According to the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s top Republican, some Americans have tried to flee Afghanistan since the U.S. military left. They are now sitting in planes at an airport and ready to fly but the Taliban won’t let them leave.
Rep. Michael McCaul from Texas claims that six planes are at Mazar-e Sharif airport. American citizens are on board along with their Afghan interpreters. The Taliban are holding them hostage.
An employee at Mazar-e Sharif airport confirmed that several aircraft, which he believes are chartered by the U.S., are parked at his airport. Taliban prevented them from leaving the airport, claiming they wanted to verify documents of passengers, many of whom don’t have visas or passports. Because of the sensitive nature of the matter, the airport official refused to identify himself.
McCaul stated that the Taliban have made demands during a Fox News Sunday interview. McCaul did not give any details but stated that he was concerned about the Taliban’s demands for more money and legitimacy to run Afghanistan’s government.
He stated that the aircraft had been at the airport for the “last couple of days.”
BERLIN — Germany’s chancellor has stated that the country must engage in dialogue with Taliban to help Afghans who have worked for them.
Angela Merkel said to reporters that she had to speak to the Taliban to find out how they can expel the former workers for Germany from the country.
She stated that Germany was interested in supporting international aid organizations in Afghanistan, which are working to improve humanitarian conditions. It was a positive signal that Kabul’s airport had been reopened and allowed medical aid to enter the country.
Some western countries are hesitant to talk with the Taliban.
Merkel’s comments came after a Taliban spokesperson told a German newspaper his group was ready to have full diplomatic relations with Germany and that he had “forgiven them” their previous cooperation with the Americans.
Merkel didn’t refer to his remarks nor did she mention establishing diplomatic relations.
DUBAI (United Arab Emirates) — Qatar sent a plane with food and medical supplies to Kabul as part of an effort provide desperately needed supplies to Afghanistan in the face of a halt to most Western aid.
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry reported that the plane arrived at Kabul Airport on Sunday with 26 tonnes of food and medical aid. This was the second such shipment in the same period.
As the U.S. forces pulled out of Afghanistan last week, Qatar, a tiny Gulf state, played a significant role in the evacuation efforts. It is also expected to play a significant political role in the future of Afghanistan.
BERLIN — The International Committee of the Red Cross’s (ICRC) head has arrived in Afghanistan for a three-day visit.
Peter Maurer arrived Sunday. He plans to visit rehabilitation centers for victims and victims of violence, as well as the ICRC staffers.
According to the relief group, Maurer plans to also meet with local Afghan authorities.
Maurer stated that Afghans have been through 40 years of war and now need to recover and heal. The International Committee of the Red Cross will continue to support this recovery.
President of ICRC, he also stated that Afghans’ future depends on continued investment from the outside.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis encourages countries to accept Afghan refugees seeking a better life.
On Sunday, Francis addressed the public at St. Peter’s Square and prayed for assistance and protection for Afghan refugees.
“In these turbulent moments, when Afghans are looking for refuge, I pray to pray for them, and I pray that many countries will welcome and protect all who seek a new beginning,” Francis said.
The pope did not mention the Taliban or their policies but said: “May young Afghans receive an educational, which is essential to human development.”
He expressed hope that Afghans in transit or their homelands will be able “to live with dignity, in peace and in brotherhood with their neighbours.”
BERLIN — Angelina Jolie expressed concern over the condition of Afghan girls and women.
The actress is also a special representative to the U.N’s high commissioner on refugees. She told a German newspaper that she does not believe the new government in Afghanistan can simply reverse the clock and make everything look like it was 20 years ago. However, she is still concerned about the women’s situation in Afghanistan.
Jolie said to the weekly Welt am Sonntag, “I’m thinking about all the women or girls who don’t know if they can return to school or work.” I also think of young Afghans, who fear losing their freedom.
The Taliban fighters seized most of Afghanistan last month, and celebrated the departure from the United States after 20 years of war. Insurgents must now manage a war-ravaged nation that heavily depends on international aid.
BERLIN — A Taliban spokesperson told a German newspaper that the group wanted to establish diplomatic relations with Germany.
Zabihullah Mujahid told the weekly Welt am Sonntag, “We want strong and formal diplomatic relations with Germany.”
Sunday’s newspaper reported that the Taliban are also seeking financial support from Germany, as well as humanitarian assistance and cooperation in Afghanistan’s agriculture, health care and education systems.
Official ties between the German government and the Taliban have been a subject of reluctance by the German government. Officials state that talks are necessary to expel the remaining Afghan employees who were employed by the Germans.
According to the newspaper Mujahid stated that it was regrettable Germany had co-operated with the Americans during World War II, but that this has been forgave.”
KABUL (Afghanistan) — Domestic flights are resumed at Afghanistan’s international airport in Kabul. The state-run Ariana Afghan Airline operates flights to three provinces.
Shershah STOR, the airport’s station manager, said that the flights were conducted Saturday to the western Herat, northern Kandahar, and northern Balkh regions. According to him, the flights were made without the use of a working radar system at the airport.
Stor stated that three additional flights were scheduled for Sunday to the same provinces.
Last week, a team of Turkish and Qatari technicians arrived in Kabul to restart operations at the airport. The U.N. believes this is vital for providing humanitarian aid to the country. However, it remains to be seen if any commercial airlines will offer service.
WASHINGTON — A top U.S. military officer has thanked the 10th Mountain Division members for their assistance in Afghanistan during the recent evacuation of Americans, Afghans, and others.
On Saturday, Army Gen. Mark Milley (chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) met with soldiers of military police at the Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Germany.
He stood outside and asked a group of people if they were there for the bombing. They nodded their heads, and a chorus of voices replied, “yes sir.”
The Islamic State group attacked the Kabul Airport gate with a suicide bomber more than a week before. It killed 13 U.S. soldiers and 169 Afghans, who were trying to board flights out of Afghanistan.
“You guys did an amazing job, all of your — Army, Navy and Marines, as well as the Air Force — flying out 124,000 persons. Milley explained to the soldiers that this is what they saved. Milley said that they had shown “extraordinary courage, discipline, and capability in working together. This is something to be proud of. It will be a moment you will never forget.”