Taliban says war is over, calls for peaceful international relations

August 16, 2021 - 13:8

The Taliban have declared the war in Afghanistan is over after its fighters swept into the capital, Kabul, and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday.

“Thanks to God, the war is over in the country,” Mohammad Naeem, a spokesman for Taliban’s political office, said.

“We have reached what we were seeking, which is the freedom of our country and the independence of our people,” he added. “We will not allow anyone to use our lands to target anyone, and we do not want to harm others.”

Naeem also called for peaceful international relations.

“Today is a great day for the Afghan people and the mujahideen. They have witnessed the fruits of their efforts and their sacrifices for 20 years,” Naeem told Al Jazeera.

The spokesman said the group did not want to live in isolation and said the type and form of the new government in Afghanistan would be made clear soon.

The streets of Kabul were quiet on Monday, but there were scenes of chaos and panic at the international airport as hundreds of Afghans desperate to leave the country flooded the tarmac.

China says ready for friendly relations with the Taliban

China on Monday said it is willing to develop "friendly relations" with the Taliban after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan.

"China respects the right of the Afghan people to independently determine their own destiny and is willing to continue to develop... friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

Russian ambassador to Afghanistan to meet Taliban in Kabul on Tuesday

The Russian ambassador to Afghanistan will hold a meeting with a senior coordinator of the Taliban on Tuesday to discuss embassy security, Russian Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov announced on Monday.

"Our ambassador is in contact with a representative of the Taliban leadership. As he told me just 10 minutes ago, he will meet tomorrow with a coordinator of the Taliban leadership to discuss safety, including safety of our mission," Kabulov said on air of Echo of Moscow radio station.

There are currently around 100 people in the Russian embassy in Kabul, some of them will be evacuated, the diplomat added.

According to Business Standard, he also said that Russia has no reason to believe that Afghanistan will turn into a new reincarnation of the Islamic State (the terrorist Daesh group) under the rule of the Taliban.

"No, I don't have such concerns, as I saw how the Taliban -- unlike the Americans and NATO, including the fleeing Afghan government [which] did not fight ISIS, but in some cases even pandered ISIS -- fought them. They fought mercilessly. Representatives of the Taliban's top leadership have repeatedly told me that they have only one thing to tell the ISIS -- they will not take prisoners," Kabulov said on air of the Echo of Moscow radio station.

According to Al Jazeera, Russian President's Special Envoy to Afghanistan has said “exclusion of the Taliban from the list of terrorist organizations begins in the Security Council” on Monday.

Ex-adviser slams president’s departure, says it is “shameful”

Shafiq Hamdam, a former adviser to the Afghan president, slammed Ghani’s decision to flee Afghanistan on Sunday amid the Taliban’s rapid advance on Kabul.

“It’s shameful. It’s embarrassing. People feel abandoned, people feel betrayed,” Hamdam told Al Jazeera from Washington, DC.

“After so many years of effort and so many years of investment, he has put a black dark mark in the history of democracy in Afghanistan. He himself escaped with his team and he didn’t have a second thought about the millions of people who live in misery, who live in uncertainty, and who are now left behind, living under Taliban regime.”

Hamdam said the Taliban need to prove they will protect women.

“From tomorrow on, we have to see women going to schools, we have to see women civil servants and teachers, like my mother going to school and teaching. That’s what I want and that’s what the world wants. And that’s a test for the Taliban. To prove if they have changed or not.”

 “At least five killed at Kabul airport”

At least five people have been killed in Kabul airport as hundreds of people tried to forcibly enter planes leaving the Afghan capital, witnesses tell Reuters.

One witness says he has seen the bodies of five people being taken to a vehicle. Another witness says it is not clear whether the victims have been killed by gunshots or in a stampede.

U.S. troops, who are in charge of the airport, earlier fired in the air to scatter the crowd, a U.S. official says.

Taliban regrouping to create governance structure

A Taliban leader tells Reuters the Taliban fighters are regrouping from different provinces, and will wait until foreign forces had left before creating a new governance structure.

The leader, who requested anonymity, says Taliban fighters had been “ordered to allow Afghans to resume daily activities and do nothing to scare civilians”.

“Normal life will continue in a much better way, that’s all I can say for now,” he tells Reuters in a message.

Afghanistan aviation authority advises transit aircraft to reroute

Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) says that Kabul airspace have been released to the military and it advises transit aircraft to reroute, according to a notice to airmen on its website.

ACAA says any transit through Kabul airspace will be uncontrolled and it has advised the surrounding flight information regions that control airspace.

Kabul’s flight information region covers all of Afghanistan.

Commercial flights out of Kabul cancelled

Commercial flights from Kabul are cancelled after chaotic scenes at the airport with thousands looking for a way out.

“There will be no commercial flights from Hamid Karzai Airport to prevent looting and plundering. Please do not rush to the airport,” the Kabul airport authority says in a message sent to reporters.

Afghans denounce priority evacuation of diplomats

Hundreds of Afghans invade the airport’s runways in the dark, pulling luggage and jostling for a place on one of the last commercial flights to leave before U.S. forces take over air traffic control.

“This is our airport but we are seeing diplomats being evacuated while we wait in complete uncertainty,” Rakhshanda Jilali, a human rights activist who was trying to get to Pakistan, tells Reuters in a message from the airport.

U.S. forces fired in the air at Kabul’s airport to prevent hundreds of civilians running onto the tarmac, according to an official and a witness.

“The crowd was out of control,” the U.S. official told Reuters by phone. “The firing was only done to defuse the chaos.”

A witness confirmed the development to the AFP news agency.

“I feel very scared here,” the witness said. “They are firing lots of shots in the air.”

Taliban at ‘every checkpoint’

Charlotte Bellis, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Kabul, said the Taliban was in control of the capital’s streets.

“It’s very quiet in Kabul, surprisingly,” she said from the Afghan capital.

“The Taliban say they sent in 1,000 of their special forces units overnight. They are now in control of every checkpoint and have set up additional checkpoints. I saw dozens of Taliban fighters with guns over their shoulders in police vehicles, in Afghan government vehicles patrolling the streets.”

She added: “There’s not that many people on the streets and it seems as if life can function as normal.”

Taliban say situation in Kabul is ‘normal’

A spokesman for the Taliban said “the situation in Kabul is normal” and that its fighters “are busy providing security”.

In a Twitter post, Zabihullah Mujahid also said the Taliban have deployed special units to different parts of Kabul and that the “general public is happy with the arrival of the Mujahideen and satisfied with the security”.

In an earlier tweet, Mujahid had said the Taliban have assured all embassies that foreign nationals in Kabul will not face any danger.

Over 60 countries urge safe departure of Afghans and foreigners

Dozens of countries from around the world are calling on all involved in events in Afghanistan to respect and facilitate the departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country.

More than 60 nations released a joint statement on Sunday night citing what they call “the deteriorating security situation” in Afghanistan.

The statement says that those in power and authority across the country “bear responsibility – and accountability – for the protection of human life and property, and for the immediate restoration of security and civil order.”

It added, “Afghans and international citizens who wish to depart must be allowed to do so; roads, airports and border crossing must remain open, and calm must be maintained.

“The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity.  We in the international community stand ready to assist them.”

Taliban say situation in Afghanistan ‘peaceful’, no clashes

Taliban officials say they had received no reports of any clashes from across the country a day after the armed group seized the capital, Kabul, and the U.S.-backed government collapsed.

“The situation is peaceful,” one of the senior members of the Taliban tells Reuters news agency. He declines to be identified.

Charlotte Bellis, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Kabul, said the Taliban was in control of the capital’s streets.

“It’s very quiet in Kabul, surprisingly,” she said from the Afghan capital.

“The Taliban say they sent in 1,000 of their special forces units overnight. They are now in control of every checkpoint and have set up additional checkpoints. I saw dozens of Taliban fighters with guns over their shoulders in police vehicles, in Afghan government vehicles patrolling the streets.”

She added: “There’s not that many people on the streets and it seems as if life can function as normal.”

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