US special envoy – “More foreigners flown out of Afghanistan”

 With the first passenger flights from Kabul since the end of the military evacuation mission, more than 250 foreigners were able to leave Afghanistan. The US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad announced on Saturday night on Twitter

According to the Federal Foreign Office, these included 45 German citizens and their families on a flight on Friday. On Thursday, Qatar Airways was able to take 15 Germans from Afghanistan to the Arab emirate of Qatar on the first civilian evacuation flight. A spokesman said that there was intensive work on further exit options.

A total of 120,000 people flown out.

After the militant Islamist Taliban came to power in mid-August, more than 120,000 people were flown out in military machines. Since the end of the military evacuation mission in Kabul with the withdrawal of the last US soldiers, western countries have been trying to allow their nationals and former Afghan local staff to leave the country. The US government temporarily stopped evacuation flights with Afghan people in need of protection from places outside Afghanistan to the US because of several measles cases.

Pakistan announced that it would also use Kabul airport again to bring people from Afghanistan. To this end, one wants to carry out charter flights first. Efforts are being made to resume scheduled flights to Kabul, but it could still take some time, said a spokesman for the state airline Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) of the German press agency. 

NATO initiates investigation

According to Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, NATO has initiated “a comprehensive investigation” into the disastrous Afghanistan mission. “The events of the last few weeks have been tragic for the Afghans and shocking for all who support them,” he wrote in a guest post for “Welt am Sonntag”. “We have to learn from it.”

At the same time, Stoltenberg made it clear that the military alliance does not want to withdraw completely. “Afghanistan will not be the last crisis in which North America and Europe have to act together, with the help of NATO,” said the former Norwegian head of government. “There will always be someone who wants to harm us. We saw that on September 11th (2001) and since then in many other terrorist attacks.”

Brother Killed by Ex-Vice President?

The Taliban reportedly killed the brother of former Vice President Amrullah Saleh in the Punjir province they captured this week. Taliban fighters took the brother named Rohullah Asisi out of the car at a checkpoint and shot him, his nephew Schuresch Saleh told the German press agency on Saturday. The Taliban initially gave no statement.

In the past few days, video has been released from the Pandjir Valley showing that hundreds of families were trying to leave the valley. The humanitarian situation had worsened, among other things, because the Taliban recently stopped allowing food deliveries. There was also a video circulating on Saturday that is supposed to show how the Taliban opened fire on an arrested person. A Taliban spokesman wrote on Twitter on Saturday that “biased media” published rumors that they were forcing civilians to leave Punjir. That is propaganda and wrong.

In the capital, Kabul, dozens of women expressed their support for the Taliban at a demonstration on the grounds of a university. The banners they carried read: “We are satisfied with the Islamic attitude and behavior of the mujahideen.” Many of the women were veiled in a way that had never been seen in Afghanistan in previous years: they wore floor-length black robes and black, hood-like headgear. Their faces were also completely covered in black. Such a veiling is not part of the culture of Afghanistan, commented the ex-mayor of the city of Maidan Shahr, Sarifa Ghafari. One should not impose the culture of the Islamic State (IS) on the women of the country.

In the Afghan province of Pandjir  

The Taliban are said to have killed the brother of ex-Vice President Saleh.

The militant Islamist Taliban are said to have killed the brother of former Vice President Amrullah Saleh. His nephew Schuresch Saleh announced this to the German press agency on Saturday. According to this, Taliban fighters took his brother named Rohullah Asisi out of the car at a checkpoint in the Punjir province, which was captured by the Islamists this week, and shot him. The Taliban initially gave no statement.

Saleh declared himself the lawful incumbent head of state last month after President Ashraf Ghani fled abroad. After the fall of the capital Kabul and the Taliban seizure of power in mid-August, he built up resistance in the Pandjir Valley. His current whereabouts are not known.

In the past few days there have been videos from the Pandjir Valley showing that hundreds of families tried to leave the valley with their belongings. It was initially unclear why. The telephone connections are not working. The humanitarian situation had worsened, among other things, because the Taliban have not allowed any more food deliveries since the beginning of their military offensive. A video was also circulated on Saturday that is supposed to show how the Taliban opened fire on an arrested person.

Taliban supporters roam Kabul

 Dozens of women demonstrated their support for the government of the militant Islamist Taliban in a demonstration in  Kabul on Saturday. They roamed the campus of a university and then gathered in a classroom, as seen in videos. The banners they carried read: “We are satisfied with the Islamic attitude and behavior of the mujahideen.” The women were veiled in black practically from head to toe.

The march was accompanied by Taliban security forces. Journalists were officially invited to cover the demonstration. After several protests this week in Kabul and other cities – against Pakistan and indirectly also against the rule of the Taliban – the Interior Ministry had banned demonstrations and declared that future protests would have to be registered in advance. Journalists who reported on the protests were arrested for several hours and severely ill-treated.

 

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