The United States has been considering an evacuation of non-military personnel from Afghanistan beyond the end of the month.
The afghanistan capital is the name of the country’s largest city. Kabul is located in Afghanistan.
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Biden Goes Into Extensive Detail About US Evacuation Efforts in Afghanistan
President Biden said the US has evacuated a “amazing number of people” from Kabul, but that the timetable for withdrawing all American soldiers from Afghanistan, which was set for August 31, could be extended.
“Every day, we transport hundreds of passengers using US military planes and commercial charter flights. We’ve evacuated a massive number of people in just over 30 hours this weekend. Since August 14th, we have evacuated over 28,000 individuals on both US and coalition aircraft, including civilian charters, increasing the total number of people we have evacuated since July to roughly 33,000. We’ll send our people, NATO partners, and Afghans who have assisted us in the combat effort. However, we still have a long way to go, and a lot may go wrong. However, moving 30,000 people out in little over a week is a testimony to the men and women on the ground in Kabul, as well as our armed forces. I want to be clear about three things as this endeavor progresses. One: Planes departing Kabul do not travel straight to the United States. They’re crashing into US military sites and transportation hubs all around the globe. No. 2: Everyone who is not a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident is subjected to rigorous examination and security screening at the landing locations. Any visitor to the United States will be subjected to a background check. No. 3: We will welcome these Afghans who have assisted us in the war effort over the past 20 years to their new home in the United States of America after they have been vetted and cleared.” Reporter: “We have nine days before the deadline of August 31. “Are you willing to extend the deadline?” “Our goal is that we will not need to prolong, but depending on where we are in the process, I expect there will be conversations.
President Biden said the US has evacuated a “amazing number of people” from Kabul, but that the timetable for withdrawing all American soldiers from Afghanistan, which was set for August 31, could be extended. CreditCredit… The New York Times’ Stefani Reynolds
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Biden stated on Sunday that his government may extend the deadline for withdrawing all American soldiers from Afghanistan until August 31, and that all evacuated Afghan allies would be offered a home in the US after being inspected and vetted at other nations’ facilities.
Mr. Biden stated Sunday afternoon from the Roosevelt Room at the White House, “We will welcome these Afghans who have supported us in the war effort over the past 20 years to their new home in the United States of America.” “Because that’s who we are,” says the narrator. That’s who we are in America.”
Mr. Biden said that the military has evacuated 28,000 people from Afghanistan’s chaotic capital since the Taliban took control of the nation on Aug. 14, and that the military has extended the protective perimeter surrounding the airport. He also said that military authorities would consider staying in the nation beyond August 31 in order to finish evacuations.
“Our goal is that we will not need to extend,” the president added, “but I expect there will be conversations about how far along we are in the process.”
The president’s comments came as he stayed at the White House instead of going home to Wilmington, Del., for the weekend, despite ongoing turmoil at Kabul’s airport and a global effort by the US military and diplomats to transport Americans and Afghan friends to safety.
The president said that the Taliban seemed to be following through on a commitment to provide safe passage to Americans and others to the airport, an arrangement reached in recent days even as the organization set up armed checkpoints around the city they now control.
Mr. Biden said, “So far, they have mostly followed through on what they indicated in terms of allowing Americans to travel through and the like.”
He seemed to be referring to several stories of individuals being stopped by the Taliban, adding, “And I’m sure they don’t control all of their troops.” It’s a motley crew. As a result, we’ll have to wait and see. We’ll see whether what they claim turns out to be correct.”
Mr. Biden did not answer yes or no when asked whether the US military would extend the tight perimeter surrounding the airport to assist more people in the city gain safe passage, instead referring to the military’s “tactical adjustments” to enhance security around the airport.
“We’ve always — how can I put it? — expanded reasonable access to the airport, so that more people can get there safely,” he added. “It’s still a risky operation, but I’m not going to go into the specifics of how we’re doing it.”
“We are executing a strategy to transfer groups of these Americans to safety and to safely and efficiently take them to the airport compound,” he said, implying that the military is working on methods to send Americans to the airport who have been unable to get there. I’m not going to get into the specifics of these programs for security reasons.”
Mr. Biden met with his national security staff earlier on Sunday for a “operational update” on the situation in Afghanistan, according to the White House. The government activated the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, which was established in 1952 during the Berlin Air Lift, on Sunday, ordering American airlines to send aircraft and personnel to assist in the endeavor.
However, the exodus from Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, which was captured by the Taliban last week, remained chaotic. Thousands of Afghans fleeing the new government continued to flock to the airport, despite violence and a number of fatalities.
Mr. Biden recognized the issue, but his short comments were focused on what he described as “accelerating progress” in getting people out of Kabul and to safety.
“In less than 36 hours, we pulled roughly 11,000 individuals out of a couple,” he added. “It’s a fantastic operation.”
For his handling of the pullout, which left countries rushing to get their people out of Kabul as the Taliban stormed in, the president has come under fire from legislators on both sides of the aisle as well as global leaders.
Mr. Biden has also been criticized by critics of not showing enough empathy for the situation at the airport, where many people died amid massive crowds. The president was more impassioned in his comments on Sunday than he has been in previous days.
He described it as “heartbreaking.” “We’ve noticed it. We can sense it. It’s impossible to look at and not feel something. Nothing about our endeavor is simple.”
Matt Stevens contributed to this story.
On Friday, an American Airlines aircraft landed in Arlington, Virginia. Three aircraft will be provided from the ship to assist with the rescue operation. Credit… The New York Times’ Stefani Reynolds
The Pentagon said on Sunday that Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III has authorized six commercial airlines to supply passenger aircraft to assist with the expanding US military operation removing Americans and Afghan allies from Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital.
According to John F. Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, Mr. Austin activated Stage 1 of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, which was established in 1952 following the Berlin airlift, to supply 18 airliners to assist transport people arriving at locations in the Middle East from Afghanistan.
The present activation includes four United Airlines aircraft, three American Airlines planes, three Atlas Air planes, three Delta Air Lines planes, and two Hawaiian Airlines planes.
Mr. Kirby said that the Pentagon does not expect a significant effect on commercial aircraft.
On Sunday, Capt. John Perkins, a spokesman for the military’s Transportation Command, said the commercial planes will start flying evacuees from the Middle East to Europe and from Europe to the United States on Monday or Tuesday.
The military had sought wide-bodied, long-haul aircraft capable of transporting several hundred people, Captain Perkins said in a telephone interview. He added that talks with airlines began last week, and that several companies had offered to donate aircraft for the evacuation. But, he said, the demand was high enough for Mr. Austin to order additional airlines to fulfill their reserve fleet commitments.
Civilian aircraft will not fly into or out of Kabul, where evacuation flights have been hindered by a rapidly worsening security situation. Instead, commercial aircraft pilots and crews would assist in the transfer of tens of thousands of Afghans to US bases in Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
Commercial aircraft would relieve the strain on those facilities, which are quickly filling up as the Biden administration scrambles to boost the number of flights for thousands of Afghans fearful of Taliban retaliation.
Officials claimed the airliners would supplement military flights transporting Afghans to Germany, Italy, Spain, and other European destinations, with many of the Afghans eventually arriving in the United States.
“As a global airline and flag carrier for our country, we embrace the obligation to swiftly react to international issues like this one,” United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby stated on social media.
“It’s a responsibility we approach with great care and coordination,” he said.
Four of the airline’s Boeing 777 aircraft, which can seat up to 350 passengers, have been activated, according to the company.
In a statement, American Airlines said it was ready to deploy three planes beginning Monday and would try to minimize the effect on passengers.
The statement stated, “The pictures from Afghanistan are distressing.” “Our pilots and flight attendants, who will be flying these flights as part of this lifesaving effort, are pleased and grateful,” said the airline.
This is just the third time the backup air fleet has been called into action. The first time it happened was during the Persian Gulf War (from August 1990 to May 1991). The second was in the midst of the Iraq war (from February 2002 to June 2003).
The military has extended beyond its fleet of C-17s, the cargo aircraft of choice in hazardous situations, to add huge C-5s and KC-10s, a refueling plane that can be modified to transport people, for the evacuation operation, one of the biggest the Pentagon has ever undertaken.
Thousands of people attempted to escape the Taliban at Kabul’s international airport, which worsened further. Seven Afghan civilians were killed among the throng, according to the British Ministry of Defense, which had soldiers stationed at the airport. CreditCredit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek
The situation was becoming more grave for the hundreds of desperate Afghans attempting to escape the Taliban as the US raced Sunday to manage the mayhem at the Kabul airport, with swelling crowds becoming lethal and the danger of assaults.
On Sunday, the British Defense Ministry, which has soldiers stationed at the airport, said that seven Afghan civilians had died in the throng, including a baby. “Conditions on the ground remain very difficult,” the ministry stated, without providing any more information on the fatalities.
The US and Germany had advised its nationals in Afghanistan the day before to avoid the airport. Another danger, according to American sources, is an assault by the Taliban’s Islamic State opponents.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security advisor, stated, “The danger is genuine.”
“It’s a severe case. It is tenacious. And it’s something we’re focusing on with all of our resources,” he said.
According to Maj. Gen. William Taylor of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, military authorities at the airport had been “metering” the flow of Americans, Afghan friends, and other foreigners through the gates as the dangers grew.
Mr. Biden said on Sunday that he is contemplating extending evacuations beyond the August 31 deadline, and that he has offered a house in the United States to every Afghan ally who has been evacuated.
In recent days, the situation at the airport has become more hazardous, with fatal results on occasion.
The Taliban have been informally discussing the formation of a government in Kabul. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of their commanders, has arrived in Kabul to begin talks with former President Hamid Karzai and other politicians, whose presence in any administration may help it gain international legitimacy.
However, governing a war-weary country with hollowed-out ministries and a dearth of financial resources would be difficult for the Taliban. Many Afghans are skeptical that the group’s harsh history, which included depriving women of fundamental rights and encouraging floggings, amputations, and mass executions, is to blame.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington in July. Credit… Jim Bourg took this picture of the pool.
On Sunday, two prominent Republicans chastised their colleagues for opposing the admission of Afghan refugees to the United States. Fear-mongering tactics were dubbed “evil” by one.
As the chaotic situation in Afghanistan worsens, some Republican senators have questioned whether the US should accept tens of thousands of Afghans who have aided American troops.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois who has been an outspoken critic of his own party and was one of ten Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald J. Trump in January, slammed such remarks on Sunday, calling them a cynical appeal to his party’s base.
Mr. Kinzinger added, “If anybody wants to go out and scare monger, you’re either wicked in your heart yourself or a charlatan who’s just concerned in gaining re-election.”
Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, said on Fox News Sunday that those opposed to admitting Afghans who assisted the troops into the US must realize that “we’re talking about heroes.”
“You’re welcome in my community because you fought on behalf of Americans to defend our people,” Mr. Sasse added.
Some of their coworkers have voiced their displeasure. Representative Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin, who represents a district near Fort McCoy, a military post where Afghan refugees are anticipated to come, expressed opposition to the proposal, stating, “Afghanistan is a terrible place with many violent individuals.”
Mr. Tiffany said on Twitter last week, “The Biden administration’s intention to send planeloads into the United States now and ask questions afterwards is dangerous and irresponsible.”
According to reports on the ground, the Taliban are pursuing US-allied Afghans and threatening to jail or punish family members if they can’t locate the individuals they’re looking for.
After the U.N. office in Herat was assaulted in July, Afghan security personnel stood watch outside. Credit… EPA/Jalil Rezayee/Shutterstock
Concerns over the safety of the approximately 3,400 Afghan U.N. staff members in Afghanistan, particularly the women, are increasing, with some fearing that the Taliban and its extreme supporters would target them merely because of their foreign connection.
Despite Taliban officials’ apparent promises that the United Nations and other foreign humanitarian organizations in Afghanistan may operate freely, reports of threats, intimidation, and harassment have risen. Some Afghan staff members have gone into hiding, fearful of being murdered.
In recent days, a collection of United Nations employee unions and organizations issued an online petition urging Secretary-General António Guterres to “take all necessary steps, including evacuation or transfer, to guarantee the safety and security of all personnel, national or international.”
According to the petition, the employees’ “lives are now in jeopardy” as a result of their employment for the United Nations. More than 1,000 signatures had been collected as of Sunday.
“We are keenly aware of the tremendous stress and real concerns of certain employees, especially those of national colleagues,” said Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for Mr. Guterres, in an emailed statement Sunday night. According to the statement, “extensive security measures are in place to safeguard colleagues” and that “emergency procedures and steps” had been implemented in Afghanistan to protect them and their dependents, including transfer away from danger zones.
The United Nations has denied criticism that it treats non-Afghan personnel preferentially, despite the fact that the bulk of them are now safely outside of Afghanistan. Officials from the United Nations have said that, unlike nations, the UN does not have the authority to issue travel visas, a difference that Mr. Dujarric highlighted in his speech. “We need urgent assistance from member states,” he added. “The United Nations calls on all nations to be ready to accept Afghan refugees and to abstain from deporting them.”
Female officials from at least four United Nations agencies have written a joint letter to the Canadian government pleading with it to expand the scope of special visas it has announced for 20,000 vulnerable women in Afghanistan, indicating that Afghan U.N. staff members are becoming increasingly concerned.
According to a copy of the letter obtained by The New York Times, “there is no question that we, as United Nations ladies, are likewise very vulnerable and face a significant risk of danger and violence.” “We are in risk from the Taliban because these are women who have worked with foreign partners and colleagues and are seen as spies and apostates by the Taliban.”
The letter requested visas for female United Nations employees. staff.
If foreign soldiers leave on Aug. 31, these women, according to the letter, would be equally susceptible to threats from “different terrorist organizations operating in the nation who will not spare a single chance to target the U.N. personnel, especially females.”
Officials from the country’s foreign ministry, Global Affairs Canada, directed a request for comment on the letter to another ministry, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, which did not reply right away.
The United Nations maintains a large network of activities in Afghanistan, where the majority of the people need humanitarian assistance even before the Taliban took control.
Last month, the United Nations complex in the western city of Herat was assaulted, raising the stakes for the organization. Last Monday, the company sent many of the 350 non-Afghan employees in the nation to Almaty, Kazakhstan, for a “temporary relocation.” About a hundred of them are said to still remain in Afghanistan.
The United Nations is in a fundamental conundrum as a result of the fast-moving events in the Afghanistan conflict. Mr. Guterres and his advisers have frequently said that the UN remains dedicated to meeting the nation’s humanitarian needs and will continue a presence in the country. However, it is impossible to provide such requirements if the safety of its employees is jeopardized.
The conundrum was highlighted on Sunday when Unicef and the World Health Organization stated the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated since the Taliban took control a week ago.
The two UN agencies stated in a statement that their ability to react to such requirements is quickly dwindling. They demanded “immediate and unhindered access to provide medications and other vital supplies to millions of people in need of assistance, including 300,000 individuals displaced in only the past two months.”
On Sunday outside the White House in Washington, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan gave a televised interview. Credit… The New York Times’ Stefani Reynolds
As US forces left Afghanistan, national security authorities expressed worry that the ensuing military vacuum might generate a new and continuing terrorist threat.
President Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, addressed the issue on Sunday, saying that the danger of ISIS terrorists acquiring a foothold in Afghanistan was of increasing worry to security professionals.
He said, “The danger is genuine.” “It’s a severe case. It is tenacious. And it’s something we’re focusing on with all of our resources.”
Mr. Sullivan said that the administration continues to speak with Taliban security leaders, with the goal of ensuring safe transit to the airport.
“And if that passage is interrupted or operations are disrupted, the United States will respond quickly and forcefully,” he said.
Mr. Sullivan denied that the departure would jeopardize national security by saying that soldiers would continue to supervise counterterrorism operations despite their reduced ground presence.
“Our ground commanders have a diverse set of tools that they are using to protect the airport against a possible terrorist attack,” he said. “We’re working closely with our intelligence community to attempt to identify and pinpoint the source of an attack.”
The US Embassy in Kabul issued a warning to Americans to stay away from the airport on Saturday, citing “possible security threats outside the gates” as a hint of rising tensions at the choke point for thousands of Afghans eager to flee the country’s new Taliban overlords.
In June, the Group of Seven leaders met in Cornwall, England. This year, the group’s presidency is held by the United Kingdom. Credit… Leon Neal took this picture of the pool.
On Tuesday, the leaders of the Group of Seven countries will meet virtually to examine the situation in Afghanistan.
“It is critical that the international community works together to guarantee safe evacuations, avoid a humanitarian catastrophe, and assist the Afghan people to secure the gains of the past 20 years,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Twitter on Sunday.
The Group of 7 leaders will “discuss maintaining our tight cooperation on Afghanistan policy and evacuating our people, the heroic Afghans who have stood with us over the past two decades, and other vulnerable Afghans,” according to Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary.
She also said that the leaders would discuss “humanitarian help and support for Afghan refugees.”
According to a readout of their conversation provided by the White House, President Biden and Mr. Johnson discussed Afghanistan on Tuesday, and they decided to convene a virtual meeting of the Group of 7 leaders this week. Mr. Biden also talked with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi in the last week.
The ultimate destination for thousands of Afghans fleeing the Taliban and in need of new homes will almost certainly be addressed.
Mr. Macron said on Monday that the European Union should prepare a “strong reaction” to any fresh flow of Afghan migrants, underscoring the continent’s hardening attitude toward a sensitive political subject.
He said that “Europe cannot bear the brunt of the consequences” of the Taliban takeover.
On Sunday, a C-17 military cargo aircraft landed at Kabul’s international airport. Credit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek
A basic question lies at the heart of the rush to fly American citizens out of Afghanistan after it was taken over by the Taliban: how many Americans are waiting to be evacuated?
The Biden administration has been unable to respond to this inquiry.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security advisor, stated, “We can’t give you a specific figure.”
Mr. Sullivan said that the US had been in contact with “a few thousand Americans” and was working on getting them out of the country. He claimed that “approximately a few thousand” Americans were attempting to flee Afghanistan in another appearance with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
On Tuesday, American authorities believed that 10,000 to 15,000 Americans were in Afghanistan. Since Aug. 14, the day before the Taliban seized Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, approximately 2,500 Americans have been evacuated, according to Maj. Gen. William Taylor of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff.
The evacuation of American citizens is part of a larger airlift operation taking place in Kabul, with thousands of Afghans also being taken out. Since Aug. 14, almost 28,000 individuals have been evacuated on military and other aircraft, according to Mr. Biden.
A lack of clarity regarding how many Americans were in Afghanistan when the Taliban took power complicates things for the Biden administration.
Mr. Sullivan said that when Americans visit Afghanistan, they are required to register with the US Embassy. Some people register, but then depart without informing the embassy. Others never register in the first place.
In the NBC interview, Mr. Sullivan added, “We’ve been working over the last several days to obtain fidelity on as exact a count as possible.” “Thousands of Americans have been contacted by phone, email, and text. And we’re working on plans to offer them guidance on the best, safest, and most efficient way to get inside the airport when we get in contact with them.”
In the year 2020, the Panjshir Valley will be transformed. Former Afghan government officials are holding out in the Panjshir Valley, which was a stronghold of resistance to the Taliban during the civil war in the 1990s. Credit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan – Tajikistan is a country in Central Asia. According to the Russian envoy in Kabul, the Taliban has requested Russia to transmit an offer to talk with a group of Afghan officials fighting terrorists in the mountainous Panjshir Valley in northern Afghanistan.
The outreach to Moscow increases the possibility of a Russian involvement in any deal with the holdouts, who have congregated in a location that successfully fought the Taliban during the group’s reign in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
Today, their prospects are much less clear. However, the organization is attempting to assemble a military force, claiming to be a continuation of the US-backed administration that fell apart in the capital.
Taliban commanders paid a visit to the Russian embassy in Kabul, which is still operating, on Saturday, with a request that the Russian ambassador, Dmitri Zhirnov, pass on a negotiating offer to the organization.
“They requested that Russia communicate the following to the authorities and people of Panjshir: At this time, the Taliban have not attempted to invade Panjshir by force,” Mr. Zhirnov stated. “The organization is hoping for a peaceful resolution to the issue, such as a political agreement.”
In his remarks, Mr. Zhirnov referred to Russia’s probable interest in any solution that prevents the Taliban from expanding into Central Asia, where nations saw Islamic insurgencies in the 1990s.
After a meeting with Taliban commanders in Kabul on Saturday, Mr. Zhirnov said of the Taliban, “I don’t think they will move into” Central Asia. “They have a lot of work at home.”
When the Taliban ruled the capital and the country’s south in the 1990s, the Panjshir Valley was a stronghold of resistance. However, there are few similarities to this previous conflict, and many Afghans who are supportive to the endeavor have voiced serious concerns about its chances. Former Afghan authorities estimated that 2,000 to 2,500 fighters were holed up in the Panjshir.
Unlike 20 years ago, the opposition commanders no longer have control of terrain that connects the valley to a supply route into Central Asian nations to the north, such as Tajikistan, which helped them during Afghanistan’s civil war. Instead, Russia, Central Asia’s preeminent security power, has been developing relations with the Taliban.
The Panjshir organization isn’t the only one attempting to organize a fightback. Former Afghan authorities said that Taliban insurgents were driven back in three minor areas in the north by Afghan security troops. That finding could not be verified independently. However, it raised the prospect that the Taliban had not yet completed their goal of securing the nation, something they had failed to do during their five-year reign in Afghanistan.
Tony Blair criticizes the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who led the United Kingdom into Afghanistan, said the departure of US troops presents a danger to Western security and has resulted in a loss for the Afghan people as the Taliban regained control.
I agree with a lot of what President Biden has done since becoming president; in fact, I like and respect him as a person. And, from what I hear, he inherited this tough February 2020 20 agreement. And I realize that if you’re a politician, you’re under a lot of political pressure. People want the engagement to come to an end. But we have to acknowledge that we were in a position where our involvement was drastically different than it was 10 years ago, much alone 20 years ago, and where we could have handled the situation. And the issue with what’s going on today, and this is my concern, is that it’s not only about the Afghan people and our responsibility to them. And certainly, you feel concerned when you watch people realize what they will lose as a consequence of the Taliban regaining control. However, it is not only about the Afghan people. It’s about us and our safety now that you’ve reinstalled this gang in Afghanistan. They are going to give. Al-Qaeda receives protection and assistance. You already have ISIS in the nation, and they’re attempting to operate at the same time. You look around the globe, you know. And those who are opposed to Western interests are the only ones who are celebrating this decision.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who led the United Kingdom into Afghanistan, said the departure of US troops presents a danger to Western security and has resulted in a loss for the Afghan people as the Taliban regained control. CreditCredit… Reuters/Toby Melville
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair slammed the departure from Afghanistan on Saturday, calling it a rushed decision taken “in obedience to an imbecilic political phrase about ending “eternal wars.”
Mr. Blair led British soldiers into Afghanistan and Iraq as prime minister, supporting President George W. Bush’s decision to invade both countries after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Mr. Blair’s reputation has been tarnished by these wars, especially the war in Iraq, which was fueled by information that exaggerated the danger presented by Saddam Hussein’s regime, according to a British inquiry.
Mr. Blair admitted specific errors in the 20-year military presence in Afghanistan, some of them grave, in a statement released on Saturday. However, he said that the disorderly withdrawal would squander Afghans’ trust in the West and jeopardize delicate gains in their lives.
Mr. Blair said, “And for anybody who disagrees, read the sad laments from every sector of Afghan society about what they fear may now be lost.” “Increases in living conditions, especially for females, as well as advances in freedom. Not at all what we had hoped for or desired. But not for nothing. Something worth defending and safeguarding.”
In his remarks, Mr. Blair did not address President Biden by name. However, he said that leaving Afghanistan posed concerns about whether the West had lost its strategic will, and that it had led in a humiliation that Islamist organizations would cheer on and China, Iran, and Russia would exploit.
Mr. Blair stated that the Taliban should be viewed as part of a larger philosophy of “Radical Islam” that should continue to worry the West, even if some think Afghanistan is of little geopolitical significance.
“We would never have made the choice to withdraw out of Afghanistan if we had defined it as a strategic issue and seen it as a whole rather than as parts,” he wrote.
To safeguard Afghan people, he urged the West to put pressure on the Taliban, considering possible incentives as well as penalties.
He wrote, “This is critical.” “The chaos of recent weeks must be replaced with anything approaching coherence, as well as a genuine and practical strategy. However, we must next respond to the overall question. What are our strategic interests, and are we willing to commit to maintaining them any longer?”
When Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Singapore on Sunday, she was welcomed by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. Credit… Reuters/Caroline Chia
Vice President Kamala Harris left for Southeast Asia on Sunday, where her efforts to strengthen American ties are likely to be overshadowed by the tumultuous and chaotic departure from Afghanistan.
Ms. Harris landed in Singapore on Sunday, intending to meet with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and other officials before departing for Vietnam on Tuesday. The vice president’s trips to the two nations will concentrate on regional security, the global response to the epidemic, climate change, and economic cooperation, according to the White House.
The Biden administration has made Asia a focal point of its foreign policy, seeking to strengthen relations there in order to offset China’s growing assertiveness. However, Ms. Harris’s top advisers have already faced concerns about whether the administration’s hasty departure from Afghanistan would jeopardize its attempts to strengthen alliances in the South China Sea.
Ms. Harris said on Friday before boarding Air Force Two in the United States, “We couldn’t have a greater priority right now, a very high need to make sure we securely evacuate American citizens, Afghans who worked with us.” “It has been a major priority for me in recent days and weeks, and it will remain so.”
The optics of the trip will be particularly difficult for Ms. Harris in Vietnam, where pictures of destitute Afghans attempting to leave Kabul’s airport have brought to mind America’s humiliating withdrawal from South Vietnam in 1975.
Ms. Harris is anticipated to reassure the area that the US is committed to the region, despite Beijing’s efforts to nurture nations in the region via visits, loans, and coronavirus vaccines. China is Southeast Asia’s most significant trade partner, and senior Chinese officials have visited the area at least five times since January of last year, including President Xi Jinping.
Southeast Asian nations’ economic reliance with Beijing has pushed them to find a balance between China and the US, cautious of China’s aspirations yet aware of its economic importance, while turning to the US as a counterbalance.
Concerns about China exploiting the Afghan crisis have grown in recent days, as Beijing has portrayed the chaos as a failure of American political and military power. China’s official news agency dubbed it “the final twilight of empire.”
However, Beijing faces geopolitical and security difficulties as a result of the Taliban control. China has a short, isolated border with Afghanistan, which served as a sanctuary for Uyghur radicals from the western Chinese province of Xinjiang under Taliban administration in the 1990s.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs also contributed to the story.
On Monday, Taliban militants were seen in Kabul. The Taliban emerged in the early 1990s as a result of the chaos that followed the Soviet departure from Afghanistan in 1989. Credit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek
Here’s a look into the Taliban’s beginnings, how they managed to seize control of Afghanistan twice, and what they did when they first did so – and what it may indicate about their current intentions.
When did the Taliban initially appear on the scene?
The Taliban emerged in the early 1990s as a result of the chaos that followed the Soviet departure from Afghanistan in 1989.
Islamic warriors known as mujahedeen, a patchwork of rebel groups, overcame the Soviets. Warlordism and a violent civil war erupted throughout the nation.
With their pledge to put Islamic principles first and combat the corruption that fueled the warlords’ warfare, the Taliban rapidly gained a following against this background. They conquered the majority of the nation after years of bloodshed.
What was the motivation for the US invasion of Afghanistan?
When the Taliban were in control, they provided Afghanistan a safe haven for Osama bin Laden, a Saudi Arabia-born former mujahedeen warrior who set up Al Qaeda, a terrorist organization with worldwide ambitions.
The organization delivered a world-shaking blow on September 11, 2001, when they toppled the World Trade Center buildings in New York and damaged the Pentagon in Washington. Thousands of people were slain.
The Taliban must give up Al Qaeda and Bin Laden, according to President George W. Bush. When the Taliban refused to cooperate, the US invaded.
What are the Taliban’s plans for the future?
In other areas, Taliban authority seemed to be limited in the early days. However, enough allegations of violence and intimidation have emerged, prompting thousands of refugees to flock to Kabul’s airport in a desperate bid to escape.
Residents in Kunduz, a key provincial capital, were skeptical of their new authorities’ claims of peace.
“I’m scared because I don’t know what will happen or what they’ll do,” one local remarked.
In May 1975, an American soldier stood by and watched as refugees boarded a Navy ship off the coast of Vietnam. Credit: Getty Images/Agence France-Presse
Thousands of US allies were eager to board the final aircraft departing for, hopefully, future resettlement in the United States, as the conclusion of a decades-long American military involvement in the Middle East approached. Their capital had been destroyed. Those who remained behind were virtually likely to face deadly retaliation.
It was 1975, Southeast Asia was in upheaval, and Washington fully opened its doors, allowing 300,000 refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to enter the US during the following four years. In 1980, Joseph R. Biden Jr., a young senator from Delaware, co-sponsored historic legislation that received full Senate approval and was signed into law, decoupling refugee admissions from U.S. foreign policy and generally increasing the number of refugees admitted into the nation each year.
As comparable images of turmoil and desperation unfold in Kabul as America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan draws to a close, most experts believe the US will be unlikely to duplicate the massive refugee resettlement operation that followed the end of the Vietnam War.
Decades of ambivalence about migrants, a poisonous political impasse over immigration, and current worries about terrorism and the coronavirus epidemic have all but ruled out a comparable mass movement.
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