Afghanistan LIVE: Taliban declares new Islamic Emirate as Brit ambassador remains | World | News


Joe Biden blasted on Fox News as Taliban advance

Videos showed militants in the presidential palace where they declared the new states as Boris Johnson rushes to evacuate British nationals from the city. The Prime Minister confirmed the UK’s ambassador will remain to process visas for those trying to leave, while also admitting the US withdrawal had accelerated matters. Despite admitting a new regime will be in place, the Prime Minister insisted the Taliban cannot be recognised as legitimate leaders of the state. 

The British ambassador has been taken to a safe location and will be lifted out of Kabul tonight by the SAS according to a report in the Daily Mail. 

Amrullah Saleh, the Afghan vice-president, has also left though his destination is unknown. 

It follows a blitzkrieg advance across Afghanistan, which saw 20 provincial capitals fall to the Taliban in less than two weeks.

Both the US and UK have sent troops to Kabul to help evacuate their nationals as Kabul remains under threat. 

Taliban fighters have reached the outskirts of Kabul (Image: GETTY)

Taliban

Taliban fighters have been making rapid gains across Afghanistan (Image: GETTY)

What do we know so far? 

  • Dominic Raab has returned to the UK to spearhead a response 

  • Both UK and US troops have been dispatched to retrieve nationals 

  • The Prime Minister held a COBRA meeting to discuss the situation 

  • Parliament will be recalled this week

  • UK ambassador Sir Laurie Bristow remains in the country 

  • Boris Johnson releases statement on current situation

  • Gunfire reported at Hamid Karzai Airport

PLEASE FOLLOW BELOW FOR THE LATEST UPDATES: 

Afghanistan

Afghanistan news: UK troops depart (Image: PA)

01:15am update: US looks to secure Hamid Karzai International Airport

The US Department of State and the Department of Defense have issued a joint statement on Afghanistan after the Taliban took over Kabul on Sunday.

The statement said: “At present we are completing a series of steps to secure the Hamid Karzai International Airport to enable the safe departure of U.S. and allied personnel from Afghanistan via civilian and military flights.

“Over the next 48 hours, we will have expanded our security presence to nearly 6,000 troops, with a mission focused solely on facilitating these efforts and will be taking over air traffic control.

“Tomorrow and over the coming days, we will be transferring out of the country thousands of American citizens who have been resident in Afghanistan, as well as locally employed staff of the U.S. mission in Kabul and their families and other particularly vulnerable Afghan nationals.

“And we will accelerate the evacuation of thousands of Afghans eligible for U.S. Special Immigrant Visas, nearly 2,000 of whom have already arrived in the United States over the past two weeks.

“For all categories, Afghans who have cleared security screening will continue to be transferred directly to the United States. And we will find additional locations for those yet to be screened.”

11:45pm update: Trump calls on Biden to resign over Afghanistan

Donald Trump has called on Joe Biden to “resign in disgrace” over his failures in Afghanistan

The comments come as the Taliban declare the “war is over”.

In a fundraising email to supporters, he called the debacle one of the “greatest defeats in American history”.

He said: “It is time for Joe Biden to resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen in Afghanistan, along with the tremendous surge in COVID, the Border catastrophe, the destruction of energy independence, and our crippled economy.

“It shouldn’t be a big deal, because he wasn’t elected legitimately in the first place!”

He added: “What Joe Biden has done with Afghanistan is legendary.

“It will go down as one of the greatest defeats in American History!”

Donald Trump

Donald Trump calls for Biden to resign (Image: Getty Iamges)

Oliver Trapnell takes over from Bill McLoughlin

10.30pm update: Taliban claim the war is over 

After a 20-year occupation, a Taliban spokesman has claimed the war is now over in the country. 

A spokesman for the group said: “The war is over in Afghanistan.

“The movement is seeing the fruits of its efforts and sacrifices for 20 years today.”

9.39pm update: Rapid takeover was always a “possibility”

An unnamed US intelligence source has claimed the US was aware of a growing Taliban force. 

Reported by VOA’s Jeff Seldin, the source said: “We have noted the troubling trend lines in Afghanistan for some time, with the Taliban at its strongest, militarily, since 2001.

“Strategically, a rapid Taliban takeover was always a possibility.

The question all along was whether the Afghan government & military would be cohesive enough & have the willpower needed to exercise its military capabilities to resist the Taliban.

Afghanistan

Afghanistan news: UK troops arrive in Afghanistan (Image: PA)

9.31pm update: Large numbers remain at the airport

Videos across social media have shown large numbers of people at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. 

The Spanish defence ministry has also dispatched two aircraft to retrieve its diplomatic staff. 

8.36pm update Afghan president in Uzbekistan 

According to Al-Jazeera, Ashraf Ghani is in Uzbekistan following earlier reports he had fled to Tajikistan.

Taliban militants have also been seen occupying the streets of the city after declaring a new Islamic state. 

8.39pm update: More US troops heading to Kabul

The US government has confirmed a further 1,000 troops will be sent to the city. 

There are now 6,000 US troops estimated to be left in Afghanistan. 

Kabul: Crowd appears to board plane in Afghanistan

8.09pm update: Violence erupts in Kabul 

According to reports, 80 people have been injured in the city as the Taliban take control. 

The hospital is now full and overwhelmed with patients. 

7.47pm update: Taliban filmed in presidential palace 

In videos broadcast by Al-Jazeera, Taliban militants have been shown inside the presidential palace in Kabul. 

The country’s president, Ashraf Ghani, who fled the state has claimed he did so to prevent any more bloodshed. 

It was earlier reported that he had fled to Tajikistan. 

7.32pm update: Explosions heard in Kabul 

While unconfirmed, there have been multiple reports of explosions being heard across the city. 

Local news is also claiming a further 500 Taliban members are heading for the city. 

Boris Johnson discusses situation in Afghanistan

7.04pm update: Decision to pull out has “accelerated things” – PM 

More from Mr Johnson’s speech earlier this evening: ” I think it’s fair to say that the US decision to pull out has accelerated things, but this has been in many ways something that has been a chronicle of an event foretold.

“We’ve known for a long time that this was the way things were going and as I’ve said before, this is a mission whose military component really ended for the UK in 2014.

“What we’re dealing with now is the very likely advent of a new regime in Kabul. We don’t know exactly what kind of a regime that will be.

“What we want to do is make sure that we as the UK pull together our international partners, our like-minded partners, so that we deal with that regime in a concerted way.”

6.48pm update: US embassy completes evacuation 

6.21pm update: US ambassador leaves the country 

The US ambassador to Kabul has left the country, it has been reported. 

According to reports, Ross Wilson has left the country as the Taliban take control of Kabul and Afghanistan. 

Afghanistan

Afghanistan Live: The US ambassador has left the country (Image: US Gov)

6.17pm update: Taliban ready to attack US forces 

According to journalist Wajahat Kazmi, the Taliban is ready to attack any US forces if they delay withdrawal from the country. 

6.06pm update: Media outlets stop broadcasting

According to reports, media outlets have now stopped broadcasting in the country. 

5.53pm update: More from the Prime Minister 

He adds: “Our priority is to make sure that we deliver on our obligations to British nationals in Afghanistan, all those who helped the British effort in Afghanistan over 20 years.

“The ambassador has been there at the airport to process the applications.”

5.50pm update: Boris Johnson comments on current situation 

As reported by the Daily Mail’s John Stevens, Mr Johnson admits there will be a new Government in the country. 

He adds: “It’s clear that there is going to be a new government in Kabul.”

The Prime Minister adds it is not in the interests of the people of Afghanistan to “lapse back”. 

Afghanistan live

Afghanistan live: Soldiers from the country’s army in transit (Image: GETTY)

5.45pm update: Taliban set to declare new state 

According to reports, the Taliban will soon declare the new state named the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace in Kabul. 

5.32pm update: Taliban sends special forces to exchange market 

According to reports, the Islamic Emirates Special Forces have been assigned to secure the Saray Shazadeh exchange market. 

It is the largest exchange market in the city. 

5.19pm update: Taliban’s grip tightens 

According to the militant group, they have not taken control of the presidential palace in Kabul. 

5.15pm update: BA orders all flights to avoid Afghan airspace 

According to Sky News’ Mark White, the British Airway has ordered pilots to avoid the country. 

He said: “British Airways has ordered pilots to avoid Afghan airspace because of deteriorating security there.

“Other airlines are likely to implement similar restrictions, which will cause significant disruption to what is a main corridor for airlines heading to India and the Far East.”

Taliban representative reveals plans for Kabul to host

4.57pm update: US Embassy reports gunfire at airport in Kabul 

The US embassy in the city has reported gunfire at the Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul. 

Due to this, it has instructed citizens to remain in place instead of trying to journey to the airport where an evacuation is taking place. 

4.48pm update: Pakistani embassy offering emergency visas 

The country’s embassy is now offering visas to journalists and other people at immediate risk as the Taliban takes hold of Kabul, according to reports. 

4.36pm update: UK may deploy further forces to Afghanistan 

According to Sky News’ Alistair Bunkall, the UK is considering sending further troops to the country. 

He said: “I’m told the U.K. is considering sending more troops to Kabul if needed.

“Focus is currently on securing the airport and perimeter – US forces leading the operation and have control of air traffic control tower.”

4.32pm update: South Korea evacuates embassy 

The South Korean government has evacuated most of its embassy staff to third countries, it has been confirmed. 

Afghanistan news

Afghanistan news: Sir Laurie will remain in the country (Image: UK Gov)

4.14pm update: Taliban on the streets

CNN’s Richard Engel reports: “Saw dozens of Taliban on streets of kabul, some in new Afghan security vehicles.

“I suspect over the next several hours/overnight many many more will be coming.”

4.03pm update: UK ambassador to remain in the country 

According to Sky News, Sir Laurie remains in Kabul and will continue to provide assistance to British nationals. 

3.30pm update: Boris Johnson will convene a meeting of COBRA

According to Sky news journalist Alistair Bunkall, the RAF is trying to find enough planes to evacuate British nationals and their Afghan allies. 

He said: “I hear there’s a mad scramble to find RAF aircraft from operations around the world so they can go to Kabul to help with repatriations.

“Initial plans were to start evacuating people on Thursday, that’s been scrapped. It’s a case of ASAP now. 

“The original hope was for as many to leave via commercial means as possible. That’s now gone out the window – military aircraft will provide the bulk of lift.”

Afghanistan news

Afghanistan news: Militants have been ordered to reclaim the city (Image: GETTY)

2.30pm update: Officials condemn West response 

Rory Stewart, formerly the UK’s International Development Secretary, tweeted: “Taliban are in district 5 and district 12 in Kabul – very close to the centre of the city now and advancing.”

Ragıp Soylu, a journalist from the Middle East Eye, wrote: “Taliban and Afghan forces are clashing in the outskirts of Kabul, they aren’t in the heart of the city yet according to several reports.

“Green Zone is closed and Afghan presidency reiterates that the security in the city is jointly provided by international partners aka Americans.”

Taliban victory would give them control over the Afghan central bank, which has over $10bn (£7.2bn) of assets. 

This includes at least $1.6bn (£1.15bn) worth of cash and gold. 

1.50pm update: US officials at the embassy in Kabul 

There are reports of smoke coming out of the US Embassy in Kabul, as staff burn key documents before their evacuation.

READ MORE: Haiti earthquake – Red alert issued after 7.2 magnitude quake – thousands feared dead

Taliban

The Taliban surround Kabul on four sides (Image: GETTY)

1pm update: Helicopters seen at US embassy 

Helicopters have been seen landing at the US Embassy compound to evacuate employees.

12.30pm update: Russia has said it doesn’t intend to evacuate its Kabul diplomatic mission.

According to The Telegraph most UK diplomats and officials have been evacuated, with the number falling from 500 to the “low tens”.

Sir Laurie Bristow, the British ambassador, is one of those waiting behind until later today.

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Taliban

Thousands of Afghan refugees have congregated in Kabul (Image: GETTY)

Taliban

There are fears the Taliban will seize Kabul’s international airport (Image: GETTY)

11.45am update: Taliban closing in on Kabul 

There are fears in Whitehall the Taliban could soon overrun Kabul’s international airport.

Some 600 British troops have been deployed to support the evacuation, along with 5,000 Americans.

Afghan journalist Ali M Latifi said: “People in Kabul are in a panic, running on the streets trying to figure out what’s going on and the President is missing after his pre-recorded (teleprompter read) message this time yesterday.”

On Sunday morning the Taliban captured Jalalabad, the last major city other than Kabul under Government control, without a fight.

An Afghan official said they allowed the Taliban in as “the only way to save civilian lives”.

Joe Biden blasted on Fox News as Taliban advance

10.30am update: Kabul in chaos 

NBC reporter Richard Engel reports the unrest has triggered a run on Kabul banks.

He tweeted: “Saw large crowds in front of banks in Kabul. People trying to get out money. A run.

“Told banks are now closed by an Afghan journalist. He’s on a bike going from one to the next. All shut.”

Taliban

Afghan security forces are trying to hold the line in Kabul (Image: GETTY)

9am update: Background on Afghanistan withdrawal 

President Biden announced earlier this year all US troops would be withdrawn by the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

America invaded Afghanistan following the attacks on New York and Washington DC after the Taliban provided sanctuary to Al-Qaeda terrorists.

As US and NATO troops pulled out the Taliban have made rapid gains across Afghanistan, and now control the majority of the country.

Additional reporting by James Bickerton. 



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