplies landed in Afghanistan on Monday, the World Health Organization said, a first since the Taliban took control of the country two weeks ago.

Hospitals and clinics are rapidly running out of supplies in the war-ravaged country, and a deadly attack at Kabul airport Friday has further complicated the delivery of aid.

Aug 30, 2021 21:29 (IST)
US Warns Terror Threat To Kabul Airport "Real" In Evacuation's Final Hours
The Pentagon warned on Monday of a "real" and "specific" threat of new attacks at Kabul airport, just hours ahead of a US deadline to complete its frenzied withdrawal from Afghanistan that has been marred by ISIS violence.

President Joe Biden has set a deadline of Tuesday to withdraw all US forces from Afghanistan, drawing to a close his nation's longest war, which began in retaliation for the September 11 attacks.

Aug 30, 2021 20:15 (IST)
WHO Opens Air Bridge To Afghanistan With Medical Supplies
A plane carrying World Health Organization medicines and health supplies landed in Afghanistan on Monday, the UN health agency said, the first shipment to get in since the country came under the control of the Taliban.

"After days of non-stop work to find a solution, I am very pleased to say that we have now been able to partially replenish stocks of health facilities in Afghanistan and ensure that - for now - WHO-supported health services can continue," Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO regional director for the eastern Mediterranean, said in a statement.

The WHO had warned on Friday that medical supplies would run out within days in Afghanistan, announcing that it hoped to establish an air bridge into the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif by then with the help of Pakistani authorities.

Aug 30, 2021 18:59 (IST)
Moscow Welcomes Emmanuel Macron's Call For Kabul "Safe Zone"
The Kremlin on Monday welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron's proposal to create a "safe zone" in Afghanistan's capital Kabul to protect humanitarian operations.

"This is certainly a proposal that must be discussed," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

He said that it was "very important" to discuss all aspects of "such a zone".

Aug 30, 2021 17:25 (IST)
US Moved 1,200 People From Kabul On Sunday: White House
The United States air lifted about 1,200 people from Kabul on Sunday, the White House said on Monday, as the massive evacuation from Afghanistan enters its final day.
Aug 30, 2021 16:49 (IST)
Why Has Taliban Supreme Leader Akhundzada Not Surfaced? Some Theories
In the days since taking power in Afghanistan, a wide range of Taliban figures have entered Kabul -- hardened commandos, armed madrassa students and greying leaders back from years of exile.

There has been one major exception -- the group's supreme leader.

But the Taliban confirmed Sunday that Hibatullah Akhundzada is in Afghanistan and could soon make a public appearance for the first time.

"He is present in Kandahar. He has been living there from the very beginning," said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

"He will soon appear in public," added deputy spokesman Bilal Karimi.

Aug 30, 2021 15:29 (IST)
Afghan Situation Raises New Security Questions: Rajnath Singh

The current happenings in Afghanistan have raised new security questions, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Monday, asserting the Central government is alert and capable of dealing with any situation.

He also said no anti-national force should be allowed to encourage terrorism from across the border by taking advantage of the developments in Afghanistan.

He was addressing the third Balramji Dass Tandon memorial lecture organised by Panjab University on the issue of national security.

"What is happening in neighbouring Afghanistan is raising new questions in terms of security and our government is keeping a watch on the developments there," said Mr Singh in his address delivered through video conferencing.
Aug 30, 2021 15:12 (IST)
US Drone Attack "Arbitrary", "Should Have Been Reported To Us": Taliban

A Taliban spokesman said a US drone strike targeting a suspected suicide bomber in Kabul on Sunday resulted in civilian casualties, and condemned the United States for failing to inform the Taliban before ordering the strike.

Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told China's state television CGTN on Monday that seven people were killed in the drone attack, describing the U.S. action on foreign soil as unlawful.

"If there was any potential threat in Afghanistan, it should have been reported to us, not an arbitrary attack that has resulted in civilian casualties," Mujahid said in a written response to CGTN.

Pentagon officials said the suicide car bomber had been preparing to attack the airport in Kabul, where U.S. troops were in the final stages of a withdrawal from Afghanistan, on behalf of ISIS-K, a local affiliate of Islamic State that is an enemy of both the West and the Taliban.
 
Aug 30, 2021 14:05 (IST)
Aug 30, 2021 10:45 (IST)
White House confirms Kabul airport rocket attack, says operations 'uninterrupted'
US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the rocket attack at Kabul airport and "operations continue uninterrupted," his press secretary Jen Psaki said early Monday.

"The president was informed that operations continue uninterrupted at (Kabul airport) HKIA, and has reconfirmed his order that commanders redouble their efforts to prioritize doing whatever is necessary to protect our forces on the ground," Psaki said in a statement.
Aug 30, 2021 10:44 (IST)
Update| White House confirms Kabul airport rocket attack, says operations "uninterrupted": news agency AFP
Aug 30, 2021 08:16 (IST)
Update| Several rockets heard flying over Kabul, targets unclear, says news agency AFP, hours after US drone strike targeted car bomb

Aug 30, 2021 07:46 (IST)
Afghanistan's 'Gen Z' fears for future and hard-won freedoms

When 20-year-old Salgy found out last week that she had topped some 200,000 students who took Afghanistan's university entrance exam this year, she was elated.

For months, she had locked herself away in her room in the capital Kabul to study, sometimes forgetting to eat. With her family crowding round their solar-powered TV as the results came in, she realised her hard work had paid off.

"That was a moment when I felt someone gifted me the whole world," Salgy, who like many in the country goes by one name, told Reuters. "My mother cried out of happiness and I cried with her."

That feeling turned almost immediately to worry when she remembered the events of the previous weeks.

Following the withdrawal of the bulk of the remaining U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the Taliban began a lightning advance across the country, culminating in the fall of Kabul on Aug. 15.
Aug 30, 2021 07:08 (IST)
Taliban Will Let Afghans Leave, Say US, UK, Other Countries In Statement

The Taliban will allow all foreign nationals and Afghan citizens with travel authorisation from another country to leave Afghanistan, according to a joint statement issued by Britain, the United States and other countries. Read Here
Aug 30, 2021 06:54 (IST)
100 Nations Cite Taliban Vow To Allow Continued Departures

The Taliban has assured 100 countries that it will continue to allow foreigners and Afghans with foreign travel papers to leave the country "in a safe and orderly manner," even after the US troop withdrawal ends Tuesday, the countries said. Read Here
Aug 30, 2021 06:41 (IST)
US, Several Nations To Meet Virtually And Discuss Afghanistan

Foreign ministers from several countries will meet virtually Monday to discuss their next steps in Afghanistan, the US State Department said, as the airlift evacuation out of the country enters its final days. Read Here