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Afghanistan crisis updates | Blinken, Jaishankar discuss situation in Afghanistan, agree to continue coordination

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 15. Their sudden victory, which comes as the U.S. withdraws from the country following a 20-year-war, has sparked chaos at Kabul’s airport, from where America and allied nations are trying to safely evacuate thousands of citizens and allies

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke with India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on August 19 over the chaotic situation in Afghanistan. They have agreed to continue coordination.

A total of 7,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since the start of evacuation operations on August 14 and over 5,200 U.S. troops are in Kabul, the Pentagon said on August 19. Cumulatively, the number of people moved out of Afghanistan is somewhere near 12,000.

Here are the latest developments:

Afghan president latest leader on the run to turn up in UAE

Afghanistan’s president, driven out by the Taliban, is the latest leader on the run to turn up in the United Arab Emirates.

The UAE announced late August 18 it had accepted hosting Ashraf Ghani and his family, citing humanitarian grounds.

Erdogan says Turkey is not Europe’s ”refugee warehouse”

Faced with a potential new migration wave from Afghanistan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on European nations on August 19 to shoulder the responsibility for Afghans fleeing the Taliban and warned that his country won’t become Europe’s “refugee warehouse.”

In a televised address following a Cabinet meeting, Mr. Erdogan also said his government would “if necessary” engage in talks with a government that could be formed by the Taliban ” for the stability and security of this country.”

U.S. says Kabul evacuees don’t need Covid tests

Amid the chaos and confusion at the airport, the U.S. on August 19 said it has taken at least one step to ease requirements for those seeking to leave: COVID-19 tests.

Although Afghanistan had been a hotspot for the coronavirus pandemic, the State Department said evacuees are not required to get a negative COVID-19 result to travel.

"A blanket humanitarian waiver has been implemented for COVID-19 testing for all persons the U.S. government is relocating from Afghanistan,” the department said.

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