Afghanistan news live updates: Taliban hunting for Afghans who worked with West, according to UN document

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·18-min read
Afghanistan news live updates: Taliban hunting for Afghans who worked with West, according to UN document
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Taliban militants are hunting for people in the Afghan capital city of Kabul who collaborated with UK, US and Nato forces, according to a confidential United Nations document.

It is understood fighters have been searching homes and threatening family members unless targets surrender to the armed group, The Telegraph reports.

Senior Afghan officials also told the newspaper that they had been forced to go into “deep hiding” to avoid Taliban teams who are looking for members of the democratically-elected government of Afghanistan.

It comes as it was confirmed 12 people have been killed in and around Kabul airport since the Taliban seized the city on Sunday, triggering a rush of fearful people trying to leave.

The deaths were caused either by gun shots or in stampedes, a Taliban official said on Thursday, and he urged people still crowded at the gates of the facility to go home if they did not have the legal right to travel.

"We don't want to hurt anyone at the airport," said the Taliban official, who declined to be identified.

Read More

Raab faces calls to reveal details about holidaying while Kabul fell

Former British army airbase worker granted settlement stuck in Afghanistan

Afghanistan: What was Joe Biden really thinking? | The Leader Podcast

UK to push for allies to take Afghan refugees as Raab faces more criticism

06:55 , Abbianca Makoni

The UK is launching a diplomatic push to encourage allies to join it in offering to take in Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban regime.

The Government has announced Britain will take up to 20,000 people wanting to exit Afghanistan as part of its resettlement scheme, with 5,000 due to be accepted in the next 12 months.

Downing Street said the Government will be encouraging international partners to emulate “one of the most generous asylum schemes in British history” – but Labour said the offer was not bold enough.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is due to speak with fellow G7 ministers on Thursday to discuss international co-operation before leaders of the group – which, as well as the UK, includes the US, Canada, Japan, Germany, France and Italy – hold a virtual meeting next week.

Mr Raab also held talks on Wednesday evening with his counterparts in India and the US – the second time he has spoken to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said another company of soldiers had been flown into Afghanistan to help with public order

07:19 , Abbianca Makoni

But amid reports that women had been handing their babies to British troops to take them to safety, he told Sky News: “Obviously we can’t just take a minor on their own.”

He said if children were being taken by British troops it was because their families were also being removed from the country as well.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace defended comments about the Taliban made by the head of the armed forces, General Sir Nick Carter

07:30 , Abbianca Makoni

He told Sky News Sir Nick was “deeply experienced” and said: “When he says things, we should listen and we should value it.

“He is my adviser, the Prime Minister’s adviser, and he is absolutely right in some of his observations about where we were going and he is right that a lot of the Taliban do not come from the sophisticated part of Afghanistan, they may come from the countryside and not be as sophisticated as some of the previous political class.

“But that doesn’t mean to say that the Taliban are not running the country. They’re running the country, we have to deal with that as we may.

“We are obviously not recognising them as a government at the moment but we have to look at the engagement.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Wednesday’s recalled parliamentary session was “quite rightly a real outpouring of anger

07:39 , Abbianca Makoni

He went on to say it was also filled with “frustration, and sadness about what we are seeing on the ground in Afghanistan”.

But he said MPs had not presented any alternative solutions.

Mr Wallace told Sky News: “I didn’t hear alternative solutions from anybody, including my colleagues who were criticising us, except one, some of our colleagues suggested that the British go back in again, as an army.

“I don’t think anyone feels sending unilaterally a single force in of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of troops would be the right solution now. But apart from that, there was long on criticism and very short on solutions.”

The UK has not sent a single plane home from Afghanistan empty, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said

07:52 , Abbianca Makoni

Responding to reports that evacuation flights to other countries had left Kabul with only a handful of people on board, Mr Wallace told Times Radio: “Our people are getting through, we haven’t sent a single empty plane home.

“And I don’t think many other nations have. I can’t speak for other nations, obviously, but fundamentally, the key here is when we have a plane if we have a single empty seat, we will offer it to other nations.

“We’ve taken out interpreters who work for Nato, for example, we’ve taken out fellow European or other… we took some Japanese people out recently who were in need, so we will use every space on our planes possible.”

Lisa Nandy, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, said Dominic Raab should “be ashamed”

08:05 , Abbianca Makoni

It comes after it was reported help for Afghan interpreters who had supported British troops was delayed because the Foreign Secretary was on holiday in Crete and unable to make a phone call.

She said: “What could possibly have been more important than safeguarding the legacy of two decades of sacrifice and hard-won victories in Afghanistan? While the Foreign Secretary lay on a sun lounger, the Taliban advanced on Kabul and 20 years of progress was allowed to unravel in a matter of hours.

“The Foreign Secretary should be ashamed and the Prime Minister has serious questions to answer over why he remains in the job.”

Dominic Raab has been accused of “failing” to provide protection for the families of interpreters in Afghanistan

08:38 , Abbianca Makoni

It has been reported that help for interpreters who supported British troops was delayed because the Foreign Secretary was on holiday in Crete and unable to make a phone call.

A former translator, a British citizen who gave his name as Rafi, 35, told the PA news agency: “If he didn’t make the call, I’m shocked. How could somebody do something like that in this chaotic situation?

“The interpreters and their families could be killed at any time; the Government has bluntly lied to the entire world.

“I’m a British citizen; was he too busy to look after the families of British citizens in Afghanistan?

“He is failing to provide safety and protection to the families of those in Afghanistan who have served for the British Government in the war against terror. If he was too busy during his holidays to help, shame on him.”

Here’s the moment that journalist Clarissa ward and her team were confronted by the Taliban on the streets of Kabul

09:58 , Abbianca Makoni

In the video the CNN journalist can be heard saying: “The Talibans are a little bit upset with us.”

After one of the men removes the safety off his gun, she adds: “You can see that some of these Taliban fighters are just hopped up on adrenalin...it’s a very dicey situation.

“Suddenly two other Taliban charge towards us. You can see their rival butt raised to strike producer Brent Swails. When the fighters are told we have permission to report they lower their weapons and let us pass.”

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy called for Dominic Raab to either resign or be sacked

10:20 , Abbianca Makoni

She said: “How can Boris Johnson allow the Foreign Secretary to continue in his role after yet another catastrophic failure of judgment?

“If Dominic Raab doesn’t have the decency to resign, the Prime Minister must show a shred of leadership and sack him.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford MP said: “Tory ministers cannot wash their hands of responsibility for this foreign policy disaster

10:28 , Abbianca Makoni

“Dominic Raab has failed to perform his basic duties as Foreign Secretary, and he has put people’s lives at risk. His position is completely untenable and he must resign, or be sacked.”

Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts speaks on the ‘the life-saving phone call’ Dominic Raab didn’t make

11:21 , Abbianca Makoni

Mr Saville Roberts said: “The Foreign Secretary and the life-saving phone call he didn’t make: a failure of political judgment, a shoulder-shrug to duty and a callous lack of humanity. He failed to make the right call.

“The Foreign Secretary no longer commands respect following his mishandling of duties during the Afghanistan emergency. Dominic Raab should resign or be removed from post.”

Raab is not going to resign

11:43 , Abbianca Makoni

Dominic Raab, asked if he was going to resign as Foreign Secretary, told reporters in Downing Street: “No.”

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has thanked Boris Johnson for the UK’s help in evacuating Australians from Afghanistan

12:35 , Abbianca Makoni

Downing Street said the Prime Minister spoke to his Australian counterpart on Thursday morning.

A spokesperson said: “The leaders agreed the immediate priority was to evacuate their nationals and former employees from Afghanistan, and to continue working together to achieve this. Prime Minister Morrison thanked the Prime Minister for the UK’s help evacuating 76 Australians on an RAF flight yesterday.

“The Prime Minister stressed the need for a concerted international effort to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, including through increasing aid to the region and the resettlement of refugees.

“The Prime Minister and Prime Minister Morrison updated one another on the work the UK and Australia are doing to this effect.

“Finally, looking ahead to the UK-hosted Cop26 Summit, the Prime Minister underlined the importance of global action on climate change. This includes setting ambitious targets for reaching net zero and increasing climate financing.”

Negotiating with Taliban ‘only choice’ for the West, trapped veteran says

14:57 , Tom Ambrose

A former Royal Marine turned charity director trapped in Afghanistan has said Britain and America have “no choice” but to negotiate with the Taliban if they want to prevent a humanitarian disaster.

Paul Farthing, known as “Pen”, has been battling to get all of his 25 staff from animal welfare charity Nowzad and their families out of the country as the Taliban complete their takeover.

He is also faced with the prospect of having to put down all of the 140 dogs in his care, and potentially the 60 cats when the final evacuation flights have left.

Mr Farthing told the PA news agency he has had no communication from the Foreign Office or Ministry of Defence since the Afghan government collapsed.

So far, only his wife and a heavily pregnant member of staff have made it into the airfield, but they are still waiting to be admitted on to a flight.

He told the PA news agency that he saw no path out of the “hell on earth” brewing at the airport other than bargaining with the Taliban and opening up flows of aid to the country.

Taliban hunting for Afghans who worked with Western forces

15:23 , Tom Ambrose

Taliban militants are hunting for people in the Afghan capital city of Kabul who collaborated with UK, US and Nato forces, according to a confidential United Nations document.

It is understood fighters have been searching homes and threatening family members unless targets surrender to the armed group, The Telegraph reports.

Senior Afghan officials also told the newspaper that they had been forced to go into “deep hiding” to avoid Taliban teams who are looking for members of the democratically-elected government of Afghanistan.

15:50 , Tom Ambrose

One Conservative peer highlighted the decision of Lord Carrington to resign as foreign secretary over the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands in 1982, and said Dominic Raab should “think about” what has happened with Afghanistan.

Lord Naseby, a former deputy speaker in the Commons who served as an MP for 23 years, recalled a meeting between Lord Carrington and Conservative MPs over the invasion.

He told the PA news agency: “He made a statement and not long after he decided on balance he had to resign. Now that’s for Raab to think about. It all comes down to ministerial responsibility. That’s for him (Mr Raab) to think about.

“He was not around. Not only is he the Foreign Secretary but if something was to happen to Boris Johnson, he’s number two, he’s the Willie Whitelaw, almost, of the Prime Minister. He just needs to think about all those things, we all make sacrifices.”

Lord Naseby stressed he was not asking Mr Raab to resign, noting: “The Foreign Secretary needs to think about these things. The decision is for him, not anyone else.”

Taliban spokesman says China can contribute to Afghanistan's development - state media

16:20 , Tom Ambrose

Afghan Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said on Thursday China could contribute to the development of Afghanistan in the future, Chinese state media reported.

Suhail Shaheen made the remark in an interview with China's state CGTN television, it said.

British student feels ‘helpless and hopeless’ after attempts to flee Kabul

16:59 , Tom Ambrose

A British medical student stranded in Kabul is feeling “helpless and hopeless” after his repeated attempts to reach the airport were blocked.

The 25-year-old man came to the UK from Afghanistan as a refugee in 2010 and was granted citizenship in 2015.

He returned to his country of birth in July to get married after completing his third-year exams.

The student, who did not want to be named, told the PA news agency: “At that time there was no talks about the Afghan government collapsing and I got married two weeks ago.”

”Just a week after I got married I heard on the news that the Afghan president had run away and the Taliban were coming, since then I’ve been fearing for my life and for my wife’s life because she is not a British citizen, she is just Afghan.

“I feel like the British Government has left me and my loved ones at the mercy of the Taliban.”

The newly-wed spoke to PA as he tried to reach the airport for a fourth time, with gunshots frequently audible in the background.

17:42 , Tom Ambrose

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said G7 foreign ministers will “engage with partners” to secure an “inclusive political settlement” that will enable humanitarian aid and prevent further loss of life in Afghanistan.

He said G7 ministers spoke about “the gravity of the situation and the significant loss of life and internal displacement in Afghanistan over recent days”.

In a statement released after he chaired a call of G7 foreign and development ministers to discuss the situation, Mr Raab said G7 ministers: “Affirmed our commitment in particular to the urgent need for the cessation of violence, respect for human rights including for women, children and minorities, inclusive negotiations about the future of Afghanistan, and the need for all parties to respect international humanitarian law, in particular in relation to humanitarian and medical personnel, interpreters and other international service providers.”

Afghan refugee screamed for son, five, as he fell from hotel window – witness

17:57 , Tom Ambrose

The mother of a five-year-old Afghan refugee who fell to his death from a hotel window cried “my son, my son”, a witness said.

The Refugee Council has called for a review of accommodation offered to those fleeing the Taliban following the tragedy at Sheffield’s Metropolitan Hotel around 2.30pm on Wednesday.

The boy, understood to have arrived in the UK with his family this summer, fell on to a car park behind the hotel.

South Yorkshire Police confirmed the boy was from Afghanistan and referred reporters to the Home Office for more details.

An Afghan witness said the boy’s father had worked in the British Embassy in Kabul.

Former British army airbase worker granted settlement stuck in Afghanistan

18:44 , Tom Ambrose

A former British army airbase worker who is stuck in Afghanistan has described his fear of not being able to get out of the country after his application to move to the UK was disrupted by the Taliban’s takeover.

The worker, who the PA news agency is not naming, told how he previously worked in the British armed forces base in Helmand province between 2007 and 2014.

He was granted settlement in the UK for him and his family just days before the Taliban captured Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern Helmand province.

As part of the final stages before their move, he was required to send off his family’s passports to the Afghan government to be validated.

However, the documents are now locked in a building which has since closed after the government collapsed.

The worker said he has not heard from the British Government since Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul fell to the extremist group and is extremely worried for his and his family’s safety.

Taliban suppress more dissent as economic challenges loom

20:04 , Tom Ambrose

The Taliban violently dispersed scattered protests for a second day Thursday amid warnings that Afghanistan's already weakened economy could crumble further without the massive international aid that sustained the toppled Western-backed government.

The Taliban have sought to project moderation and say they want good relations with the international community, but they will face a difficult balancing act in making concessions to the West, satisfying their own hard-line followers and suppressing dissent.

A U.N. official warned of dire food shortages, and experts said the country was severely in need of cash, while noting that the Taliban are unlikely to enjoy the generous international aid that made up most of the ousted government's budget.

Young Afghan refugee who fell to his death from hotel window named by police

20:54 , Tom Ambrose

A five-year-old Afghan refugee who fell to his death from a hotel window in Sheffield has been named by police.

South Yorkshire Police said Mohammed Munib Majeedi fell from the window of the Sheffield Metropolitan Hotel in Blonk Street at around 2.30pm.

The youngster, who is understood to have arrived in the UK with his family this summer, fell on to a car park behind the hotel.

The force confirmed the boy was from Afghanistan and referred reporters to the Home Office for more details.

Taliban desire for recognition is only leverage point, UN chief says

21:34 , Tom Ambrose

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday the Taliban’s desire for international recognition is the Security Council’s only leverage to press for inclusive government and respect for rights, particularly for women, in Afghanistan.

Guterres told reporters he discussed that leverage with the 15-member body during a closed-door meeting on Monday, urging them to remain united.

The Taliban seized power on Sunday, 20 years after they were ousted by a U.S.-led invasion for refusing to hand over al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Guterres said he was ready to speak with the Taliban himself “when it is clear with whom should I speak, for what purpose.” For now, U.N. officials in Kabul have been in close contact with the Taliban, he added.

“It’s very important for the international community to be united, for all members of the Security Council to be united, to use the only leverage that exists, which is the interests of the Taliban for legitimacy for recognition,” he said.

US sending more consular officers to aid Afghanistan evacuation

22:17 , Tom Ambrose

The U.S. State Department said on Thursday it was sending more consular officers to Kabul and other locations, including Qatar and Kuwait, to help with the evacuation effort from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized Kabul on Sunday.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said 6,000 fully processed people were currently at the airport in Kabul and would soon be boarding planes. He added Washington would nearly double the number of consular officers in Kabul, without disclosing how many are deployed.

A source said that White House officials told a congressional briefing on Thursday morning that the United States had evacuated 6,741 individuals, including 1,792 American citizens and legal permanent residents, from Kabul.

The source, who listened to the teleconference, quoted the briefers as saying that the "biggest bottleneck" was getting evacuees through crowds mobbing Kabul airport gates.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting