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Afghanistan crisis live updates | Afghan economic meltdown would be 'gift for terrorists,' says U.N. chief

Meanwhile, Rajnath Singh conveyed to Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton hat the rise of the Taliban raises serious security concerns for India and the region.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed for an injection of cash into Afghanistan to avoid an economic meltdown that would spark a "catastrophic" situation for the Afghan people and be a "gift for terrorist groups."

His remarks come after his special envoy on Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, warned the Security Council on Thursday that the freezing of billions of dollars in international Afghan assets to keep them out of Taliban hands would inevitably spark "a severe economic downturn."

Th U.N. chief also appealed to all countries to engage with the Taliban and deliver the same message: The Afghan people should live in peace under an inclusive government that respects basic human rights including for women and girls, and Afghanistan should not be a sanctuary for terrorism anymore and should play a constructive role in international relations.

On Friday, the United States facilitated the departure of 21 American nationals and 11 Green Card holders, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said."As part of our ongoing commitment, today we facilitated the departure from Afghanistan of 21 US citizens and 11 Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs),” Mr. Blinken said in a statement. Measles cases, however, halt U.S.-bound flights of the Afghan evacuees. The U.S. on Friday halted U.S.-bound flights, pulling some off planes, after discovering a few cases of measles among new arrivals in the United States.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh discussed the fragile security situation in Afghanistan and their "common concerns" relating to spread of terrorism from the Taliban-ruled country, with the Australian Defence Minister. Mr. Singh conveyed to Peter Dutton that the rise of the Taliban raises serious security concerns for India and the region as the terror groups having bases in Afghanistan could get further support to expand their activities.

Here are the latest developments:

U.S. envoy praises Qatar for Afghanistan flights

More than 250 foreign nationals have left Afghanistan in the past three days, says Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington’s special envoy and the architect of an often criticised deal with the Taliban.

In a series of tweets Mr. Khalilzad praised both the Middle Eastern State of Qatar, whose national airline carried out the flights and the “Taliban’s cooperation in this important effort,” for the recent departure of foreign nationals from Afghanistan.

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U.S. gives 1st public look inside base housing Afghans

A man walks with a child through Fort Bliss’ Doña Ana Village where Afghan refugees are being housed, in New Mexico. | Photo Credit: AP

 

The Biden administration on Friday provided the first public look inside a U.S. military base where Afghans airlifted out of Afghanistan are being screened, amid questions about how the government is caring for the refugees and vetting them.

“Every Afghan who is here with us has endured a harrowing journey and they are now faced with the very real challenges of acclimating with life in the United States,” Liz Gracon, a senior State Department official, told reporters.

The three-hour tour at Fort Bliss Army base in El Paso, Texas, was the first time the media has been granted broad access to one of the eight U.S. military installations housing Afghans.

AP

Measles cases halt U.S.-bound flights of Afghan evacuees

The U.S. on Friday halted U.S.-bound flights of Afghan evacuees, pulling some off planes, after discovering a few cases of measles among new arrivals in the United States.

A U.S. government document viewed by The Associated Press warned the development would have a severe impact on an evacuation that since August 15 has moved many thousands of people out of Taliban-held Afghanistan, but also been grindingly drawn out for Afghan evacuees and Americans alike, and was plagued by attacks and other deadly violence.

The decision was made by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

AP

Rise of Taliban raises serious security concerns for India, region: Rajnath at talks with Australian counterpart

The Defence Ministers of India and Australia on Friday discussed the fragile security situation in Afghanistan and their "common concerns" relating to spread of terrorism from the Taliban-ruled country, China’s increasing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific and ways to scale up bilateral defence ties, official sources said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with his counterpart from Australia Peter Dutton after latter received Guard of honour, at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on September 10. | Photo Credit: PTI

 

Mr. Singh conveyed to Mr. Dutton that the rise of the Taliban raises serious security concerns for India and the region as the terror groups having bases in Afghanistan could get further support to expand their activities, they said.

PTI

U.N. refugee chief says agency will engage with Taliban

The U.N. refugee agency chief said Friday the UNHCR will engage with the Taliban in order provide assistance to millions of displaced Afghans.

Filippo Grandi, the United Nations’ high commissioner for refugees, also said his agency has so far not observed large numbers of Afghans trying to cross into other countries but warned that the situation could change if conditions in the country deteriorate.

“The priority number one for my organization is to step up, scale up our humanitarian work to help those displaced… Winter is coming. It is very cold in Afghanistan during winter,” Mr. Grandi said.

AP

Another Qatar Airways charter flight departs Kabul with 19 US citizens

The United States on Friday facilitated the departure of 21 American nationals and 11 Green Card holders, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

"As part of our ongoing commitment, today we facilitated the departure from Afghanistan of 21 US citizens and 11 Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs),” Mr. Blinken said in a statement.

Specifically, the department assisted two US citizens and 11 LPRs depart Afghanistan via an overland route, he said, adding that the department provided guidance to them, worked to facilitate their safe passage, and embassy officials greeted them once they had crossed the border.

Additionally, another Qatar Airways charter flight departed Kabul with 19 US citizens aboard.

PTI

Indian American plays a key role in Afghan refugees resettlement in California

An Indian American from California leading in resettlement of Afghan refugees in Fremont city on Friday commended President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken for the evacuation of thousands of Afghans who had helped the United States in its war against terrorism for 20 years.

"President Biden, Secretary Blinken, and our troops led an airlift that evacuated tens of thousands more people than any imagined possible. We look forward to welcoming our Afghan allies to their new homes in Fremont, California, and in other parts of the United States and continue to work with Afghan Community Organisations to assist refugees, people in Afghanistan to bring peace to all,” community leader Ajay Jain Bhutoria said during a webinar organised by the State Department along with him.

PTI

Nations should deliver Taliban message, says U.N. chief

The United Nations chief says all countries should engage with the Taliban and deliver the same message: The Afghan people should live in peace under an inclusive government that respects basic human rights including for women and girls, and Afghanistan should not be a sanctuary for terrorism anymore and should play a constructive role in international relations.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a news conference Friday “it’s important that independently of different strategies, of different forms of contact, all countries are able to convey the same message and to engage with the Taliban in an effective way.”

He said the U.N. is “permanently engaging with the Taliban and we believe that a dialogue with the Taliban is absolutely essential at the present moment.”

AP

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