Newest: High Republicans Says Taliban Are Holding Individuals | Us world information
WASHINGTON – Top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee says some Americans who have tried to leave Afghanistan since the U.S. military left are on planes at an airport ready to leave, but the Taliban won’t let them lift up.
Texas MP Michael McCaul says there are six planes at Mazar-e-Sharif airport with American citizens on board, along with their Afghan interpreters, and the Taliban “are currently holding them hostage”.
A Mazar-e-Sharif airport official confirmed that several aircraft he believes were chartered by the United States are parked at the airport. The Taliban prevented them from leaving the country, saying they wanted to check the documents of those on board, many of whom have neither passports nor visas. The airport official did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.
McCaul says on Fox News Sunday that the Taliban have made demands. He made no information but said he was concerned: “They will always ask for more, be it cash or legitimacy as the government of Afghanistan.”
He said the plane had been at the airport “the last few days”.
MORE ABOUT AFGHANISTAN:
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– USA: Afghan evacuees who failed the initial examination in Kosovo
– Rescue groups: US record misses hundreds in Afghanistan
– US expects to take in more than 50,000 evacuated Afghans
– Afghan women are demanding rights, while the Taliban seek recognition
– For more AP coverage, please visit https://apnews.com/hub/afghanistan
WHAT ELSE HAPPENS:
BERLIN – The Chancellor says the country must ally with the Taliban to help evacuate Afghans who worked for them.
“We just have to talk to the Taliban about how we can get the people who used to work for Germany out of the country and to safety,” Merkel told reporters on Sunday. She added, “They are the ones to talk to now.”
It is also in Germany’s interest to support international aid organizations that help improve humanitarian conditions in Afghanistan. She called it a good signal that the airport in Kabul was reopening to allow medical aid back into the country.
Some western countries are reluctant to speak to the Taliban.
Merkel’s remarks came after a Taliban spokesman told a German newspaper that his group was ready for full diplomatic relations with the Germans and had “forgiven” them for earlier cooperation with the Americans in the country.
Merkel did not refer to his statements and did not speak of the establishment of official diplomatic relations.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Qatar has sent a plane carrying food and medical supplies to Kabul to provide much-needed relief supplies to Afghanistan as the country is facing much of Western aid.
The Qatari Foreign Ministry said the plane landed at Kabul airport on Sunday with 26 tons of medical and food aid, the second shipment of its kind in as many days.
The tiny Gulf state of Qatar took on an oversized role in the evacuation effort when US forces completed their withdrawal from the country last week. It is also expected to play an important political role in Afghanistan’s next steps.
BERLIN – The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has arrived in Afghanistan for a three-day visit.
Peter Maurer arrived on Sunday and plans to visit medical facilities, rehabilitation centers for victims of violence and disease, and ICRC staff.
The relief group said in a statement that Maurer also plans to meet with local Afghan authorities.
Maurer said: “Afghans have suffered conflict for 40 years and now have to work for years to heal and recover. The International Committee of the Red Cross is keen to stay here to support this recovery. “
The ICRC President also stressed that the future of Afghans depends on continued “outside investment”.
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis encourages countries to accept Afghan refugees looking for a new life.
During his public appearance in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, Francis also prayed that displaced people in Afghanistan would receive help and protection.
“In these turbulent moments when Afghans seek refuge, I pray for the weakest among them, I pray that many countries will welcome and protect all who are looking for a new life,” said Francis.
Quoting neither the Taliban nor its policies, the Pope added: “May young Afghans receive an education that is essential for human development.”
He concluded with the hope that all Afghans, whether in their homeland, in transit or in countries that host them, could be able to live “in dignity, in peace and in brotherhood with their neighbors”.
BERLIN – Angelina Jolie has expressed concern about the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan.
The actress, who is also the special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, told a German newspaper on Sunday that she did not believe that the new government in Afghanistan could simply turn back the clock so that everything would be like it was 20 years ago. But she is still very worried about the situation of the women there.
Jolie told the weekly newspaper “Welt am Sonntag”: “I think of all the women and girls who now don’t know whether they can go back to work or go to school. And I think of the young Afghans who are afraid of losing their freedom. “
Taliban fighters conquered most of Afghanistan last month, celebrating the withdrawal of the last US forces after 20 years of war. The insurgent group now has to rule a war-ravaged country that is heavily dependent on international aid.
BERLIN – A Taliban spokesman told a German newspaper that his group wanted to establish diplomatic relations with Germany.
“We want strong and official diplomatic relations with Germany,” says Zabihullah Mujahid of the weekly newspaper “Welt am Sonntag”.
The Taliban are also hoping for financial support from Germany as well as humanitarian aid and cooperation in the areas of health system, education and agriculture in Afghanistan, the newspaper reported on Sunday.
The federal government is reluctant to establish official contacts with the Taliban. Officials say talks are needed to get the remaining former Afghan workers who worked for the Germans out of the country.
According to the newspaper, Mujahid said it was regrettable that Germany cooperated with the Americans during the war, “but that is now forgiven”.
KABUL, Afghanistan – Some domestic flights have resumed at Afghanistan’s international airport in Kabul, with state-owned Ariana Afghan Airline operating in three provinces.
Shershah Stor, the airline’s station manager at the airport, told The Associated Press on Sunday that the flights were to West Herat, South Kandahar and North Balkh provinces on Saturday. He said the flights were conducted at the airport with no working radar system.
According to Stor, three more flights are planned to the same provinces on Sunday.
A team of Qatari and Turkish technicians arrived in Kabul last week to resume operations at the airport, which the UN says is vital to the country’s humanitarian aid. However, it remains to be seen whether commercial airlines are ready to offer a service.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Chief Military General thanked members of the 10th Mountain Division for their service in Afghanistan during the evacuation of Americans, Afghans and others over the past few weeks.
Army General Mark Milley, Chairman of the General Staff, met with soldiers of the military police in the Rhein barracks in Germany on Saturday.
He was standing outside talking to a group and asked them, “You were there for the bombing?” Heads nodded and a chorus of voices replied, “Yes sir.”
More than a week ago, a suicide attack by the Islamic State group near a gate at Kabul airport killed 13 US soldiers and 169 Afghans who crowded around the entrance to desperate flights from Afghanistan.
“You did an incredible job, all of you – Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force – flown out 124,000 people. You saved that, ”Milley said to the soldiers. He said they “showed tremendous courage, discipline and ability to work together. This is something you should always be proud of … This will be a moment you will always remember. “