Afghanistan news live updates: Taliban’s first press conference ‘We don’t want any enemies’

·36-min read

The Taliban are holding their first press conference after taking over in Kabul.

Their spokesperson said: “We don’t want any external or internal enemies.”

It comes after Afghanistan vice president Amrullah Saleh has said that he is in Afghanistan and is the “legitimate caretaker president”.

Taking to Twitter, Mr Saleh wrote: “According to the explicit provision of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, in case of absence, escape or death of the President, the First Vice President will be the acting President.

“I am inside the country and I am legally and legitimately in charge of this position / chair. I am consulting with all the leaders of the country to strengthen this position.”

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Boris Johnson to unveil plan to let vulnerable Afghans set-up home in UK

Biden ‘stands squarely’ behind move to pull troops from Afghanistan

More British troops sent to Kabul as Afghanistan crisis deepens

EU foreign policy chief says priority is to evacuate EU staff, Aghan helpers from Kabul

18:45 , Tom Ambrose

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Tuesday said that while the fight against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan succeeded, the process of nation building however failed despite the enormous amount of resources directed to the country.

Borrell was speaking after a tele-conference with EU foreign affairs ministers.

"And the main conclusions of this meeting has been that the first objective, the priority, is to ensure the evacuation in the best conditions of security of the European nationals still present in the country, and also of the Afghan citizens who worked with us for more than 20 years, if they want to leave the country," he said.

EU says will work with Taliban only if rights are respected

17:40 , Tom Ambrose

The EU will only cooperate with the Afghan government following the Taliban's return to power if it respects fundamental rights, including women, and prevents the use of Afghanistan's territory by terrorists, the bloc's foreign policy chief said on Tuesday.

"Cooperation with any future Afghan government will be conditioned on a peaceful and inclusive settlement and respect for the fundamental rights of all Afghans, including women, youth and persons belonging to minorities, as well as respect for Afghanistan’s international obligations, commitment to the fight against corruption and preventing the use of Afghanistan’s territory by terrorist organisations," he said in a statement.

The statement came after an emergency meeting of European Union foreign ministers to discuss events in Afghanistan.

Stormont Executive urged to provide homes for Afghans who helped allied forces

17:27 , Tom Ambrose

The Northern Ireland Executive has been urged to provide a safe home for Afghans who helped allied forces.

The call came from Ulster Unionist leader and Army veteran Doug Beattie, who won the Military Cross for his service in Afghanistan.

As scores of people attempt to flee the country following the taking of capital Kabul by the Taliban, Mr Beattie said Northern Ireland should offer a home to those who need it.

“A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Afghanistan. There are five million displaced people within the country,” the MLA said.

‘Very worried’ woman tells of fears for her elderly parents in Afghanistan

16:59 , Tom Ambrose

A woman has emotionally told of being “very worried” about her elderly parents who remain in Afghanistan after the Taliban took over.

The militant group moved into Kabul on Sunday ending two decades of the UK and its allies trying to transform the country.

The 45-year-old woman was in tears at the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association (ACAA) in Feltham, west London, on Tuesday while saying her family needs “help”.

Speaking with her four-year-old son, she said: “I want peace and justice for my country, I am worried about my country and my people and I am very sad.

“Today is one of the darkest days in the history of Afghanistan.

“I am very sad, my family is there, I spoke yesterday, I talk with them everyday, I ask about how difficult it is for them because they are my father and my mum.

“They are in Afghanistan, Kabul, they were worried and scared when the Taliban came, they were shocked.

“They see the Taliban going past in their cars on the road.”

Taliban: No foreign fighters in Afghanistan

16:43 , Tom Ambrose

The media at the press conference has asked about the relationship between the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says: “Afghanistan's soil is not going to be used against anybody. We can assure the international community of that.”

Taliban: Media ‘should not work against national values'

16:38 , Tom Ambrose

However, he said he had “requests” for the media including that “nothing should be against Islamic values when it comes to the activities of the media, therefore Islamic values should be taken into account when it comes to the activities of the media”.

He said the media “should not work against national values, against national unity”.

Mr Mujahid said: “When it comes to ethnic differences, religious differences and hostilities, they should not be actually promoted by the media, they should work ... for the unity of the nation to have peaceful, brotherly living together.”

Taliban: Plan was to stop at Kabul city walls

16:31 , Tom Ambrose

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed the group had planned to stop at the gates to Kabul but said that because the previous administration was “so incompetent”, they had moved into the city to “ensure security”.

He said the security of foreign embassies was of “crucial importance” and that residents of Kabul should “be assured that your security is guaranteed”.

He added: “I would like to assure the international community including the United States that nobody will be harmed in Afghanistan, I would like to assure our neighbours, regional countries, we are not going to allow our territory to be used against anybody, any country in the world.”

Mr Mujahid said the Taliban should be “treated accordingly” by the international community.

“We do not want to have any problem with the international community,” he said.

“We have the right to act on the basis of our religious principles and rules and regulations, this is the right of Afghans.”

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed the group had planned to stop at the gates to Kabul but said that because the previous administration was “so incompetent”, they had moved into the city to “ensure security”.

Taliban: Nobody is going to be treated with revenge

16:29 , Tom Ambrose

Zabihullah Mujahid says: “Nobody is going to be treated with revenge.

“The youth who have grown up here, we do not want them to leave. They are our assets.

“Nobody is going to knock on their door and ask them who they have been working for.”

He adds: “They are going to be safe. Nobody is going to be interrogated or chased.”

“We have pardoned everybody for the benefit of stability or peace in Afghanistan,” he says when asked about the implications for people who have worked alongside the West.

“Our fighters, our people, we are all going to make sure that we can include all other sides and factions.”

Taliban: Women to be allowed to work and study ‘within our framework'

16:21 , Tom Ambrose

Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says: “We are going to allow women to work and study within out frameworks.

“Women are going to be very active within our society, within our framework.”

Afghanistan Vice president: I am in country and caretaker president

16:13 , Tom Ambrose

Afghanistan Vice President Amrullah Saleh has said that he is in Afghanistan and is the “legitimate caretaker president”.

Taking to Twitter, Mr Saleh wrote: “According to the explicit provision of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, in case of absence, escape or death of the President, the First Vice President will be the acting President.

“I am inside the country and I am legally and legitimately in charge of this position / chair. I am consulting with all the leaders of the country to strengthen this position.”

Mr Saleh said after a security meeting chaired by then President Ashraf Ghani last week that he was proud of the armed forces and the government would do all it could to strengthen resistance to the Taliban.

Taliban: We are committed to the rights of women under the system of sharia

16:12 , Tom Ambrose

The spokesperson continue: “[We] are committed to the rights of women under the system of sharia.

“They are going to be working shoulder to shoulder with us. We would like to assure the international community that there will be no discrimination.”

He also says: “We have the right to act according to our religious principles.

“Other countries have different approaches, rules and regulations ... the Afghans have the right to have their own rules and regulations in accordance with our values.”

Taliban press conference gets underway

16:06 , Tom Ambrose

The Taliban’s first press conference since seizing power in Kabul is taking place at the moment.

Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says “everyone is forgiven” after insurgents seize the country and political discussions continue

He continues: “We want to make sure Afghanistan is no longer a battlefield of conflict.

“We have pardoned all those who have fought against us. Animosities have come to an end

“We don’t want any external or internal enemies.”

15:23 , Leah Sinclair

Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, Mr Stoltenberg said: “All Afghan men, women and children deserve to live in safety and dignity.

“There must be a peaceful transfer of power to an inclusive government with no revenge or retribution.”

He continued: “A government that does not respect the fundamental rights of all Afghans and reinstates the reign of fear risks international isolation.”

Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has warned the Taliban risk “international isolation” if they reinstate the “reign of fear” they relied on when they first came to power in the 1990s.

Sir Keir Starmer says it was ‘wrong for Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab to go on holiday

15:15 , Leah Sinclair

Sir Keir Starmer has piled further pressure on Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, calling it “wrong” for them to have opted to holiday while the Taliban made gains in Afghanistan.

The Labour leader told broadcasters: “It was completely wrong to be on holiday.

“Speak to anybody who has any experience of Afghanistan and they will tell you it was obvious last week that we were heading to a very serious situation.

“For the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary to be missing in action at this vital time is something that everybody thinks is wrong.

“I hope he will answer for that in the recall debate tomorrow as well.”

‘Afghan leaders failed to stand up,' says Nato chief

15:07 , Leah Sinclair

Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of the Nato military alliance, has blamed the swift collapse of Afghanistan’s armed forces on a failure of leadership in the country.

Stoltenberg was on Tuesday chairing a meeting of Nato envoys to discuss the security implications of the Taliban’s rapid - and apparently unexpected - takeover of Afghanistan. Nato had been occupying the country since 2003, but wound up combat operations in 2014 to focus on training Afghan forces. Those forces melted away in the face of the Taliban advance in the past few weeks.

“The Afghan leadership failed to stand up,” he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press, adding: “This failure of Afghan leadership led to the tragedy we are witnessing today.”

Terror groups in Afghanistan will be ‘watching with interest’ expert warns

14:52 , Leah Sinclair

Ungoverned spaces provide opportunities for terrorist networks to grow, thrive and prosper and that is a “very real situation now in Afghanistan”, a security expert has warned.

Amid the swift Taliban takeover as Western troops withdraw, Emily Winterbotham, director, terrorism and conflict at defence and security think tank Rusi (Royal United Services Institute) said terror groups “will be watching with interest”.

Speaking to the PA news agency, she said: “There are terror groups in Afghanistan, there are a number of different groups already there - al Qaida, Isis - and they will be watching this with interest.

“I think watching it with interest from the perspective of what it means for international military engagement overseas, the future of Afghanistan itself and the opportunities that they might have to capitalise either on a Taliban government or on ensuing insecurity that we may see in the weeks and months to come.

“Finally, I guess, they’ll be thinking about what their relationships are with the new guys in town.”

She added: “There are numerous different groups that operate out of Afghanistan, but I think the ones that we’re most concerned about from an international perspective is obviously al Qaida which, despite the international intervention in 2001... there is still a foothold for al Qaida in the country, it’s never really disappeared, but obviously it hasn’t operated from the country itself for a number of years.”

Some of major attacks over the last few years, particularly in Kabul, she added, “have been committed as well by Isis”.

Afghan women will have right to work and study at university, says Taliban

14:47 , Laura Sharman

Women in Afghanistan will be permitted to work and study up to university level, according to a Taliban spokesperson.

Suhail Shaheen told Sky News that thousands of schools remain in operation after the Taliban takeover.

He said that women will be expected to wear the hijab but not the burka.

“These are not our rules, these are Islamic rules,” he added.

Now UK seeks to ‘moderate’ murderous Taliban with Raab saying ‘pragmatic’ approach needed

14:43 , Leah Sinclair

Now UK seeks to ‘moderate’ murderous Taliban

Meghan and Harry issue statement on exceptionally fragile world amid Taliban takeover

14:32 , Laura Sharman

Meghan and Harry have commented on how “exceptionally fragile” the world is amid recent natural disasters and the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.

The couple, who are living in the UK, touched on the Taliban’s rapid resurgence, the Haiti earthquake and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Writing on their Archewell website, they said: “The world is exceptionally fragile right now.

“As we all feel the many layers of pain due to the situation in Afghanistan, we are left speechless.

“As we all watch the growing humanitarian disaster in Haiti, and the threat of it worsening after last weekend’s earthquake, we are left heartbroken.

“And as we all witness the continuing global health crisis, exacerbated by new variants and constant misinformation, we are left scared.”

Afghan turmoil shames the West, says German president

14:20 , Laura Sharman

Images of throngs trying to flee Kabul are shameful for Western nations, Germany’s president said on Tuesday.

The comment came as desperate people clamoured at the airport after the Taliban takeover.

“We are experiencing a human tragedy for which we share responsibility,” said President Frank-Walter Steinmeier after the Western-backed government in Kabul collapsed and its foreign-trained security forces melted away.

Germany, which had the second largest military contingent in Afghanistan after the United States, wants to airlift thousands of German-Afghan dual nationals as well as rights activists, lawyers and people who worked with foreign forces.

“The images of despair at Kabul airport shame the political West,” Steinmeier, whose post is largely ceremonial, said in a statement at the German presidential palace.

Taliban say women can work and go to university

14:19 , Laura Sharman

A Taliban spokesperson told Sky News that women will be able to work and go to university.

Taliban’s first press conference set to take place in Kabul

14:10 , Laura Sharman

The Taliban’s first press conference will shortly take place in the old government centre in Kabul, Afghanistan.

It will mark their first media event in 20 years.

Top Taliban leader leaves Qatar for Afghanistan

13:55 , Laura Sharman

A top Taliban leader has met with a Qatari official before reportedly leaving the country for Afghanistan.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar met with Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Tuesday.A statement said the two “reviewed the latest security and political developments in Afghanistan, stressing the need for the protection of civilians, intensifying necessary efforts to achieve national reconciliation, working for a comprehensive political settlement and a peaceful transfer of power.”

US military to house thousands of Afghans

13:42 , Laura Sharman

Plans are being made to temporarily house thousands of Afghans at three US military installations.

Up to 22,000 Afghans and their families could be housed at the installations.

Pentagon spokes John Kirby made the announcement on Tuesday and did not identify more specific locations.

Thousands of Afghans who assisted the US as interpreters and in other roles have been desperate to leave Afghanistan since before the government fell to the Taliban over the weekend, in the shadow of an August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of US forces.

Mr Kirby told ABC’s Good Morning America that the US Defence and State departments are working together to evacuate as many Americans and Afghans as quickly as possible.

Mr Kirby said several thousand US service members now arriving in Afghanistan will there for the next couple of weeks to help with the evacuation.

Stormont Executive urged to provide homes for Afghans who helped allied forces

13:28 , Leah Sinclair

Stormont Executive urged to provide homes for Afghans who helped allied forces

Royal Navy Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key said British armed forces ‘can’t afford to pause' as they work with US troops

13:24 , Leah Sinclair

Royal Navy Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key said British armed forces “can’t afford to pause” as they work with US troops to help get about 6,000 people out of Afghanistan via Kabul.

Sir Ben told Sky News: “The demand placed upon us is in the order of 6,000, both Arap (Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy) and entitled personnel.

“Those numbers are changing all the time as we understand the scale of the ask - people are coming forward making themselves known through the FCDO consular services or into us under the Arap programme.

“How long have we got to do it? We don’t really know, so every day we are working as hard as we can to bring as many forward into this pipeline as we possibly can.

“Clearly there is a dynamic political situation running across the city.

“We make no assumptions about that other than we really can’t afford to pause and wait.”

How many Afghan refugees will a Brexit government really take?

13:06 , Leah Sinclair

How many Afghan refugees will a Brexit government really take?

UK wants to work with ‘challenging’ China and Russia on Afghanistan response

12:46 , Leah Sinclair

UK wants to work with ‘challenging’ China and Russia on Afghanistan response

British student Miles Routledge, 22, ‘safely evacuated’ from Kabul after ‘daft’ trip

12:19 , Leah Sinclair

British student, 22, ‘safely evacuated’ from Kabul after ‘daft’ trip

The UN urges Taliban to keep its ‘promises'

12:04 , Leah Sinclair

The UN has urged the Taliban to keep its “promises,” including pledges to grant an amnesty to former government workers, show inclusiveness for women and allow girls to remain in school.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva on Tuesday, Rupert Colville, the UN human rights spokesman, said: “The Taliban have made a number of statements that on the surface are reassuring. But their actions speak deeper than words, and it’s very early now it’s very fluid.”

He said the Taliban’s promises “need to be honoured”, adding:

“Understandably, given their past history, these declarations have been greeted with some skepticism. Nevertheless, the promises have been made, and whether or not they are honoured or broken will be closely scrutinised.”

Turkey says it welcomes Taliban statements since they seized control

11:51 , Leah Sinclair

Turkey is in talks with all parties in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, and views positively the messages of the Islamist militants since they took control of the country, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.

Mr Cavusoglu was speaking a day after Turkish security sources said Ankara had dropped plans to guard and operate Kabul airport following the withdrawal of other NATO forces from Afghanistan because of the chaos which accompanied the Taliban victory.

The sources told Reuters Turkey was instead ready to provide technical and security assistance if the Taliban requested it.

“We are keeping up dialogue with all sides, including the Taliban,” Cavusoglu told reporters on a visit to Jordan.

NATO member Ankara, which has 600 troops in Afghanistan, will also continue talks with the United States and others over security at the airport and the transition in Afghanistan.

The UK argued for a conditions-based approach to exiting Afghanistan, says Raab

11:38 , Leah Sinclair

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK argued for a conditions-based approach to exiting Afghanistan.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We have been clear all along... when you set a timeframe for departure then you send a signal, if you like, to the Taliban.

“We had argued for a conditions-based approach. But the truth is, as allies, Nato allies, we agreed that we would go in together, we would adjust to the situation together, and we would come out together.”

President Joe Biden has failed to show ‘empathy' with the Afghan people, says author Khaled Hosseini

11:22 , Leah Sinclair

President Joe Biden has failed to show “empathy” with the Afghan people or to explain the legacy of US involvement in Afghanistan over the last 20 years, according to author Khaled Hosseini.

Mr Hosseini, who wrote The Kite Runner, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, that Mr Biden did not give “a statement of empathy with the millions of Afghans whom the Americans have been calling partners now for 20 years, who are left behind and have to fend for themselves and face the very unenviable reality of having to live under a regime that proved to be extremely brutal when they were in charge in the 1990s”.

He added: “The other thing I did not hear at least clearly from the president is, ‘What is the legacy of the last 20 years? What was all this for?’

“If the president met a marine who had lost her legs in Afghanistan, what would he say to her if she said, ‘What did I lose my legs for?’

“Before this chaotic withdrawal we could have at least pointed to some progress in Afghanistan.”

Humanitarian aid to increase 'probably by 10 per cent’ says Raab

10:55 , Leah Sinclair

Britain will increase humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, “probably by 10 per cent,” the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has said.

The aid budget will be reconfigured for development and humanitarian purposes in Afghanistan and the Taliban will not get any of the money previously earmarked for security, Raab added.

“I don’t think we will condition the humanitarian relief we provide to ordinary Afghans on what the Taliban does,” he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

Boris Johnson spoke to Angela Merkel about Afghanistan crisis

10:38 , Leah Sinclair

Boris Johnson spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel this morning about the situation in Afghanistan and the need for a “joined-up approach”.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “They agreed that global co-operation was crucial, both on the urgent need to evacuate foreign nationals and others from Afghanistan, and the longer-term importance of preventing a humanitarian crisis in the country and region.

“Both leaders resolved to use their bilateral and multilateral influence to encourage international partners to adopt a joined-up approach to the challenges ahead.

“The Prime Minister also stressed the need to agree shared international standards on human rights that any future Taliban government in Afghanistan will be held to by the international community.

“The Prime Minister outlined his intention to convene G7 leaders for a virtual meeting to discuss this at the earliest opportunity.”

In pictures: British Embassy staff and British Nationals arriving at RAF Brize Norton

10:37 , Leah Sinclair

 (MOD/AFP via Getty Images)
(MOD/AFP via Getty Images)
 (MOD/AFP via Getty Images)
(MOD/AFP via Getty Images)
 (AP)
(AP)

The gains Afghan women have made over the last 20 years are ‘up in the air’, says Khaled Hosseini

10:04 , Leah Sinclair

The gains Afghan women have made over the last 20 years are “up in the air”, Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini said.

Ms Hosseini, who wrote The Kite Runner, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme of his fears for women and girls in Afghanistan because, “while the last 20 years have certainly been challenging and beset by missteps and tragedies, it is also true that there has been progress in Afghanistan”.

He said “significant improvements and achievements” have included women serving in the Afghan parliament, becoming police chiefs and being part of the workforce, and millions of girls who had returned to school.

He added: “Now all of that is up in the air and whether any of those gains will last remains to be seen.”

Raab says he does not trust the Taliban to follow through on Doha agreement commitments

09:53 , Leah Sinclair

Dominic Raab has said he does not trust the Taliban to follow through on the commitments made in the Doha agreement, but that the controlling force in Afghanistan should be held to account for them.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if the UK is prepared to recognise the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan, Mr Raab said: “We don’t traditionally and in practice recognise governments rather than states.

“The question will be what dealings we are willing to have. I said that I think it is always important, at least through direct or indirect means, to be able to engage. But we will hold the Taliban to the commitments they made in the Doha agreement.

“Commitments never to use their territory, Afghanistan, as a base for terrorism. To have a more inclusive regime going forward. They made a range of commitments. Now frankly I can’t tell you that I trust them to follow through on them, but having done so I think it is important to test, and then to work with all the remaining levers we have.”

Asked how they could be held to account, he said: “I think through concerted co-ordination on things like sanctions... trying to work with our partners. China is a difficult partner for the UK but we have a common interest, the permanent members of the Security Council, in working together on Afghanistan. There is also, we will reconfigure our aid budget.”

Raab: ‘Taliban have militarily secured control'

09:39 , Leah Sinclair

On the international response, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “Taliban have militarily secured control so we need to use every other lever that we’ve got, sanctions, economic measures, the diplomacy.”

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “We’ll need a contact group I believe, of not just like-minded Western countries, but countries with direct influence even if we find it challenging dealing with them. The permanent members of the Security Council, including China and Russia, will need to be I think part of the solution, so it’s not going to be easy.”

He added: “The Taliban since 2020 have been saying that pursuant to the agreement done with the US under the previous US administration, that they will make a range of commitments.

“Now the Taliban have never kept a promise so far, but I think given that they have those set of undertakings we must test it and make sure that there’s a cost if they don’t live up to those responsibilities. It is going to be exceptionally challenging, but that is already what we’re looking to do and to try and galvanise some international action with that in mind.”

Raab: Around 150 British nationals were flown out of Afghanistan on Sunday

09:26 , Leah Sinclair

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said around 150 British nationals were flown out of Afghanistan on Sunday, while 3,300 Afghan staff have also been evacuated.

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme, Mr Raab said hundreds more people would be flown out of the country in the coming days.

He said: “As we secure the airport - you’ll have seen the distressing scenes we saw yesterday.

“But the scenes this morning at 6am, the situation is much more stable, because we put in more troops and the US has done the same.

“We’ll get more of those flights coming out with both British nationals and the Afghans who have served us.”

Mr Raab praised the work of UK ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir Laurie Bristow, who has been co-ordinating efforts on the ground.

The Foreign Secretary said: “He’s been remarkably brave under incredible pressure.”

Humanitarian aid to be increased in Afghanistan, says Raab

09:03 , Leah Sinclair

Dominic Raab has said he plans to increase humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

Mr Raab told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We will reconfigure our aid budget. We of course will not give the security capacity building money that we previously gave to the government to the Taliban.”

But he added: “I expect that we will increase our aid budget for development and humanitarian purposes, probably by 10% is what I have in mind on last year. We want to try and make sure it won’t go through the Taliban, but make sure that we can alleviate the humanitarian suffering.”

Asked if aid provision will be a point of leverage against the Taliban, Mr Raab said: “In terms of aid, previously in the past, and this won’t be possible with the Taliban, at least for the foreseeable future, we’ve had the sort of framework arrangement that pegs what we are willing to do to standards of governance, and I would expect that to include the clamping down on any terror groups, but also the way they treat women, and the other things we are trying to achieve.

“Now that’s in ordinary circumstances what we might do.

“That is not going to be possible for the foreseeable future, I don’t think we will condition the humanitarian relief we provide to ordinary Afghans on what the Taliban does.”

First German plane evacuated only 7 people from Kabul

08:48 , Leah Sinclair

The first German military plane to land in Kabul since the Taliban takeover evacuated only seven people, the government said on Tuesday, due to chaos at the Afghan capital’s airport.

Germany, which had the second-largest military contingent in Afghanistan after the United States, wants to airlift thousands of German-Afghan dual nationals as well as rights activists, lawyers and people who worked with foreign forces.

Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said the A400M transport plane undertook a “breakneck landing” on Monday evening, with its main aim to bring in German soldiers to secure the evacuation.

“We have a very chaotic, dangerous and complex situation at the airport,” she told broadcaster ARD. “We had very little time, so we only took on board people who were on site.”

Only seven made as the plane had to leave quickly and other Germans could not get into the airport without protection from German soldiers, a foreign ministry spokesperson said.

“Admission of people from the civilian part of the airport was not made possible by the partners exercising security responsibility at the airport,” the spokesperson said.

With 600 soldiers due to take part in the evacuation, Germany hopes to be able to get more people out in coming hours.

Raab says he does not see himself sitting down with his counterpart in a Taliban government ‘for the foreseeable future'

08:39 , Leah Sinclair

The Foreign Secretary said he does not see himself sitting down with his counterpart in a Taliban government “for the foreseeable future” but added there has always been some form of communication between Britain and the militant group.

He told BBC Breakfast: “We’ve always had dialogue of some sort, either indirectly through third parties, or through the Taliban’s political commission in Doha.

“It is important to be able to engage at least in some shape or form to test and to exert as much influence as we credibly, realistically can, and also to try and hold the Taliban to account to the new commitments they made.

“We’ve got to try and use every lever working with our partners, working with the UN, working with Nato, to try and secure a more moderating influence, and a better course for the Afghan people in the months and years ahead.”

Women should be in government, says Taliban

08:27 , Leah Sinclair

The Taliban has called for women to resume any official roles under their new government, according to Associated Press.

Enamullah Samangani, a member of the Taliban’s cultural commission, said: “The Islamic Emirate doesn’t want women to be victims ... They should be in [the] government structure according to Shariah law.”

He added: “The structure of government is not fully clear, but based on experience, there should be a fully Islamic leadership and all sides should join.”

Raab: Britain’s ‘hearts go out’ to the citizens of Afghanistan

08:16 , Leah Sinclair

Dominic Raab said Britain’s “hearts go out” to the citizens of Afghanistan and described the footage of people at Kabul airport on Monday as “distressing”.

The Foreign Secretary told BBC Breakfast: “Our hearts go out to the Afghan people, who now face what feels like a pretty wholesale Taliban takeover. That’s why we’ve been there, not just to protect the United Kingdom and our allies from insecurity... but to try and improve the lives of ordinary Afghans.

“Those scenes are distressing, but we’ve got to make sure that airport is stabilised and secure, precisely so, at least in the short term, we get our nationals out and we allow secure safe passage to those served us so loyally over the last 20 years.

Japan closes embassy in Afghanistan

08:06 , Leah Sinclair

Japan has closed its embassy in Kabul due to the worsening security situation in Afghanistan and the last remaining twelve embassy personnel had left the country, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

The Taliban took control of Kabul without a fight on Sunday, rounding off a dramatic week of advances across Afghanistan.

“Due to the rapid worsening of the security situation in Afghanistan, we are temporarily closing our embassy there,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that it was relocating the embassy’s duties to an office in Istanbul.

“Twelve remaining embassy personnel have been flown out of Kabul airport on a military flight provided by a friendly nation and been evacuated to Dubai.”

The ministry also warned any of its nationals still in Afghanistan to leave, and said any travel there should be put off.

‘No one’ saw the situation in Afghanistan coming, says Raab

08:05 , Leah Sinclair

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said “no one” saw the situation in Afghanistan coming and the UK “would have taken action if we had”.

Speaking to Sky News, he said “the truth is, across the world, people were caught by surprise. I haven’t spoken to an international interlocutor, including countries in the region over the last week, who hasn’t been surprised.”

He added: “We saw a very swift change in the dynamics. And of course this has been part and parcel of the withdrawal of western troops, but it has also been the way and the approach of the Taliban and of course it’s been a test for the Afghan security forces. All of those factors have been very fluid. But no one saw this coming. Of course we would have taken action if we had.”

Asked if the UK should have seen this coming, he said: “I think it is easy to say that with the benefit of hindsight, but the truth is you are always measuring a very fluid constellation matrix, if you like of risk factors, and that is the reality.”

Joe Biden says he stands ‘squarely’ behind his decision to pull US troops out of Afghanistan

07:49 , Leah Sinclair

Biden ‘stands squarely’ behind move to pull troops from Afghanistan

Taliban filmed on dodgems and merry-go-round as militants enjoy ‘spoils of war’ after seizing control of Afghanistan

07:41 , Leah Sinclair

Taliban filmed on fairground rides as militants enjoy ‘spoils of war’

Pakistan’s foreign minister: An ‘inclusive political settlement was the best way forward'

07:37 , Leah Sinclair

Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, has told Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, that an “inclusive political settlement was the best way forward” for resolving Afghanistan’s political impasse.

Blinken and Qureshi spoke by phone on Monday to discuss the way forward for Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press. Qureshi was reported as saying that Pakistan would remain closely engaged with the U.S. and other international partners in promoting efforts in support of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

‘There’s always a risk’ that some people will be left behind - Raab

07:32 , Leah Sinclair

Asked if Mr Raab agreed with defence secretary Ben Wallace’s comment that some people may be left behind, the foreign secretary said “there’s always a risk of that.”

He told Sky News: “What I’m focused on is doing everything physically possible to get British nationals out, to get as many of those who’ve served us out and also to think about how we then move forward with an international strategy which can stabilise the situation for the people of Afghanistan.”

Foreign secretary: ‘We have made real progress'

07:29 , Leah Sinclair

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said "we have made real progress" in the evacuation of Afghans and British personnel, adding that 3,300 Afghan nationals have been evacuated to date.

“We want to get as many as we can out but it depends on the stability on the ground,” he added.

350 British and Afghan nationals expected in the next 24 hours, says Raab

07:22 , Leah Sinclair

350 British nationals and Afghan nationals who’ve “worked for us” are expected to be coming out of Afghanistan in the next 24 hours, foreign secretary Dominic Raab said.

“We are monitoring the situation very carefully,” he added.

The Government’s bespoke resttlement scheme ‘needs to be a bold and ambitious and generous offer’, says Labour shadow Foreign Office minister

07:12 , Leah Sinclair

Labour shadow Foreign Office minister Stephen Kinnock has suggested the UK will need to support tens of thousands of refugees from Afghanistan.

Speaking about Government plans for a bespoke resettlement scheme for vulnerable Afghans, Mr Kinnock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “it needs to be a bold and ambitious and generous offer”.

Asked if 20,000 people would be about right, he said: “We need to see an offer that is also backed up with the capacity to process it.

“As you pointed out, the situation on the ground there is so difficult at the moment that we have got to ensure that we don’t open up an offer that we can’t actually deliver on. So we need to see the detail of the plan from the Government, but it is absolutely right that we make an ambitious and bold offer.”

Asked if that means tens of thousands of people rather than a few thousand, he said: “I would have thought so, yes, yes - we, of course, need to see the detail, but I think this needs to be a significant offer.”

Former U.S. President Bush expresses ‘deep sadness’ over Afghan situation

07:10 , Leah Sinclair

Former US President George Bush said he and former First Lady Laura Bush feel “deep sadness” over the events unfolding in Afghanistan.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush (AP)
Former U.S. President George W. Bush (AP)

“Laura and I have been watching the tragic events unfolding in Afghanistan with deep sadness. Our hearts are heavy for both the Afghan people who have suffered so much and for the Americans and NATO allies who have sacrificed so much,” the former president said in a statement issued late on Monday.

Europe needs humanitarian corridors for Afghan refugees, says EU official Gentiloni

07:08 , Leah Sinclair

Europe has to create humanitarian corridors to receive refugees fleeing from Afghanistan, and also to avoid uncontrolled flows of illegal immigrants, the European Union’s Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said on Tuesday in an interview.

“I think that Europe will inevitably have to equip itself for humanitarian corridors and organised reception, also to avoid uncontrolled flows of illegal immigrants. Or, at least, the countries that are willing to do so, should,” he told Italian daily il Messaggero.

European Union foreign ministers will hold a crisis meeting on Tuesday to discuss the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban Islamist militants.

German minister hopes for air lift from Kabul

07:04 , Leah Sinclair

A German military plane is waiting for the United States to grant it permission to fly to Afghanistan to help with the evacuation of foreign nationals and local Afghan staff, the defence minister said on Tuesday.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told Germany’s ARD television that she hoped that an air bridge could be organised, but added that the situation at Kabul airport was currently very confusing.

The German military uses Tashkent as a hub for its air bridge to Kabul. On Monday, a German military aircraft had to divert to Tashkent because desperate people trying to flee Afghanistan were blocking the runway in Kabul.

Military flights evacuating diplomats and civilians from Afghanistan resumed early on Tuesday after the runway at Kabul airport was cleared of thousands of people desperate to flee after the Taliban seized the capital.

Germany said on Monday it would airlift thousands of German-Afghan dual nationals as well as human rights activists, lawyers and other people who worked with NATO forces in the country.

Australia won’t be able to help all Afghans who helped its military, PM says

07:03 , Leah Sinclair

Australia will not be able to help all Afghans who worked with its military, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, as it prepares its evacuation plan after the Taliban seized control of the country.

Australia said on Monday it would send 250 military personnel to Kabul to evacuate its citizens and an unspecified number of Afghans who had been given visas after working with Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (AP)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (AP)

US forces in control of Kabul’s airport resumed evacuation flights on Tuesday, a day after chaos there as desperate Afghans sought to flee.

“We will continue to do everything we can for those who have stood with us, as we have to this day,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

“But I want to talk openly to veterans that despite our best efforts, I know that support won’t reach all that it should.”

Duke of Sussex encourages veterans to ‘support one another’ amid Taliban takeover

07:01 , Leah Sinclair

Harry tells veterans to ‘support one another’ amid Taliban takeover

Don’t forget Afghan women, pleads 22-year-old Kabul student seeking asylum

06:59 , Leah Sinclair

An Afghan student seeking asylum has said she has lost hope she can complete her education and has pleaded with Western governments not to “forget Afghan women”.

Aisha Ahmad, who studies computer science at Kabul University, was left badly bruised amongst a melee of people trying to catch a flight out of Hamid Karzai International Airport in the capital on Sunday evening.

“The crowds were pushed by police, kids and women were on the ground, I was injured on my hands and feet and knees,” the 22-year-old told the PA news agency.

After failing to board a flight, Ms Ahmad issued a plea on social media asking for a country to offer her asylum so she could finish her education - which she no longer believes will be possible.

“I have lost my hope and I think it will not be an easy path,” she said.

“I feel like I’m in a tunnel... I can’t see any bright light and don’t know how long the tunnel is.”

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