Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates: Taliban Celebrate Victory As Last US Troops Leave Afghanistan

Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE: The last of 6,000 US troops who oversaw a desperate evacuation effort flew out of Kabul airport on Monday night, ending the war that has diminished the United States' status as a superpower.

Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates: Taliban Celebrate Victory As Last US Troops Leave Afghanistan

Afghanistan Crisis Updates: Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid congratulated people of Afghanistan.

Celebratory gunfire resounded across Kabul on Tuesday as Taliban fighters took control of the airport before dawn, following the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops, marking the end of a 20-year war that left the Islamist militia stronger than it was in 2001.

Shaky video footage distributed by the Taliban showed fighters entering the airport after the last U.S. troops flew out on a C-17 aircraft a minute before midnight, ending a hasty and humiliating exit for Washington and its NATO allies.

"It is a historical day and a historical moment," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told a news conference at the airport after the departure. "We are proud of these moments, that we liberated our country from a great power."

An image from the Pentagon taken with night-vision optics showed the last U.S. soldier to step aboard the final evacuation flight out of Kabul - Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division.

America's longest war took the lives of nearly 2,500 U.S. troops and an estimated 240,000 Afghans, and cost some $2 trillion.

Here are the LIVE Updates on Afghanistan-Taliban crisis:

Sep 01, 2021 02:52 (IST)
One Of History's Biggest Airlifts: Biden Hails US Evacuation From Afghanistan
President Joe Biden called the US airlift of more than 120,000 people from Afghanistan an "extraordinary success" Tuesday, a day after the last US soldiers pulled out of the country.
Sep 01, 2021 02:45 (IST)
No Deadline, Joe Biden Pledges To Get Every American Out Afghanistan
President Joe Biden pledged Tuesday to help scores of US citizens who remain in Afghanistan to leave, a day after the evacuation mission from Kabul airport ended.
Sep 01, 2021 02:35 (IST)
US Drone Strike On Explosives-Laden Car Wiped Out Kabul Family, Says Brother
When Ezmarai Ahmadi returned home from work on Sunday evening in Kabul, the usual gaggle of squealing children was waiting to greet him -- his sons and daughters, and a slew of nieces and nephews.
Sep 01, 2021 02:08 (IST)
"We Are Not Done With You," Joe Biden Warns Afghanistan's ISIS-K Terrorists
US President Joe Biden warned the ISIS-Khorasan, the group which killed 13 US troops in a suicide bombing at Kabul airport, that they face more retribution from Washington.
Sep 01, 2021 01:51 (IST)
Wise Decision, Best Decision: Biden Defends US' Aghanistan Exit
President Joe Biden on Tuesday defended his decision to pull troops out of Afghanistan, saying it was in the US national interest.
Sep 01, 2021 01:50 (IST)
Choice Between Leaving Or Escalating: Joe Biden On US' Afghanistan Exit
The choice for the United States in Afghanistan was either to withdraw from the country or escalate the conflict, President Joe Biden said Tuesday after the final US pullout.
Sep 01, 2021 00:45 (IST)
Under India's Presidency, UN Security Council's Resolution on Afghanistan
The UN Security Council, under India's Presidency, adopted a strong resolution demanding that territory of Afghanistan not be used to threaten any country or shelter terrorists and that it expects the Taliban will adhere to commitments made by it regarding the safe and orderly departure from the country of Afghans and all foreign nationals.

The Security Council on Monday adopted the resolution sponsored by France, UK and the US with 13 members voting in favour, none against and permanent, veto-wielding members Russia and China abstaining.

Read here.
Aug 31, 2021 23:10 (IST)
UN chief warns of 'humanitarian catastrophe' in Afghanistan
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres warned Tuesday of a looming "humanitarian catastrophe" in Afghanistan as he urged countries to provide emergency funding following the departure of US forces.

"I urge all member states to dig deep for the people of Afghanistan in their darkest hour of need. I urge them to provide timely, flexible and comprehensive funding," the secretary-general said in a statement.
Aug 31, 2021 22:11 (IST)
India Officially Talks To Taliban, Raises Safe Evacuation, Terrorism
India today, for the first time, admitted to have held diplomatic talks with the Taliban which has taken control of Afghanistan in the past few days following the withdrawal of US forces from there. An Indian envoy met a leader of the terrorist group in Doha, Qatar's capital. The meeting took place following a request by the new rulers of the strife-hit country.

Ambassador Deepak Mittal, India's envoy to Qatar, met Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, Head of Taliban's Political Office in that country, according to a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs. They met at the Indian Embassy in Doha, the statement said.

India raised its concern over the use of Afghanistan's territory by terrorists, while Stanekzai assured him that these issues would be positively addressed, according to the release.
Aug 31, 2021 21:20 (IST)
NATO chief vows alliance won't forget Afghan allies
NATO allies face tough questions about what went wrong in Afghanistan but will not forget the Afghans left behind, nor the fight against terror, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told AFP in an interview Tuesday.

Speaking after the last US military flight left Kabul, Stoltenberg warned the victorious Taliban not to interfere with Afghans trying to flee the country.

After 20 years of fighting the Islamist rebels are now once again in charge of the vast majority of Afghanistan and celebrating victory over the collapsed Western-backed government.

But Stoltenberg insisted all was not lost for the allies, as their intervention had at least prevented international terror groups from launching attacks from Afghanistan on Western targets.

Now, however, he stressed the need for Kabul's new leaders to work with the international community to reopen their airport, allow Afghans who worked with the allies safe passage and to keep a lid on extremist groups.
Aug 31, 2021 20:16 (IST)
After US Exit, Video Of Taliban Flying US Chopper With Body Dangling
A body dangled from a US military chopper, reportedly flying over Kandahar in Afghanistan, in a chilling video shared on Tuesday by several journalists and what the Taliban claims is their official handle.

The tweets surfaced online hours after the US wrapped up a messy exit from Afghanistan around midnight, with the last of its troops flying out in military aircraft.

The "Talib Times", described in the Twitter bio as "the English language official account of Islamic Emirate Afghanistan" claimed that the chopper was "patrolling the city", without once mentioning the body clearly hanging on a rope from the US Black Hawk.
Aug 31, 2021 18:44 (IST)
Canada to take in 5,000 Afghan refugees evacuated by US: Minister
Canada said on Tuesday it would take in and resettle some 5,000 Afghan refugees who had been evacuated by the United States after the withdrawal of the last American troops after almost two decades of war.

"We're pulling out all the stops to help as many Afghans as possible who want to make their home in Canada," said Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino. "Over the weekend, Canada and its allies received assurances from the Taliban that Afghan citizens with travel authorization from other countries would be safely allowed to leave Afghanistan."
Aug 31, 2021 17:50 (IST)
China Says Afghanistan Has "Turned New Page" After US Withdrawal
China on Tuesday said the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan after a 20-year conflict signalled the country has "turned a new page", after Beijing criticised Washington's chaotic exit.

China has repeatedly slammed what it sees as a hasty and ill-planned US withdrawal and has said it is ready to deepen "friendly and cooperative" relations with the Taliban following their takeover.

The United States completed its military retreat from Afghanistan on Monday, ending its longest war to cries of shame at home and celebratory gunfire in Kabul from the Taliban.

"Afghanistan has been able to free itself of foreign military occupation," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular briefing. 

"The Afghan people have ushered in a new beginning for national peace and reconstruction, and Afghanistan has turned a new page." 

China's embassy in Kabul remains operational, although Beijing began evacuating Chinese citizens from the country months ago as security deteriorated.
Aug 31, 2021 17:25 (IST)
UK says it is too early to decide how to work with the Taliban
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday it is too early to decide if, and how, the government will work with the Taliban on tackling the Islamic State in Afghanistan.

The spokesman said this will partly depend on whether Taliban upholds pledges on issues such as respecting human rights.

"At this stage it is too early to dictate if and how we would work with the Taliban going forward," the spokesman said. "A lot will depend on their actions from now. As we have said throughout, we intend to put pressure on them to uphold these standards and claims."
Aug 31, 2021 16:30 (IST)
US drone strike wiped out Kabul family, brother says
When Ezmarai Ahmadi returned home from work on Sunday evening in Kabul, the usual gaggle of squealing children were waiting to greet him -- his sons and daughters, and a slew of nieces and nephews.

His brother, Aimal Ahmadi, said Ezmarai pulled his white sedan into the driveway of a modest house in Kwaja Burga, a densely populated neighbourhood in the northwest of the Afghan capital, and handed the keys to his eldest son to park.

Youngsters piled into the vehicle -- pretending the parking routine was an adventure -- while Ezmarai watched from the side, his brother told AFP.

Then, according to Aimal, a missile came screeching down -- striking the car with a terrible force and obliterating the lives of 10 people in an instant.

The United States said Sunday it had destroyed an explosive-laden vehicle in an air strike, thwarting a bid by the Islamic State to detonate a car bomb at Kabul airport.
Aug 31, 2021 15:38 (IST)
Taliban celebrate victory where last US troops departed

Hours after the final foreign forces flew out of Afghanistan, a group of Taliban leaders walked victorious through the airport, flanked by their elite "Badri 313" guards, to inspect what had been left behind.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid -- tipped to be minister of information when a new government is named -- led a group of officials onto the runway, his usual stoic expression replaced by a broad grin.

The special forces unit posed for pictures, brandishing US M-16 rifles and flying the Taliban's white flag.

The atmosphere was one of triumph and victory, but all around was evidence of the chaotic withdrawal of US troops after a 20-year occupation, and the hurried evacuation of more than 120,000 people fearful of the Taliban's return to power.

Once one of the most secure sites in Afghanistan, the airport's passenger terminal was trashed.
Aug 31, 2021 15:14 (IST)
UK says hundreds of its nationals left in Afghanistan

The number of UK nationals left behind in Afghanistan is in the "low hundreds", British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Tuesday, after the two-decade Western military presence there ended.

Raab added he was unable to give an exact figure for how many British nationals and others potentially eligible to leave Afghanistan had not been evacuated following the Taliban's takeover.

"It's very difficult to give you a firm figure," he told BBC radio, hours after the last US troops flew out of country. 

Britain concluded its airlifts from Kabul airport on Saturday.

"I can tell you that for UK nationals we've secured since April over 5,000, and we're in the low hundreds (remaining)," Raab said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed Britain's evacuation efforts as they ended over the weekend, noting it had airlifted over 15,000 people in the last two weeks.
Aug 31, 2021 13:20 (IST)
Five challenges for the Taliban in Afghanistan
The Taliban have won the war -- now they have to govern Afghanistan.

The transition presents an enormous test for the Islamists in a desperately poor, diplomatically isolated country where deep-seated political and social problems have been compounded by more than four decades of war.

Here are five challenges facing the Taliban:

Lack of trust
There is widespread suspicion about the Taliban among Afghans, and for good reason.

While there has been relief in some parts of rural Afghanistan where people wanted an end to the violence, many Afghans say that actions, not words, matter.

Women, particularly in cities, remain fearful of stepping outside, and there is at least one pocket of armed resistance in the Panjshir valley, a traditional anti-Taliban bastion.

Economic, humanitarian catastrophe
Afghanistan is one of the poorest nations in the world. After the Taliban were toppled in 2001, huge amounts of foreign aid flowed into the country. International assistance was more than 40 percent of GDP in 2020.

The Taliban have gained some sources of income after taking over Afghanistan, such as customs revenue from border crossings, but that too is a fraction of national needs.

Brain drain
Beyond the cash crunch, the Taliban face another critical shortage: skilled Afghans.

As US-led forces began to withdraw and the previous government started to lose control, Afghans with skills, experience and resources headed for the exits.

Their spokesman has urged skilled Afghans not to leave, saying the country needed "experts" such as doctors and engineers.

Diplomatic isolation
The Taliban's first regime was largely a pariah on the global stage.

This time, they appear keen on wide international recognition, even as most nations have suspended or closed their diplomatic missions in Kabul.

The group has contacts with regional powers such as Pakistan, Iran, Russia and China, as well as Qatar -- which hosted the Taliban's political office for years.

But none have recognised them yet, and the United States has said any legitimacy "will have to be earned".

In an apparent sign of the divide on how to handle the Taliban, China and Russia abstained from a UN Security Council resolution requiring the group to let Afghans leave.

Moscow and Beijing did not use their veto after language related to the Taliban was softened, experts said.

ISIS terror threat
The Taliban may have taken control of Afghanistan but the threat of terror attacks in the country has not ended with their insurgency.

Their jihadist rival, the regional chapter of the ISIS group, has already carried out a deadly suicide attack in Kabul, killing more than 100 people at the airport during the evacuation operation.

The Taliban and ISIS are both hardline Sunni extremists, but the latter has an even harsher and brutal interpretation of Islamic law. ISIS has said it will continue to fight in Afghanistan, and its statements have described the Taliban as apostates.

The Taliban now face a sharp role reversal: they have to defend the Afghan people from the kind of attacks their own fighters carried out for years.
Aug 31, 2021 11:32 (IST)
Aug 31, 2021 11:13 (IST)
Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis: US drone strike wiped out Kabul family, brother says

When Ezmarai Ahmadi returned home from work on Sunday evening in Kabul, the usual gaggle of squealing children were waiting to greet him -- his sons and daughters, and a slew of nieces and nephews.

He pulled his white sedan into the driveway of a modest house in Kwaja Burga, a densely populated neighbourhood in the northwest of the Afghan capital, and handed the keys to his eldest son to park.

Youngsters piled into the vehicle -- pretending the parking routine was an adventure -- while Ezmarai watched from the side.

Then out of the blue Afghan sky, a missile came screeching down -- striking the car with a terrible force and obliterating the lives of 10 people in an instant.

The United States said Sunday it had destroyed an explosive-laden vehicle in an air strike, thwarting a bid by the Islamic State to detonate a car bomb at Kabul airport.
Aug 31, 2021 10:37 (IST)
Taliban celebrate defeating the United States

The Taliban joyously fired guns into the air and offered words of reconciliation on Tuesday, as they celebrated defeating the United States and returning to power after two decades of war that devastated Afghanistan.

The last of 6,000 US troops who oversaw a desperate evacuation effort flew out of Kabul airport on Monday night, ending the war that has diminished the United States' status as a superpower.

Taliban fighters quickly swept into the airport and fired weapons into the sky in jubilation, an astonishing return after US forces invaded in 2001 and toppled the hardline Islamists for supporting Al-Qaeda.

"Congratulations to Afghanistan... this victory belongs to us all," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters hours later from the runway of the airport.

Mujahid said the Taliban's victory was a "lesson for other invaders".

However the Taliban have repeatedly promised a more tolerant and open brand of rule compared with their first stint in power, and Mujahid continued that theme.
Aug 31, 2021 08:28 (IST)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Taliban has to earn legitimacy, support

The Taliban has to earn international legitimacy and support, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.

He said the group can do this by meeting its commitments and obligations.

"The Taliban seeks international legitimacy and support. Our message is: any legitimacy and any support will have to be earned," Blinken said in an address to the nation hours after the US concluded its mission to Afghanistan early Tuesday.

"The Taliban can do that by meeting commitments and obligations - on freedom of travel; respecting the basic rights of the Afghan people, including women and minorities; upholding its commitments on counterterrorism; not carrying out reprisal violence against those who choose to stay in Afghanistan; and forming an inclusive government that can meet the needs and reflect the aspirations of the Afghan people," he said.

Blinken said the US engaged with the Taliban during the past few weeks for evacuation operations.
Aug 31, 2021 07:02 (IST)
Taliban Legitimacy, Support Will Need To Be Earned, Says US

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. Read Here 
Aug 31, 2021 06:39 (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 06:21 (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