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World reacts to Taliban takeover of Afghanistan

CM 15/08/2021

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“We don’t want a single, innocent Afghan civilian to be injured or killed as we take charge,” the official told Reuters. Multiple nations worldwide have reacted to the alarming news.

United States

Top US diplomats were evacuated by helicopter as a “core” of fewer than 50 US officials in Kabul are working from Hamid Karzai International Airport, according to a US official.

The United States is unlikely to change its military strategy in Kabul unless the Taliban impact the evacuation of the embassy. The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the United States had not yet seen the Taliban enter Kabul in a major way.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Afghan forces have simply been unable to defend the country, that it was not in the interests of the United States to remain in Afghanistan.
Blinken said Washington had invested billions of dollars over four US administrations in Afghan government forces, giving them advantages over the Taliban, but they have failed to beat back the Taliban’s advance.
“The fact of the matter is we’ve seen that force has been unable to defend the country,” Blinken said. “And that has happened more quickly than we anticipated.”
Blinken also said embassy staff in the Afghan capital of Kabul are leaving the facility and moving to the airport.
Blinken stated that the US told the Taliban that there would be a “swift and decisive response” if it interfered with US personnel.


NATO is maintaining its diplomatic presence in Kabul and helping to keep the city’s airport running, a NATO official told Reuters as Taliban insurgents entered the Afghan capital.
“NATO is constantly assessing developments in Afghanistan,” the official said. “The security of our personnel is paramount, and we continue to adjust as necessary. We support Afghan efforts to find a political solution to the conflict, which is now more urgent than ever.”
Several UN staff members moved to an undisclosed, safe location in Kabul, according to a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) official.

United Kingdom

Britain’s parliament will be recalled from its summer recess on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, it posted on Twitter on Sunday.
“The Speaker has granted a request from the Government to recall the House at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday 18 August, in relation to the situation in Afghanistan,” the House of Commons account tweeted.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will also convene an emergency meeting to discuss the latest developments in Afghanistan, his Downing Street office said.
“The prime minister has convened a COBR meeting for later this afternoon to discuss the situation in Afghanistan,” a spokesperson said.


Canada on Sunday said it was temporarily suspending its diplomatic operations in Kabul and that its personnel were on their way back home, according to a statement, as Taliban insurgents appeared within days of taking over the city.
“The situation in Afghanistan is rapidly evolving and poses serious challenges to our ability to ensure the safety and security of our mission,” Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said in the statement. Canadian personnel “are now safely on their way back to Canada,” he added.


Sweden’s embassy personnel in the Afghan capital Kabul will leave immediately and the evacuation is expected to be completed on Monday, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said on Sunday.
“All deployed staff will be out by tomorrow,” Linde told a news conference. “The Swedish Migration Agency is working to bring home the locally employed staff.”
 Taliban forces patrol a street in Herat, Afghanistan August 14, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/STRINGER) Taliban forces patrol a street in Herat, Afghanistan August 14, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)


Germany on Sunday shuttered its embassy in Kabul and sped up preparations to evacuate its citizens and local helpers on Sunday as Taliban insurgents entered the Afghan capital.
“The security situation has deteriorated drastically. The German embassy Kabul is closed as of Aug. 15,” the foreign office in Berlin said on its website.
According to diplomats, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas decided to move the embassy staff to the military part of Kabul airport where they are supposed to resume working.
At the same time, authorities in Berlin were speeding up efforts to evacuate German citizens as well as Afghans who used to work for the German military or other institutions.
A defense ministry spokesman did not confirm a report by tabloid Bild that two military planes were ordered to leave for Kabul later on Sunday.
Originally, several military evacuation flights were expected to depart on Monday, with the planes continuing to shuttle between Kabul and possibly the Uzbek capital Tashkent to fly out Germans and Afghans eligible for relocation to Germany.
Less than 100 Germans remain in Afghanistan beyond the government officials still working there, the foreign ministry in Berlin said on Friday.
It was still unclear on Sunday how many local helpers would be flown out.

United Arab Emirates

Emirates airline said a flight to Kabul on Sunday was diverted due to the temporary closure of the runway at the airport, while fellow Dubai state-owned carrier flydubai suspended services.
The Emirates Boeing 777-300 flight circled over the Afghanistan capital, aircraft tracking website FlightRadar24 showed, before returning to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
“We are monitoring developments around the situation in Afghanistan and are working closely with all the relevant authorities to ensure the safe operation of our services,” an Emirates spokesperson said.
Flydubai said earlier that a Boeing 737 service to Kabul on Sunday returned to Dubai mid-flight and that the airline had suspended its services to the city until further notice.


The Italian embassy staff in Kabul will return to Rome on Sunday, the foreign ministry said.
A military aircraft will leave Kabul at 21:30 local time, a spokeswoman said, adding that most of the embassy staff had left the building on Saturday and are currently at the airport.
She declined to say whether the ambassador would be among those leaving on Sunday’s flight and said it was premature to say that Italy had actually closed its embassy.


The Netherlands has moved its embassy in Kabul to a location close to the city’s international airport as The Hague moves quickly to evacuate its remaining Afghan translators and local staff, a spokesman for the foreign ministry said on Sunday.
Also on Sunday, the Dutch defense ministry said it had sent a military plane to Kabul as part of efforts to evacuate remaining personnel. The Dutch government says it will keep its Kabul embassy functions open as long as possible in light of the Taliban’s rapid advances.

Estonia, Norway

Estonia and Norway have requested the 15-member United Nations Security Council meeting on Afghanistan as soon as possible, diplomats said.


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