UPDATED: Two Russian embassy staff killed in Kabul bombing – Russian foreign ministry

UPDATED: Two Russian embassy staff killed in Kabul bombing – Russian foreign ministry

MOSCOW, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Two Russian embassy staff were killed on Monday in a blast near the country's diplomatic mission in Kabul, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Earlier, state-owned news agency RIA reported that a diplomat and an embassy security guard had been wounded in an apparent suicide bombing. Afghan police said earlier that a suicide bomber had detonated explosives near the entrance to the Russian Embassy in Kabul, adding the attacker was shot dead by armed guards as he approached the gate. There were also11 injured after a suicide bomber detonated explosives, police said on Monday, . "The…
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UPDATED: Afghan Taliban, a year after U.S. pullout, seek world’s approval

UPDATED: Afghan Taliban, a year after U.S. pullout, seek world’s approval

KABUL, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Afghanistan's Taliban marked the first anniversary of the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces on Wednesday by calling on the international community to "learn" from the experience and accept them as the legitimate government. The withdrawal, completed a minute before midnight on Aug. 30, 2021, came as the Taliban swept to power after a 20-year insurgency against U.S.-led forces who invaded Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. "The experience of the past 20 years can be a good guide... Any kind of pressure and threats on Afghanistan’s people in the last 20…
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A year of Taliban rule gives Afghanistan security but little hope

A year of Taliban rule gives Afghanistan security but little hope

KABUL, Aug 15 (Reuters) - The Taliban marked a year in power on Monday, but celebrations were muted as Afghanistan struggles with rising poverty, drought, malnutrition and fading hope among women that they will have a decisive role in the country's future. Some people fired celebratory gunshots in the air in Kabul, but the city of 4.5 million people was otherwise quiet one year after the Taliban marched into the capital. The country is safer than it was when the hardline Islamist movement was fighting an insurgency against U.S.-led foreign forces and their Afghan allies, although a local offshoot of…
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UPDATE – Blast hits Afghan capital Kabul, at least 22 injured

UPDATE – Blast hits Afghan capital Kabul, at least 22 injured

KABUL (Reuters) -A bomb exploded in a busy shopping street in Afghanistan's capital Kabul on Saturday and at least 22 people were injured, hospital officials and witnesses said. The blast occurred in a western district of the city where members of the minority Shi'ite Muslim community regularly meet. Video footage posted online showed ambulances rushing to the scene, which is also near bus stations. A spokesman for the Taliban interior ministry said an investigation team was at the blast site to help the wounded and assess casualties. No militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which came ahead of…
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Afghanistan a year after the Taliban occupation: An ongoing war on human rights

Afghanistan a year after the Taliban occupation: An ongoing war on human rights

The word “anniversary” usually brings about happy and memorable moments. But Aug. 15 marks one year since the Taliban takeover and occupation of Afghanistan, and it’s not a happy occasion for my homeland. Recently, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released a report entitled “Human Rights in Afghanistan,” delving into the situation in the country since the takeover. The report is troubling but not shocking as it highlights civilian casualties, restrictions on women’s rights and freedom of speech, extrajudicial killings and ethnic minority persecutions. Yet a lot is under-reported due to the difficulties in gathering evidence against the…
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UPDATE – U.S. kills al Qaeda leader Zawahiri in Kabul drone missile strike

UPDATE – U.S. kills al Qaeda leader Zawahiri in Kabul drone missile strike

KABUL/WASHINGTON, Aug 2 (Reuters) - The United States killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri with a drone missile while he stood on a balcony at his home in Kabul, U.S. officials said, the biggest blow to the militants since Osama bin Laden was shot dead more than a decade ago. Afghanistan's Taliban government has not confirmed the death of Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who had a $25 million bounty on his head and helped to coordinate the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States that killed nearly 3,000 people. U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Zawahiri was killed…
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How the CIA identified and killed Al-Qaeda leader Zawahiri

How the CIA identified and killed Al-Qaeda leader Zawahiri

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a U.S. strike in Afghanistan over the weekend, the biggest blow to the militant group since its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011. Zawahiri had been in hiding for years and the operation to locate and kill him was the result of "careful patient and persistent" work by the counter-terrorism and intelligence community, a senior administration official told reporters. Until the U.S. announcement, Zawahiri had been rumored variously to be in Pakistan's tribal area or inside Afghanistan. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official provided the…
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US and Taliban make progress on Afghan reserves, but big gaps remain

US and Taliban make progress on Afghan reserves, but big gaps remain

U.S. and Taliban officials have exchanged proposals for the release of billions of dollars from Afghan central bank reserves held abroad into a trust fund, three sources familiar with the talks said, giving a hint of progress in efforts to ease Afghanistan's economic crisis. Significant differences between the sides remain, however, according to two of the sources, including the Taliban's refusal to replace the bank's top political appointees, one of whom is under U.S. sanctions as are several of the movement's leaders. Some experts said such a move would help restore confidence in the institution by insulating it from interference by the Islamist…
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Afghan health official warns of disease outbreak among earthquake survivors

Afghan health official warns of disease outbreak among earthquake survivors

KABUL/WOR KALI, Afghanistan, June 26 (Reuters) - Thousands affected by a deadly earthquake in eastern Afghanistan are in need of clean water and food and are at risk of disease, an Afghan health ministry official said on Sunday, days after a U.N. agency warned of a cholera outbreak in the region. At least 1,000 people were killed, 2,000 injured and 10,000 homes destroyed in Wednesday's earthquake, after which the U.N. humanitarian office (OCHA) warned that cholera outbreaks in the aftermath are of particular and serious concern. "The people are extremely needy for food and clean water," Afghanistan's health ministry spokesperson…
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Afghan authorities end search for survivors in earthquake that killed 1,000

Afghan authorities end search for survivors in earthquake that killed 1,000

KABUL, June 24 (Reuters) - Authorities in Afghanistan have ended the search for survivors after an earthquake that killed over 1,000 people, a senior official said on Friday. Around 10,000 houses were partially or completely destroyed in Wednesday's earthquake in a remote part of the country, Mohammad Nassim Haqqani, a spokesperson for the disaster ministry, told Reuters. (Reporting by Mohammed Yunus Yawar in Kabul; Writing by Alasdair Pal; Editing by Tom Hogue)
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Updated: Afghanistan earthquake death toll hits 1,000; toll seen likely to rise

Updated: Afghanistan earthquake death toll hits 1,000; toll seen likely to rise

KABUL, June 22 (Reuters) - The death toll from the earthquake in eastern Afghanistan has hit 1,000, according to a local official in province of Paktika, one of the hardest-hit areas. "1,000 dead, 1,500 injured, and this number might go up, many families have been lost. Injured people have been taken to Kabul and Gardez," Mohammad Amin Hozaifa, information and culture director of Paktika told Reuters. Officially, disaster management officials still put the number of injured at 600.  An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 killed 950 people in Afghanistan early on Wednesday, disaster management officials said, with more than 600 injured and the…
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Taliban to sign pact with UAE on running Afghan airports

Taliban to sign pact with UAE on running Afghan airports

The Taliban will sign an agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on operating airports in Afghanistan, the group's acting deputy prime minister said on Tuesday, after months of talks with the UAE, Turkey and Qatar. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar made the announcement in a Tweet and later told reporters in Kabul that his administration was renewing an airport ground handling agreement with the UAE. It was not immediately clear whether the agreement went beyond existing arrangements or if it included airport security, a sensitive issue for the Taliban who fought for decades against U.S.-led NATO troops and say they do not want the…
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Taliban say female Afghan TV presenters must cover face on air

Taliban say female Afghan TV presenters must cover face on air

KABUL (Reuters) - Taliban authorities in Afghanistan have asked television broadcasters to ensure that female presenters on local stations cover their faces when on air, an official said on Thursday. The move comes days after authorities ordered women to cover their faces in public, a return to a policy of the Taliban's past hardline rule and an escalation of restrictions that are causing anger at home and abroad. "Yesterday we met with media officials... they accepted our advice very happily," Akif Mahajar, spokesman for the Taliban's Ministry of Vice and Virtue, told Reuters, adding this move would be received well…
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Taliban order Afghan women to cover faces again

Taliban order Afghan women to cover faces again

KABUL (Reuters) -Afghanistan's Taliban government ordered women on Saturday to cover their faces in public, a return to a signature policy of their past hardline rule and an escalation of restrictions that are causing anger at home and abroad. A decree from the group's supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, said that if a woman did not cover her face outside home, her father or closest male relative would be visited and face potential prison or firing from state jobs. "We call on the world to co-operate with the Islamic Emirate and people of Afghanistan ... Don’t bother us. Don’t bring more…
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Blasts hit Kabul high school, killing at least 6

Blasts hit Kabul high school, killing at least 6

Three explosions rocked a high school in western Kabul on Tuesday, killing at least six people and injuring children, according to Afghan security and health officials. Many residents in the neighbourhood belong to the Shia Hazara community, an ethnic and religious minority frequently targeted by Sunni militant groups, including Islamic State. "Three blasts have taken place ... in a high school, there are some casualties to our Shia people," said Khalid Zadran, the spokesman for Kabul's commander. He later added that six had been killed and 11 injured in the explosions. The head of a hospital nursing department, who declined to be…
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Taliban bans drug cultivation, including lucrative opium

Taliban bans drug cultivation, including lucrative opium

KABUL/PESHAWAR, April 3 (Reuters) - The Taliban announced on Sunday a ban on the cultivation of narcotics in Afghanistan, the world's biggest opium producer. "As per the decree of the supreme leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, all Afghans are informed that from now on, cultivation of poppy has been strictly prohibited across the country," according to an order from the Taliban's supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada. "If anyone violates the decree, the crop will be destroyed immediately and the violator will be treated according to the Sharia law," the order, announced at a news conference by the Ministry of…
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UN raises $2.44 bln for Afghan aid amid concerns on girls’ education

UN raises $2.44 bln for Afghan aid amid concerns on girls’ education

A total of 41 donor countries pledged more than $2.44 billion towards the United Nations $4.4 billion appeal for humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, the world body said, as international concerns grew over the Taliban denying girls a secondary education. Belgium's minister of development cooperation Meryame Kitir said: "Education empowers women and girls and that's what the Taliban are afraid of." U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the high-level conference urging donors to provide unconditional funding, saying that 9 million Afghans faced famine and that families were selling children and organs to survive. The humanitarian situation has "deteriorated alarmingly" since the Taliban…
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Russia concerned at Islamic State’s plans to destabilise Central Asia

Russia concerned at Islamic State’s plans to destabilise Central Asia

March 31 (Reuters) - Russia is concerned about the plans of militant group Islamic State to destabilise central Asia and spread instability to the country as well, the RIA news agency said. It was quoting remarks on Thursday by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at an Afghanistan-focused conference in China. Lavrov added that the first diplomat appointed by Afghanistan's Taliban government started work in Moscow last month after being accredited by Russia. Photo - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov . EPA-EFE/PAVEL GOLOVKIN / POOL
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Taliban orders girl high schools remain closed

Taliban orders girl high schools remain closed

KABUL, March 23 (Reuters) - The Taliban on Wednesday backtracked on its announcement that high schools would open for girls, saying they would remain closed until a plan was drawn up in accordance with Islamic law for them to reopen. Teachers and students from three high schools around the capital Kabul said girls had returned in excitement to campuses on Wednesday morning, but were ordered to go home. They said many students left in tears. "We all got disappointed and we all became totally hopeless when the principal told us, she was also crying," said a student, not being named…
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U.S. advice to banks: OK to transfer aid money to Afghanistan

U.S. advice to banks: OK to transfer aid money to Afghanistan

International banks can transfer money to Afghanistan for humanitarian purposes, and aid groups are allowed to pay teachers and healthcare workers at state-run institutions without fear of breaching sanctions on the Taliban, the United States said on Wednesday. The U.S. Treasury Department offered guidance on sanctions exemptions issued in September and December for humanitarian work in Afghanistan, where the United Nations says more than half the country's 39 million people suffer extreme hunger and the economy, education and social services are facing collapse. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last week warned Afghanistan was "hanging by a thread." The Taliban, which has…
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A photo which gave life – The story of Mustafa al-Nazzal

A photo which gave life – The story of Mustafa al-Nazzal

A picture can say a thousand words, but can also drive to action, action that saves lives. Mr. Munzir al-Nazzal and his son Mustafa, the Syrian refugees portrayed in the photo by the Turkish artist Mehmet Aslan, winner of the 'Siena International Photo Award 2021', arrived with their family at the 'Leonardo da Vinci' international airport in Fiumicino. Their story, which was born from a winning photo of a competition in Siena entitled the Hardship of Life. https://twitter.com/HurleyOCHUCUPE/status/1452227808609062912 The despair hidden by the smile, which was transformed into hope as they arrived on Friday evening at the Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino airport with…
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Taliban rule marked by killings, denial of women’s rights – U.N.

Taliban rule marked by killings, denial of women’s rights – U.N.

More than 100 former Afghan national security forces and others have been killed since the Taliban takeover in August, most at the hands of the hardline Islamist group which is recruiting boy soldiers and quashing women's rights, the U.N. said on Tuesday. Nada al-Nashif, U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that in addition, at least 50 suspected members of a local affiliate of Islamic State known as ISIS-Khorasan - an ideological foe of the Taliban - died by hanging and beheading. In a speech to the Human Rights Council, she described Taliban rule as being marked by extrajudicial killings across the country and restrictions on…
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UK Afghan evacuation chaotic and dysfunctional -whistleblower

UK Afghan evacuation chaotic and dysfunctional -whistleblower

Britain's handling of the evacuation of vulnerable Afghans from Kabul after the Taliban seized power in August was dysfunctional and chaotic, a Foreign Office whistleblower said in evidence disputed by former foreign secretary Dominic Raab. The government has repeatedly defended its airlift from Kabul against criticism that Britain potentially left thousands of eligible Afghans behind in the country after being caught out by how quickly the Afghan government fell. In written evidence to parliament's Foreign Affairs committee, Raphael Marshall, a former Foreign Office desk officer, said the process for prioritising who to evacuate as "arbitrary and dysfunctional". He said there was limited staffing capacity,…
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France, Europeans working to open joint mission in Afghanistan – Macron

France, Europeans working to open joint mission in Afghanistan – Macron

DOHA, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Several European countries are working on opening up a joint diplomatic mission in Afghanistan that would enable their ambassadors to return to the country, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday. Western countries have been grappling with how to engage with the Taliban after they took over Afghanistan in a lightning advance in August as U.S.-led forces were completing their pullout. The United States and other Western countries shut their embassies and withdrew their diplomats as the Taliban seized Kabul, following which the militants declared an interim government whose top members are under U.S. and…
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Taliban release decree saying women must consent to marriage

Taliban release decree saying women must consent to marriage

ISLAMABAD, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Afghanistan's Taliban government on Friday released a decree on women's rights which said women should not be considered "property" and must consent to marriage but failed to mention female access to education or work outside the home. The Taliban has been under pressure from the international community, who have mostly frozen funds for Afghanistan, to commit to upholding women's rights since the hardline Islamist group took over the country on Aug. 15. "A woman is not a property, but a noble and free human being; no one can give her to anyone in exchange for…
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World Bank works to redirect frozen funds to Afghanistan for humanitarian aid only

World Bank works to redirect frozen funds to Afghanistan for humanitarian aid only

The World Bank is finalizing a proposal to deliver up to $500 million from a frozen Afghanistan aid fund to humanitarian agencies, people familiar with the plans told Reuters, but it leaves out tens of thousands of public sector workers and remains complicated by U.S. sanctions. Board members will meet informally on Tuesday to discuss the proposal, hammered out in recent weeks with U.S. and U.N. officials, to redirect the funds from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), which has a total of $1.5 billion. Afghanistan's 39 million people face a cratering economy, a winter of food shortages and growing poverty three months after the…
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Italy takes in National Geographic’s green-eyed ‘Afghan Girl’

Italy takes in National Geographic’s green-eyed ‘Afghan Girl’

Italy has given safe haven to Sharbat Gula, the green-eyed "Afghan Girl" whose 1985 photo in National Geographic became a symbol of her country's wars, Prime Minister Mario Draghi's office said. The government intervened after Gula asked for help to leave Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country in August, a statement said, adding that her arrival was part of a broader programme to evacuate and integrate Afghan citizens. U.S. photographer Steve McCurry took the picture of Gula when she was a youngster, living in a refugee camp on the Pakistan-Afghan border. Afghan woman Sharbat Gula in November 2016.…
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Detained Afghan pilots preparing to fly out of Tajikistan on U.S.-brokered flight

Detained Afghan pilots preparing to fly out of Tajikistan on U.S.-brokered flight

More than 150 U.S.-trained Afghan pilots and other personnel, held in neighboring Tajikistan for nearly three months since escaping with their planes as the Taliban seized their country, were preparing to depart on Tuesday on a flight arranged by the U.S. government, two of the pilots and others close to them said. The Afghans had spent a full day waiting at the airport in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, for a flight that appeared to have been delayed. They were hoping it would not be canceled and they would depart before the end of the day. "We hope to go out soon," one of…
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At least 15 killed as blasts, gunfire hit Kabul hospital, official says

At least 15 killed as blasts, gunfire hit Kabul hospital, official says

At least 15 people were killed and 34 wounded when two explosions followed by gunfire hit Afghanistan's biggest military hospital in Kabul, a Taliban security official said on Tuesday. The explosions took place at the entrance of the 400-bed Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital in central Kabul and security forces had been sent to the area, Interior ministry spokesman Qari Saeed Khosty said. There was no confirmation of casualty numbers but a Taliban security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there were at least 15 dead and 34 wounded. Italian aid group Emergency, which runs a trauma hospital some 3 km from…
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Taliban’s reclusive supreme leader appears, belying rumours of his death

Taliban’s reclusive supreme leader appears, belying rumours of his death

KABUL, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Taliban's reclusive supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, made a rare public appearance in the southern city of Kandahar, Taliban sources said on Sunday, belying widespread rumours of his death. Akhundzada, known as the leader of the faithful or Amir ul Momineen, had not been seen in public even after the Taliban's August takeover of the country, giving rise to the speculation. A senior Taliban leader who was present with Akhundzada during the appearance told Reuters the supreme leader had visited Jamia Darul Aloom Hakimia, a religious school in Kandahar on Saturday. As the Islamist movement unveiled…
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Blast at Shi’ite mosque in Afghan city of Kandahar kills dozens

Blast at Shi’ite mosque in Afghan city of Kandahar kills dozens

KABUL (Reuters) -Suicide bombers attacked a Shi'ite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, killing at least 35 people, the second week in a row that militants bombed Friday prayers and killed dozens of worshippers from the minority sect. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday's attack in Kandahar, but Islamic State claimed the similar bombing a week earlier that killed scores of Shi'ites in the northern city of Kunduz. Sardar Mohammad Zaidi, imam of the mosque, said there had been four attackers, two of whom blew themselves up at the entrance, allowing the other two to…
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At least 30 killed in Afghanistan mosque blast

At least 30 killed in Afghanistan mosque blast

A bomb blast hit a Shia mosque in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province during Friday prayers, killing at least 30 people, an official confirmed. Murtaza Zarifi, a security officer at the mosque, claimed the attack was carried out by two suicide bombers. The attack also left over 200 people injured. Taliban forces have blocked all roads leading to the mosque where the attack took place. The spokesman of the Interior Ministry under the Taliban administration, Saeed Khosti, also confirmed the incident, announcing in a statement that an investigation has been launched. The explosion comes days after a suicide bomb attack claimed by the…
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Unicef warns 3.2 million children at risk of malnutrition in Afghanistan

Unicef warns 3.2 million children at risk of malnutrition in Afghanistan

Afghan children who were displaced from other parts of the country live in temporary shelters at a camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, 09 October 2021. Some 3.2 million children under the age of five are at risk of severe malnutrition in Afghanistan by the end of the year as a result of the country's severe humanitarian crisis, augmented by the Taliban's takeover of the country, according to the Unicef EPA EPA-EFE/STRINGER
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Afghanistan to start issuing passports again after months of delays

Afghanistan will start issuing passports to its citizens again on Tuesday, a senior official said, following months of delays that hampered attempts by those trying to flee the country after the Taliban seized control in August. The process, which had slowed even before the Islamist militants' return to power following the withdrawal of U.S. forces, will provide applicants with documents physically identical to those issued by the previous government, the official said. Alam Gul Haqqani, acting head of the passport office, told reporters in Kabul that between 5,000 and 6,000 passports were to be issued each day, with women being employed to process those meant…
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Taliban say forces destroy Islamic State cell hours after Kabul blast

Taliban say forces destroy Islamic State cell hours after Kabul blast

Taliban government forces destroyed an Islamic State cell in the north of Kabul late on Sunday in a prolonged assault that broke the calm of a normally quiet area of the capital with hours of explosions and gunfire, officials and local residents said. With Afghanistan's economy close to collapse and large areas of the country in danger of famine, the presence of an apparently well-armed militant cell in Kabul underlined the daunting scale of the challenge facing the new government. The Taliban operation came after a bomb attack near a mosque in Kabul earlier on Sunday that was later claimed by Islamic State.…
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Greece says will not allow ‘uncontrolled’ migrant flows from Afghanistan

Greece says will not allow ‘uncontrolled’ migrant flows from Afghanistan

SAMOS, Greece, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Greece will not allow a repeat of the 2015 migration crisis to unfold on its borders following the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday after visiting a new migrant camp on an island near Turkey. The Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan in August brought fears in Europe of a replay of 2015, when nearly 1 million asylum-seekers, mostly Syrians, fled to Europe by crossing from Turkey to Greece. In the latest example of its toughening migration policy, Greece opened an EU-funded camp on Samos earlier this month, a sprawling facility,…
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Afghan army collapse ‘took us all by surprise,’ U.S. defense secretary

Afghan army collapse ‘took us all by surprise,’ U.S. defense secretary

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Congress on Tuesday that the Afghan army's sudden collapse caught the Pentagon off-guard as he acknowledged miscalculations in America's longest war including corruption and damaged morale in Afghan ranks. "The fact that the Afghan army we and our partners trained simply melted away – in many cases without firing a shot – took us all by surprise," Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "It would be dishonest to claim otherwise." Austin was speaking at the start of two days of what are expected to be some of the most contentious hearings in memory over the chaotic end to the war…
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Taliban ask airlines to resume international flights to Afghanistan

Taliban ask airlines to resume international flights to Afghanistan

The Taliban government in Afghanistan appealed for international flights to be resumed, promising full cooperation with airlines and saying that problems at Kabul airport had been resolved. The statement from the foreign affairs ministry comes as the new administration has stepped up efforts to open up the country and gain international acceptance following the collapse of the Western-backed government last month. A limited number of aid and passenger flights have been operating from the airport. But normal commercial services have yet to resume since it was closed in the wake of the chaotic evacuation of tens of thousands of foreigners…
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Russia’s Lavrov says Taliban recognition ‘not on the table’

Russia’s Lavrov says Taliban recognition ‘not on the table’

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday that international recognition of the Taliban was not currently under consideration. Lavrov was speaking on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders in New York for the U.N. General Assembly. His comments come after the Taliban nominated a U.N. envoy, setting up a showdown over Afghanistan's seat at the world body. "The question of international recognition of the Taliban at the present juncture is not on the table," Lavrov told a news conference.  Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on Monday nominated the Islamist group's Doha-based…
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Taliban hang up bodies of alleged kidnappers in Afghan city

Taliban hang up bodies of alleged kidnappers in Afghan city

Taliban authorities in the western Afghan city of Herat killed four alleged kidnappers and hung their bodies up in public to deter others, a local government official said on Saturday. Sher Ahmad Ammar, deputy governor of Herat, said the men had kidnapped a local businessman and his son and intended to take them out of the city, when they were seen by patrols that had set up checkpoints around the city. An exchange of gunfire ensued in which all four were killed, while one Taliban soldier was wounded. "Their bodies were brought to the main square and hung up in…
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Photo Story – Poverty in Kabul

Photo Story – Poverty in Kabul

An Afghan woman begs for alms in Kabul, Afghanistan, 23 September 2021. The Taliban has sought to address the ongoing session of the United Nations General Assembly as part of its efforts to establish relations with the world body and represent the country on a global platform. EPA-EFE/STRINGER
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Taliban to resume executions and amputations as punishment

Taliban to resume executions and amputations as punishment

One of the founders of the Taliban has said that the group will resume executions and amputations as punishment. Mullah Nooruddin Turabi warned the world against interfering in the plans, which come just weeks after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan following the withdrawal of Western troops. Mr Turabi, who was chief enforcer of the Taliban's harsh interpretation of Islamic law when they last ruled the country in the late 1990s, said: "Everyone criticised us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments. "No one will tell us what our…
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Malala pleads with world to protect Afghan girls’ education

Malala pleads with world to protect Afghan girls’ education

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan as she left school in 2012, pleaded with the world not to compromise on the protection of Afghan women's rights following the Taliban takeover. As countries and organizations take the first steps to engage with the hardline Islamist group, the 24-year-old Yousafzai said she worried the Taliban would act as they did when they were in power 20 years ago despite a sharp increase in work and education opportunities for Afghan women since then. "We cannot make compromises on the protection of women's rights and…
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Photo Story – Taliban replaced Women Affairs Ministry with Ministry of Vice and Virtue

Photo Story – Taliban replaced Women Affairs Ministry with Ministry of Vice and Virtue

EPA - An Afghan woman passes by the building of former Ministry of Women Affairs which is now replaced with the conservative Ministry of Vice and Virtue, which will oversee the implementation of hardline Islamic rules in the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, 18 September 2021. Taliban officials removed the sign from the former government department that oversaw women’s rights and replaced it with one that read: 'The Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.' The move was harshly criticized by women activists. The Taliban are bringing back the Vice and Virtue Ministry…
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Three killed in blasts in Afghan city of Jalalabad, sources say

Three killed in blasts in Afghan city of Jalalabad, sources say

(Reuters) - At least three people were killed and about 20 wounded in a series of blasts in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Saturday, two sources in the city said. The fatalities occurred during a series of five blasts, the sources, who said they had received information from hospitals and eyewitnesses, told Reuters. One source said members of the Taliban were among the casualties. The second said the bombs targeted Taliban vehicles. Taliban spokesmen were not immediately reachable for comment. There was no initial claim for the blasts. Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar province, which is a…
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U.S. says Kabul drone strike killed 10 civilians, including children, in ‘tragic mistake’

U.S. says Kabul drone strike killed 10 civilians, including children, in ‘tragic mistake’

WASHINGTON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - A drone strike in Kabul last month killed as many as 10 civilians, including seven children, the U.S. military said on Friday, apologizing for what it called a "tragic mistake". The Pentagon had said the Aug. 29 strike targeted an Islamic State suicide bomber who posed an imminent threat to U.S.-led troops at the airport as they completed the last stages of their withdrawal from Afghanistan. Even as reports of civilian casualties emerged, the top U.S. general had described the attack as "righteous". The head of U.S. Central Command, Marine Corps General Frank McKenzie, said…
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MEPs call for protection of vulnerable people in Afghanistan

MEPs call for protection of vulnerable people in Afghanistan

The European Parliament has deplored the violent takeover of Afghanistan, calls for more humanitarian aid and a coordinated response to protect those most vulnerable. MEPs are appalled by reports of violations, including executions, of child soldiers being recruited, peaceful protest and expressions of dissent being repressed, and human rights being restricted, especially targeting women and girls. In a resolution adopted by 536 votes in favour, 96 against and 50 abstentions on Thursday, they call on the EU and its member states to work together to facilitate the evacuation of EU citizens and Afghans at risk, in particular through the use…
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Putin says Russia needs to work with the Taliban

Putin says Russia needs to work with the Taliban

Russia needs to work with the Taliban government in Afghanistan, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday at a meeting of a China- and Russia-led security bloc, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Speaking via video link at the conference held in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, Putin said Russia supported a United Nations conference on Afghanistan and that world powers should consider unfreezing Afghanistan's assets.  Photo - Russian President Vladimir Putin. EPA-EFE/ALEXEI DRUZHININ / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN POOL
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Dutch Foreign Minister Kaag quits over Afghan refugee crisis

Dutch Foreign Minister Kaag quits over Afghan refugee crisis

Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag resigned, after a majority of parliament said she had mishandled the evacuation of refugees from Afghanistan last month. Members of parliament from across the political spectrum said Kaag bore responsibility for the government's slow response to the surge of the Taliban and for failing to prepare the safe passage of thousands of Afghans who could have been eligible for asylum in the Netherlands. "Your chamber has decided the Cabinet acted irresponsibly," Kaag said. "The minister must go if her policy has been rejected." Dutch military planes evacuated around 2,100 people from Afghanistan to neighbouring countries…
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Russia’s Central Asian allies say won’t host Afghan refugees

Russia’s Central Asian allies say won’t host Afghan refugees

MOSCOW, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Members of a Russia-led security bloc that includes some countries adjacent or close to Afghanistan have no plans to host Afghan refugees amid the political and security crisis in the country, bloc member Kazakhstan said on Thursday. The Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) includes three Central Asian nations - Tajikistan, which has a lengthy border with Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan - as well as several more remote former Soviet republics. At a heads-of-state meeting of the bloc in Tajikistan on Thursday, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev "supported the joint CSTO position that the placement of Afghan…
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U.S. Ex-presidents Bush, Clinton, Obama band together to aid Afghan refugees

U.S. Ex-presidents Bush, Clinton, Obama band together to aid Afghan refugees

Three former U.S. presidents - Republican George W. Bush and Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama - have banded together behind a new group aimed at supporting refugees from Afghanistan settling in the United States following the recent American withdrawal ending 20 years of war. The former leaders and their wives will serve as part of Welcome.US, a coalition of advocacy groups, U.S. businesses and other leaders. It launched on Tuesday with a website that will be "a single point of entry," to make it easier for Americans to donate, host a refugee family through the home rental app Airbnb…
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EU says it has no option but to talk to Taliban

EU says it has no option but to talk to Taliban

The European Union has no option but to talk to the Taliban in Afghanistan, the bloc's top diplomat said on Tuesday, adding that Brussels would seek to coordinate with EU governments to organise a diplomatic presence in Kabul. "The Afghan crisis is not over," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told the European Parliament in Strasbourg. "To have any chance of influencing events, we have no other option but to engage with the Taliban," Borrell said, adding that the EU would stress the importance of human rights. "Maybe it's a pure oxymoron to talk about human rights but this is what we have to ask them," he said. via…
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Taliban deny their deputy prime minister, Mullah Baradar, is dead

Taliban deny their deputy prime minister, Mullah Baradar, is dead

The Taliban have denied that one of their top leaders has been killed in a shootout with rivals, following rumours about internal splits in the movement nearly a month after its lightning victory over the Western-backed government in Kabul. Sulail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, said Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, former head of the Taliban political office who was named deputy prime minister last week, issued a voice message rejecting claims he had been killed or injured in a clash. "He says it is lies and totally baseless," Shaheen said in a message on Twitter. The Taliban also released video footage purportedly showing Baradar at meetings in the southern…
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Afghanistan blame game shifts to U.S. Congress as Blinken testifies

Afghanistan blame game shifts to U.S. Congress as Blinken testifies

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will testify twice to Congress this week about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, as lawmakers kick off what could be a long series of high-intensity hearings about the chaotic end to America's longest war. Members of Congress - President Joe Biden's fellow Democrats as well as opposition Republicans - have planned hearings since the Taliban seized control of the country last month after a rapid advance. Blinken will appear on Monday before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee and on Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the first Biden administration official to testify publicly…
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EU joining discussions organised by the United Nations on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan

EU joining discussions organised by the United Nations on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan

Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič participated on behalf of the European Commission, at the High-level Ministerial Meeting on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan.  The meeting, convened by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, aimed to ramp up funding for international humanitarian agencies responding to the acute needs in Afghanistan, especially during this time of crisis. Commissioner Lenarčič said: “There is an urgency to act in Afghanistan to avoid a breakdown of basic services for the people in need. The EU supports all the international community's efforts to continue to stand in solidarity with the people in Afghanistan, suffering from increasing violations of International Humanitarian Law,…
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Afghans face ‘their most perilous hour’, warns U.N. boss

Afghans face ‘their most perilous hour’, warns U.N. boss

GENEVA, Sept 13 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for donors to pledge hundreds of millions of dollars for Afghanistan, saying that poverty was spiralling and many people could run out of food by the end of the month. "After decades of war, suffering and insecurity, they face perhaps their most perilous hour," he said in opening remarks at a Geneva conference where $606 million is being sought. "The people of Afghanistan are facing the collapse of an entire country — all at once." (Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)
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Taliban response to Afghan protests increasingly violent, UN says

Taliban response to Afghan protests increasingly violent, UN says

The U.N. rights office on Friday said that the Taliban response to peaceful marches in Afghanistan has been increasingly violent, with authorities using live ammunition, batons and whips that have resulted in at least four protester deaths. Ravina Shamdasani, U.N. rights spokesperson, told a U.N. briefing in Geneva that it had received reports of house-to-house searches for those who participated in the protests. Journalists have also faced intimidation and one of those who was beaten in custody was verbally threatened with a beheading, she added.  File photo EPA-EFE/STRINGER
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