US evacuates 3,000 as Taliban revenge fears grow

The United States has evacuated about 3,000 more people from Afghanistan’s Kabul airport, according to a White House official, bringing the US evacuations tally to about 9,000 since August 14.

Meanwhile, a United Nations threat assessment report says Taliban fighters are conducting “targeted door-to-door visits” of people who worked with the US and NATO forces, increasing the fear of revenge.

“We know that the Taliban has closed off the road leading to the airport as a way to try to restrict the flow of people there as the evacuation flights by the US military continues,” he said.

Meanwhile, rights group Amnesty International has published a report, accusing the Taliban of killing nine ethnic Hazara men in Ghazni after the group’s takeover of the province last month.

As Taliban returns, Afghan influencers go dark on social media

Sadiqa Madadgar’s social media looked much like any other successful young Afghan influencer’s until the Taliban stormed into Kabul and upended her dreams.

The return of the group has sent a shockwave through Afghanistan’s social media. Prominent influencers have gone dark or fled, while residents and activists are scrambling to scrub their digital lives.

UN refugee agency: Afghans at risk ‘have no clear way out’

The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR says that most Afghans are unable to leave their homeland and that those who may be in danger “have no clear way out”.

Spokesperson Shabia Mantoo reiterated its call to neighbouring countries to keep their borders open in light to allow people to seek asylum in light of what she called the “evolving crisis”.

“UNHCR remains concerned about the risk of human rights violations against civilians in this evolving context, including women and girls,” she told a Geneva news briefing.

Germany provides funds for Afghan aid groups

Germany’s foreign ministry is providing 100 million euros ($116m) in emergency aid for Afghan refugees, that is to support international aid organisations helping Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries, a minister says.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz announced the assistance, and told DPA news agency it was “a first step that shows we feel responsible and care”. Further aid is expected to follow.

Pakistan state carrier resumes flights to Kabul

Pakistan’s state-run airline has resumed special flights for Kabul, in order to evacuate Pakistanis and foreigners stranded in Afghanistan.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry in a tweet said Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will send its two planes to the Afghan capital on Friday to evacuate 350 passengers.

Chaudhry says Pakistan’s interior ministry is also facilitating the evacuation of Pakistanis and foreigners from Afghanistan through border crossings.

Spain’s hub for EU’s Afghan allies will have capacity for 1,000 people

The Spain-based hub to receive Afghan refugees who have worked with European Union institutions will have capacity for 1,000 people, Spain’s foreign minister says.

Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares told Spain’s state broadcaster RTVE the hub would be the entry door to the EU for such refugees and their families.

People received at the hub – which includes a COVID-19 testing area – will then be sent on to different EU countries, immigration minister Jose Luis Escriva said earlier.

Taliban making ‘door-to-door visits’: UN document

The Taliban is going house-to-house searching for opponents and their families, according to a United Nations threat assessment report, deepening fears that Afghanistan’s new rulers are planning revenge.

Deutsche Welle (DW) said the Taliban had been doing a house-to-house search to find the journalist who was now working in Germany. Other relatives were able to flee and are on the run now, according to the broadcaster.

“The killing of a close relative of one of our editors by the Taliban … is inconceivably tragic, and testifies to the acute danger in which all our employees and their families in Afghanistan find themselves,” DW Director General Peter Limbourg said, calling on the government in Berlin to take action.

Taliban to allow men’s cricket, no clarity on women’s programmes

The Taliban says it will not interfere with the Afghan men’s national cricket team, the country’s biggest sporting success of recent years, or stop the expansion of the flagship Twenty20 league, an Afghan cricket official says.

The fate of much more modest women’s cricket programmes, however, remains unclear.

“The Taliban don’t have any issue or problem with cricket, and they have told us that we can continue our work as planned,” said Afghanistan Cricket Board head of media operations Hikmat Hassan, adding that the team was ready for three one day matches against Pakistan next month.

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