Biden pledges evacuation assist, Taliban beat again crowds at airport


KABUL/WASHINGTON:

The United States has an unwavering dedication to getting U.S. residents and at-risk Afghans out of Afghanistan, President Joe Biden mentioned, as Taliban fighters beat again hundreds determined to flee exterior Kabul airport on Sunday. 

Biden mentioned the safety scenario in Afghanistan was altering quickly and his administration was underneath no illusions concerning the risk from Islamic State militants in Afghanistan often known as ISIS-Ok (for Khorasan).

The Taliban, which seized energy in Afghanistan final week because the United States and its allies withdrew troops after a 20-year struggle, fired within the air and used batons to pressure folks to kind queues exterior the airport, witnesses mentioned. On Saturday, seven Afghans have been killed in a crush on the gates.

A U.S. Marine comforts an infant while they wait for the mother during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Afghanistan, August 21, 2021. Picture taken August 21, 2021. U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Nicholas Guevara/Handout via REUTERS

A U.S. Marine comforts an toddler whereas they anticipate the mom throughout an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Afghanistan, August 21, 2021. Picture taken August 21, 2021. U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Nicholas Guevara/Handout through REUTERS

A NATO official mentioned at the very least 20 folks had died prior to now seven days in and across the airport. Some have been shot and others died in stampedes, witnesses have mentioned.

“Let me be clear, the evacuation of thousands from Kabul is going to be hard and painful” and would have been “no matter when it began,” Biden mentioned in a briefing on the White House.

“We have a long way to go and a lot could still go wrong.”

Biden mentioned he had directed the State Department to contact Americans stranded in Afghanistan by telephone, e-mail and different means, and the United States had a plan to move them to the airport.

“We’re executing a plan to move groups of these Americans to safety and to safely and effectively move them to the airport compound. For security reasons, I’m not going to go into detail … but I will say again today what I’ve said before: Any American who wants to get home will get home.”

Afghan allies of the West and weak Afghans comparable to ladies activists and journalists can be helped too, he mentioned.

READ US orders industrial planes to assist move Afghanistan evacuees

On Sunday, there have been no main accidents as gunmen beat again the crowds, based on witnesses. The Taliban had been “cooperative” about extending the airport perimeter, Biden mentioned.

A U.S. Marine provides meals ready-to-eat to a child during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 21, 2021. Picture taken August 21, 2021. U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Samuel Ruiz/Handout via REUTERS

A U.S. Marine gives meals ready-to-eat to a baby throughout an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 21, 2021. Picture taken August 21, 2021. U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Samuel Ruiz/Handout through REUTERS

Asked by a reporter whether or not the United States would lengthen an Aug. 31 deadline for evacuations, Biden replied: “Our hope is we will not have to extend but there are going to be discussions I suspect on how far along we are in the process.”

Civilian plane

The United States on Sunday sought the assistance of six industrial airways to move folks after their evacuation from Afghanistan. Biden mentioned folks have been being assisted by greater than two dozen international locations in 4 continents.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson referred to as a digital assembly of leaders of the Group of Seven rich nations for Tuesday to “ensure safe evacuations, prevent a humanitarian crisis and support the Afghan people”.

Britain plans to push world leaders to think about new sanctions on the Taliban when the G7 meets, sources advised Reuters. Biden mentioned he would assist that effort, relying on the conduct of the Taliban.

Panicked Afghans have tried to board flights out of Kabul since final weekend, fearing reprisals and a return to a harsh model of Islamic regulation the Sunni Muslim group exercised whereas in energy 20 years in the past.

A U.S. Marine provides a meal ready-to-eat to a child during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 21, 2021. Picture taken August 21, 2021. U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Samuel Ruiz/Handout via REUTERS

A U.S. Marine gives a meal ready-to-eat to a baby throughout an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 21, 2021. Picture taken August 21, 2021. U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Samuel Ruiz/Handout through REUTERS

Leaders of the Taliban, who’ve sought to point out a extra reasonable face since capturing Kabul, have begun talks on forming a authorities.

Opposition

They face opposition from forces in northern Afghanistan, which mentioned this weekend they’d taken three districts near the Panjshir valley.

READ Pakistan working with ‘all groups to ensure Taliban live up to promises’

Anti-Taliban chief Ahmad Massoud mentioned on Sunday he hoped to carry peaceable talks with the Islamist motion however that his forces within the Panjshir – remnants of military models, particular forces and militiamen – have been able to battle.

“We want to make the Taliban realise that the only way forward is through negotiation,” he mentioned. “We do not want a war to break out.”

The Taliban mentioned lots of of their fighters have been heading in the direction of Panjshir, displaying a video on Twitter of a column of captured vans with the white Taliban flag however nonetheless bearing their authorities markings transferring alongside a freeway.

The United States and different international locations together with Britain have introduced in a number of thousand troops to assist evacuate international residents and at-risk Afghans from Kabul, however have been cautious to keep away from clashes with the Taliban.

A Taliban official mentioned: “We are seeking complete clarity on foreign forces’ exit plan”.

Taliban political workplace spokesman Mohammed Naeem advised Saudi-owned Al Hadath TV that talks are ongoing with the United States and different international locations. He mentioned al Qaeda isn’t current in Afghanistan and the Taliban has no relationship with it.

Afghans who fled prior to now week have spoken about their despair at leaving family members behind. “It was very difficult to leave,” a veiled girl advised Reuters in Qatar. “I love my country.”

The World Health Organization and U.N. kids’s company UNICEF referred to as for a humanitarian air bridge to ship help to Afghanistan to assist greater than 18 million folks in want.

U.S. Army Major General William Taylor mentioned on Saturday that the United States prior to now week had evacuated 17,000 folks, together with 2,500 Americans, from Kabul.

On one of many flights, an Afghan girl gave beginning on board moments after touchdown at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Saturday, the U.S. Air Force mentioned on Twitter. The girl delivered a child lady within the cargo bay of a C-17 plane. The mom and child have been in good situation, the tweet mentioned.

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