Afghanistan latest news – Taliban fighters 'lashing families with STICKS' as they try to escape Afghanistan

SCENES at the airport are becoming increasingly horrific as footage shows children being passed over walls by their parents in desperate attempts to save them.

Other vids show people trying to climb over barbed wire into the airport compound and board flights to flee Afghanistan.

Heavily-armed Taliban fighters have been circling the airport's perimeter fence, and there have been reports of shots being fired at civilians.

One journalist reported to the BBC that they have seen Taliban fighters using sticks and ropes to lash civilians.

Read our Afghanistan live blog below for the latest news & updates…

  • Milica Cosic

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SAYS AFGHAN ‘DRACONIAN’ ASYLUM MEASURES MAY ‘VILIFY’ REFUGEES WHO MAKE OWN WAY TO UK

    Steve Valdez-Symonds, refugee and migrant rights director at Amnesty International UK, said the announcement on Tuesday evening was welcome but was “unforgivably slow or just not focused on the most immediate emergency for people at risk in the country”.

    He said: “And what, meanwhile, about Afghans who make their own way to the UK to seek asylum or who are already here? Will they still be vilified and criminalised by the Government’s draconian new asylum measures?”

  • Milica Cosic

    EXPLAINED: WHAT DO THE TALIBAN WANT?

    The Taliban is on a bloody path to wrest back control of Afghanistan, following the withdrawal of foreign forces.

    They have up to 100,000 full-time fighters, and are "stronger now than at any point in the past 20 years," reports the Council on Foreign Relations.

    The militants have ramped up their push across much of Afghanistan, turning their guns on provincial capitals after taking large swaths of land in the mostly rural countryside.

    As of August 9, 2021, Afghan government forces were fighting the Taliban for a string of southern cities.

    The loss of any major southern city would represent a significant shift in the balance of power.

  • Milica Cosic

    BIDEN SAYS 'MILITARY FORCE' NOT THE WAY TO PROTECT WOMEN'S RIGHTS

    Joe Biden also told ABC that war is not the answer to growing fears for the human rights of women in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.

    "The idea that we're able to deal with the rights of women around the world by military force is not rational," Biden said in his first interview since the Taliban victory triggered a frantic final US withdrawal.

    Referring to the Uighur ethnic minority in China and other areas of the world facing extreme human rights abuses, Biden said "the way to deal with that is not with a military invasion."

    "There are a lot of places where women are being subjugated," he said. "The way to deal with that is putting economic, diplomatic and international pressure on them to change their behavior."

    Biden told ABC that many women were trying to leave Afghanistan through the US evacuation at Kabul's airport. The president said he told advisors to "get them out, get their families out."

    "As many as we can get out we should," he said.

  • Milica Cosic

    HARROWING FOOTAGE OF STOWAWAYS FALLING HUNDREDS OF FEET FROM AIRCRAFT SHOCKED THE WORLD

    Harrowing video shows stowaways falling several hundred feet to their deaths after being thrown from a C-17 transport aircraft taking off from Kabul airport.

    Other images taken from the ground show stowaways clinging to the plane as it took off.

    At one stage, US Apache helicopter gunships were brought in to clear a path for the transport planes, swooping low to disperse people massed on the runway and firing warning shots.

    One witness said he had seen the bodies of five people being taken to a vehicle at the airport.

    American troops guarding the airport were forced to fire shots into the air but it's unclear if those who died were hit by bullets or crushed in the stampede. Dozens were later reportedly treated for gunshot wounds at a hospital in Kabul.

  • Milica Cosic

    TALIBAN ‘KNOCKING ON DOORS AND TELLING AFGHANS TO GO BACK TO WORK

    It has been reported that armed Taliban members are knocking on doors of Afghan civilians in cities, telling fearful residents to return to their jobs. This comes just a day after the militants announced they wanted to revive the country’s battered economy.

    Wasima, 38, told the Reuters she was shocked when three Taliban members with guns visited her home on Wednesday morning. She said they took down her details, enquired about her job, as well as her salary, and told her to resume working.

    Others, who wish to remain anonymous, told Reuters that there had been unannounced visits from the Taliban in the past 48 hours.

  • Milica Cosic

    AIRPORT CHAOS

    US troops reportedly used teargas and fired shots into the air on Wednesday night, according to DailyMail.com.

    Taliban fighters have been seen surrounding the streets around the airport in efforts to prevent Afghans from being evacuated. 

    According to DailyMail.com, 12 US Air Force C-17 cargo jets removed only 2,000 people from the region overnight. 

    It equals only 160 people in planes which can hold 600 each. 

    This figure remains far below the 5,000 to 8,000 the Pentagon said it could evacuate a day.

    Only 1,800 of the 7,000 evacuated so far were American citizens or residents. 

    The rest were made up of translators and interpreters who worked on American camps and could be targeted by the Taliban if found. 

    Panicked Afghans are still desperate to get into the airport
  • Milica Cosic

    US FIGHTER JETS FLYING OVER KABUL AS US TROOPS FIRE SHOTS AND USE TEARGAS ON DESPERATE CROWDS

    The Pentagon revealed on Thursday that armed fighter jets have been engaged in “overwatch” missions but claimed there are no hostile interactions with the Taliban, or attempts to impede the evacuation from Afghanistan. 

    Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told the news briefing that the jets had not carried out any “low pass” flights over Kabul but were there to provide an “added layer of force.” 

    "The overwatch flights … have been in the air since before the noncombatant evacuation operation," he said.

    "It's a prudent force protection measure in the air, to make sure that we can protect our people and our operations against any threat.

    "This is a continuum. It is not something new,” Kirby added. 

    "Protection is the prudent and responsible thing to do."

    It comes as it was revealed that only 7,000 people have been evacuated from the country since Sunday. 

    Read more here.

  • Milica Cosic

    AFGHAN GIRLS SING ON AIRPORT RUNWAY

    BBC news' South Asia Correspondent, Rajini Vaidyanathan, shares a harrowing video of Afghan girls singing on an airport runway.

    In the tweet, Rajini translates the words the girls are singing; “I became homeless”.

    She also says: "Their sweet, soothing voices filled with the pain so many there are feeling."

  • Milica Cosic

    UK 'USING EVERY SPACE POSSIBLE' ON EVACUATION FLIGHTS, GOVERNMENT SAYS

    The UK is using "every space possible" on its evacuation flights leaving Afghanistan, according to the Defence Secretary.

    Ben Wallace said other nations have been offered places on UK planes, with Nato interpreters and some Japanese people "in need" among those to receive help.

    Reports have suggested evacuation flights to other countries had left Kabul with only a handful of people on board. But Mr Wallace told Times Radio: "Our people are getting through, we haven't sent a single empty plane home. And I don't think many other nations have.

    "I can't speak for other nations, obviously, but fundamentally the key here is when we have a plane, if we have a single empty seat, we will offer it to other nations.

    "We've taken out interpreters who work for Nato, for example, we've taken out fellow European or other… we took some Japanese people out recently who were in need, so we will use every space on our planes possible."

  • Milica Cosic

    BIDEN BLASTED FOR ‘BALD-FACED LIES’ OVER KABUL CHAOS (CONTINUED…)

    Republicans blasted Biden for his remarks as some accused the president of "ignorance and dishonesty", MailOnline reports.

    Senator Tom Cotton tweeted: "No way to avoid chaos? That's a bald-faced lie. Joe Biden is as dishonest as he is impotent."

    Meanwhile, Rep. Liz Cheney said: "A truly ignorant and shameful performance by an American president."

    Read the article in full here.

  • Milica Cosic

    BIDEN BLASTED FOR ‘BALD-FACED LIES’ OVER KABUL CHAOS

    The criticism comes as the president snapped at photographs that showed stowaways falling to their deaths as they tried to escape the Taliban.

    Biden didn’t appear to show any regrets following the chaotic scenes in Kabul that saw US diplomats hastily evacuated as insurgents seized the capital on Sunday.

    Critics compared the retreat to the "fall of Saigon" in 1975 that effectively ended the Vietnam War.

    Biden told ABC on Wednesday: “No, I don't think it could have been handled in a way that, we're gonna go back in hindsight and look.

    "But the idea that somehow, there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don't know how that happens. I don't know how that happened."

    Biden was slammed for 'bald-faced lies' following his interview on ABC
  • Milica Cosic

    Ex-British army worker stuck in Afghanistan fears for his life

    A former British army airbase worker, who is stuck in Afghanistan, has described his fear of not being able to get out of the country.

    His application to move to the UK was disrupted by the Taliban’s takeover.

    The worker said: “I am really worried and concerned about the wellbeing of myself and my family. Anything can happen at any moment to us,” he told PA. “When anyone knocks on my door I expect something bad will happen to me. When I see the Taliban’s movements outside of my compound, [I see] they are searching houses of government officials who have been living there. It’s really frustrating and exhausting situation.

    “If my family’s lives and my life are saved, that would be greatly appreciated.”

  • Milica Cosic

    A NEW UPRISING

    President Saleh has been seen with the son of his former mentor, the famed anti-Taliban fighter Ahmed Shah Massoud in the mountains as they form up a resistance.

    Speaking to the Times earlier this year, he said: "I am ready to die with a chest and head full of a hundred bullets rather than be part of an elite deal which will sell the rights of my people to a medieval terrorist organisation."

    Massoud led the Northern Alliance against the Taliban until his assassination by al-Qaeda, two days before the fall of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.

    Saleh said: "I will never betray the soul and legacy of my hero Ahmad Shah Massoud, the commander, the legend and the guide."

    The Northern Alliance movement is now officially alive for the first time since 2001, led by the 32-year-old son of its ex-leader Massoud and who shares his name.

    Ahmad Massoud, who was trained at Sandhurst, said: "I am in Panjshir with my people.We will stand with our people to the end."

    Soldiers from Afghan Security forces travel on an armed vehicle along a road in Panjshir province of Afghanistan
  • Milica Cosic

    SAS-TRAINED AFGHAN COMMANDOS VOW TO FIGHT TO OUR ‘LAST DROP OF BLOOD’ AS RESISTANCE RISES UP AGAINST ‘MEDIEVAL’ TALIBAN

    Afghan forces who are still determined to continue fighting are regrouping in the Panjshir Valley, an area just 80 miles north of Kabul.

    It is the only one of the country’s 34 provinces not to have fallen to the religious fanatics who steamrollered across Afghanistan in a matter of weeks.

    Any soldiers or militias who want to take up arms against the Taliban are being urged to flock to Panjshir – where Afghanistan's vice president Amrullah Saleh has declared himself the country's rightful leader.

    In a Twitter message to Afghans, Saleh said: "Join the resistance. I will never, ever and under no circumstances bow to Talib terrorists."

    He has vowed to resist after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country – reportedly escaping with bags of cash worth up to $169million.

    Read more here.

  • Milica Cosic

    AFGHAN STOWAWAY ‘KILLED IN PLANE’S LANDING GEAR’ WAS FOOTBALLER WHO POSTED FINAL MESSAGE ABOUT ‘CHOOSING OWN DESTINY’

    Zaki Anwari’s remains were said to have been found aboard the US Air Force C-17 transport plane after the aircraft dashed to escape the advancing Taliban while carrying hundreds of refugees.

    It has been reported that Zaki was the individual who became stuck and whose remains were recovered by the US crew.

    In his final Facebook post, the promising young footballer spoke to being the master of his own destiny.

    "You're the painter of your live (sic) Don't give the paint brush to anyone else," he wrote.

    Zaki Anwari was reportedly one of the young men who fell from the C-17
  • Milica Cosic

    SAVE THE CHILDREN SAY UK ‘NOT DOING ENOUGH’ TO HELP STRUGGLING AFGHANS

    Save the Children’s campaigns director Athena Rayburn has said the government’s “obligation” to provide basic necessities for people struggling in Afghanistan is “not being fulfilled”.

    Miss Rayburn said: I think one of the problems with the conversation [in the UK] is that yes, we need to make sure that those Afghans who want to leave have safe passage, but we have an obligation to both those in Afghanistan and those who have left.

     "This is a country that the UK has a historical engagement with, has had a military presence in, and has a very concrete obligation to the Afghan people. That obligation at the moment is not being fulfilled at all.”

  • Milica Cosic

    QANON FOLLOWERS THINK TALIBAN’S RISE TO POWER IN AFGHANISTAN ‘IS A HOAX TO DISTRACT FROM ELECTION FRAUD CLAIMS’

    QANON followers claim that the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan is a hoax being used to distract the US public from election fraud claims. 

    Other conspiracy theorists believe that while the resurgence of the Taliban in the country is real, that it was orchestrated by President Joe Biden, again in an effort to distract from an election audit in Arizona. 

    Despite videos emerging from Afghanistan of the panic and violence, the theory has amassed a following since being shared by popular figure Ron Watkins on his Telegram and Gab accounts. 

    Watkins is the former administrator of 8kun, a website that facilitated the rise of QAnon, according to Vice. 

    “The ongoing failure in Afghanistan is just the beginning of a planned distraction campaign so they can ignore the Maricopa County audit results,” Watkins said on Telegram on Tuesday. 

    The post has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times with thousands of users commenting below in agreement.

    Read more here.

  • Milica Cosic

    CONSPIRACY THEORISTS THINK THERE’S A 9/11 REFERENCE ON US EVACUATION FLIGHT THAT SAW AFGHAN STOWAWAYS FALL TO DEATHS

    The C-17 jet seen in harrowing footage earlier this week has a tail number which reads in part "1109."

    That's led to some online labelling the chaotic scenes at Kabul airport as "fake" because of the September 11 terrorist attacks on America that were coordinated from Afghanistan.

    Others note that "1109 not a good number for US in history."

    Footage shows as three stowaways fell hundreds feet from the transport plane as thousands of desperate Afghans tried to flee the country.

    The two who died are believed to aged 16 and 17 and video posted later appeared to show residents collecting their bodies.

    The chaos at Kabul Airport has already seen at least seven people dead with more people clambering over walls to get in.

    Read more here.

    The C-17 jet seen in harrowing footage earlier this week has a tail number which reads in part '1109'
  • Milica Cosic

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SAYS AFGHAN ‘DRACONIAN’ ASYLUM MEASURES MAY ‘VILIFY’ REFUGEES WHO MAKE OWN WAY TO UK

    Steve Valdez-Symonds, refugee and migrant rights director at Amnesty International UK, said the announcement on Tuesday evening was welcome but was “unforgivably slow or just not focused on the most immediate emergency for people at risk in the country”.

    He said: “And what, meanwhile, about Afghans who make their own way to the UK to seek asylum or who are already here? Will they still be vilified and criminalised by the Government’s draconian new asylum measures?”

  • Milica Cosic

    EXPLAINED: WHO ARE THE TALIBAN AND WHAT DO THEY WANT?

    The Taliban is designated as a "terror group", alongside the likes of  Al-Qaeda by the Security Council.

    Devout followers are responsible for most insurgent attacks in Afghanistan.

    The International Terrorism Guide website explains that "the Taliban are a Sunni Islamist nationalist and pro-Pashtun movement founded in the early 1990s".

    The Taliban is on a bloody path to wrest back control of Afghanistan, following the withdrawal of foreign forces.

    They have up to 100,000 full-time fighters, and are "stronger now than at any point in the past 20 years," reports the Council on Foreign Relations.

  • Milica Cosic

    "I HAVE BAD MEMORIES OF THEIR REGIME" – DESPERATION TO LEAVE AFGHANISTAN

    The airport has become the centre of the disruption around the city as thousands remain camped out, desperately hoping they may be able to catch a flight out of Afghanistan.

    Unconfirmed reports on social media say several people have been killed as US forces and the Taliban – separated by an unofficial no-man's land – struggle to contain the desperate throngs of people.

    "I am desperate to leave, I have bad memories of their regime," a 30-year-old who worked for a foreign NGO and tried but failed to reach Kabul airport said.

    Another man added: "I went to the airport with my kids and family… the Taliban and Americans were shooting.

    "Despite that (the shooting) people were moving forward just because they knew a situation worse than death awaited them outside the airport."

  • Milica Cosic

    TERRIFIED MUMS SHIELD THEIR BABIES AND PASS KIDS OVER FENCE AS TALIBAN OPEN FIRE AT KABUL AIRPORT

    Shocking videos appear to show gunmen firing first into the air and then towards a crowd of people as the desperate efforts to escape the new terror regime continue.

    One video appears to show a crowd people gathered around men in camouflage fatigues – understood to the Taliban's elite Badri 313 special forces unit – before the shooting begins.

    Gunshots then ring out as the armed men attempt to disperse the crowd as the screaming families run for their lives.

    And one woman can be seen clutching her crying daughter as the men point their guns at the crowds in background.

    A woman cradles a little girl as gunfire erupts around her outside Kabul airport
    A man holding a girl runs for cover as gunman opens fire
  • Milica Cosic

    BIDEN SLAMMED OVER CHAOS

    Critics compared the retreat to the "fall of Saigon" in 1975 that effectively ended the Vietnam War.

    Biden told ABC on Wednesday: “No, I don't think it could have been handled in a way that, we're gonna go back in hindsight and look.

    "But the idea that somehow, there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don't know how that happens. I don't know how that happened."

    Biden was probed on the pictures of the chaos seen at Kabul airport earlier this week that saw stowaways fall to their death and desperate Afghans crushed in a stampede.

    Biden also told ABC that troops would stay in Afghanistan beyond August 31 if not all Americans had been evacuated by that date.

    Last month, the president said the US military mission in the war-torn country would've ended by that date.

    He previously made the commitment to bring all US troops home by the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

  • Milica Cosic

    DRAMATIC MOMENT TALIBAN FIGHTERS CHARGE AT CNN REPORTER CLARISSA WARD AND BRANDISH AK-47S DEMANDING SHE COVER HER FACE

    Clarissa Ward was reporting from Kabul Airport on Wednesday when she was approached by a Taliban fighter holding a truncheon who demanded through an interpreter that she hide her face. 

    She told those watching that he was claiming the US is to blame for the chaotic scenes as Afghans try to enter the airport and flee the country.   

    “The cause of all this is America in Afghanistan,” he reportedly told her. 

    “Look at these people. America is really acting unfairly toward them. Why are they lying and telling them they can go to America? Why don’t they stay and help their country?”

    Ward was then reportedly told that the fighter did not wish to speak to her. 

    Read more here.

  • Milica Cosic

    CONFUSED AND DESPERATE AFGHANS WAIT UNDER TALIBAN 'SECURITY' FOR CHANCE TO ESCAPE

    Outside of the British evacuation camp, the Taliban are protection and processing thousands of hopefuls bound for the UK.

    Unfortunately, there are many British nationals and Europeans outside of the compound, waiting to be administered on a flight out.

    Despite having the correct paperwork and documents, many have been waiting days to get to the gates.

    One man from London said he was stuck for two days in front of the gates: "I'm trying to get in… I went to the Americans – they pushed me out, they kicked me out.

    "I went to the Germans, they beat me up with sticks, they fired at us… you can see this gas fired makes you cry.

    "My one-hear-old kid they fired with the gas and everyone was crying right here like an hour ago, the tear gas in the kids, you can see the kids there, like one year's old kid, how can you do that?"

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