Taliban to allow evacuations from Kabul airport again as new government faces scrutiny – National

Two hundred Americans and other foreigners staying in Afghanistan will leave the war-torn country on chartered flights from Kabul on Thursday after the new Taliban government agreed to let them evacuate, an official said. America said.

The departures will be among the first international flights to take off from Kabul airport since Islamist militias seized the capital in mid-August, triggering a chaotic US-led evacuation. with 124,000 foreigners and Afghans at risk.

The move comes two days after the Taliban announced an interim government made up mainly of ethnic Pashtun men including wanted terror suspects and Muslim hardliners. international hopes for a more moderate government.

Read more:

Afghanistan’s new interim government is made up of veteran Taliban rulers

US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad said the Taliban were forced to allow the departure of US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, a US official said, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

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The official could not say whether American civilians and other foreign nationals were among those stranded for days in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif because of their private jets. departure is not allowed.

The Taliban’s announcement of a new government on Tuesday was seen by many as a signal they were reluctant to expand their base and put on a more tolerant face to the world, as they had suggested before continuing. military management.

Click to play video: 'Afghan crisis: Blinken urges Taliban to allow charter flights to depart from country'

Afghanistan crisis: Blinken urges Taliban to allow charter flights to depart from country

Afghanistan crisis: Blinken urges Taliban to allow charter flights to depart from country

Foreign countries greeted the interim government with caution and dismay on Wednesday. In Kabul, dozens of women took to the streets to protest.

Critics have called for leaders to respect basic human rights and revive an economy that is facing collapse amid soaring inflation, food shortages and the prospect of foreign aid being stifled. cuts as countries seek to isolate the Taliban.

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White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said no one in the Biden administration “considered the Taliban to be respected and valued members of the global community”.

The European Union rejected the appointments, but said it was ready to continue its humanitarian assistance. Long-term aid will depend on the Taliban maintaining basic freedoms.

Read more:

‘Take them hostage’: Taliban won’t let plane carrying evacuees take off, US official says

Saudi Arabia expressed hope that the new government would help Afghanistan achieve “security and stability, rejecting violence and extremism.”

Analysts say the cabinet formation could hinder the recognition by Western governments, which will be crucial to broader economic participation.

The new cabinet includes former prisoners of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, while Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani is wanted by the US on terrorism charges and has been awarded a $10 million reward.

His uncle, with a $5 million bounty, is the minister for refugees and repatriation.

Click to play video: 'Taliban announces tough new Afghan interim government'

Taliban announces new hardline interim government of Afghanistan

Taliban announces new hardline interim government of Afghanistan

The government is full of hardliners

The last time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, from 1996 to 2001, women were banned from working and girls going to school. The group carried out public executions and their religious police enforced a radical interpretation of Islamic law.

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Taliban leaders have vowed to respect people’s rights, including women’s, under Islamic sharia law, but those who have won more freedoms over the past two decades are worried about them. losing them.

In an interview with Australia’s SBS News, a senior Taliban official said women would not be allowed to play cricket – a popular sport in Afghanistan – or possibly any other sport because it’s “unnecessary” and their bodies could be exposed.

Australia’s cricket board has said it will cancel a planned test match against the Afghan men’s team if the Taliban do not allow women to play the sport.

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Taliban announces new government in Afghanistan as protests erupt in Kabul

In Kabul, a group of women carrying signs that read, “A cabinet without women is a failure,” staged another protest in the Pul-e Surkh area of ​​the city. Larger protests on Tuesday were broken up when Taliban gunmen fired warning shots into the air.

“The Cabinet has been announced and there are no women in the Cabinet. And some journalists who came to cover the protests were arrested and taken to the police station,” a woman in the video shared on social media said.

A new statement from the Taliban Interior Ministry said that to avoid causing disturbance and security problems, anyone organizing a protest should apply for clearance 24 hours in advance.

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(Reporting by Reuters Bureau; Writing by Stephen Coates; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)


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