After the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan, the Islamist Taliban took power in the country – and are redesigning it according to their ideas. The most important developments in the news blog.
Almost two weeks after the end of the evacuation mission by western states in Afghanistan, the first flight with civilians on board started again in Kabul on Thursday. The Qatar Airways passenger plane landed in Doha with over a hundred people on board. “We managed to get the first plane with passengers (…) to take off,” said Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. The airport has been made operational again in the past few days. He thanked the Taliban for helping reopen the airport to civil aviation. Western states in particular hope to be able to bring former local workers and other people seeking protection out of Afghanistan by air.
According to the Federal Foreign Office, 15 German nationals were also on board the machine. “The people who have flown out are mainly women and children,” said the ministry in Berlin. “We are continuing to work intensively on creating more opportunities to leave the country in the next few days and will actively inform the people concerned about them.”
Americans, British, Ukrainians and Canadians were also on the plane. Qatar’s special envoy, Mutlak bin Madsched al-Kahtani, announced that there would also be a scheduled flight to and from Kabul on Friday. According to the US, the Taliban want to leave Afghanistan for 200 Americans and other civilians who stayed behind after the evacuation operation. A US representative told the Reuters news agency that charter flights from Kabul airport would be used. The US withdrew its last soldiers from Afghanistan on August 31 and ended its military operation there after 20 years. (10.09.2021)
Taliban prohibit further protests
The militant Islamist Taliban have initially banned all further protests in Afghanistan. The Ministry of Interior’s first official statement after the formation of the government stated that no one should try to organize protests under any circumstances at the moment. Serious criminal prosecution is threatened in the event of violations. The reason given by the Taliban was that some people had disrupted public order and harassed people in the past few days.
At the same time, the Islamists set the conditions for protests in the future. Accordingly, organizers must obtain prior approval from the Ministry of Justice. The reason for the demonstration, the location, the time and the slogans must be communicated to the judiciary and the security authorities at least 24 hours in advance.
The Taliban had used violence to suppress demonstrations in the past few days. They also arrested reporters covering protests and mistreated journalists on several occasions. The largest local TV stations apparently stopped reporting on the protests in Kabul, which had been going on for days. Women and men took to the streets in the capital, Kabul and several provinces, among other things for women’s rights and freedom. (09.09.2021)
The Taliban allow 200 US citizens and other civilians to leave the country
According to the US, the Taliban are allowing 200 Americans and other civilians to leave Afghanistan who stayed behind after the evacuation mission ended. A US representative told the Reuters news agency that charter flights were used from Kabul Airport. The departures are expected for Thursday. The US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, has urged the Taliban to let the people leave the country, said the insider, who did not want his name to be revealed. It was unclear whether these people from the USA and third countries were among those who were stuck in Mazar-i-Sharif for days because their private charter plane was not allowed to take off. (09.09.2021)
Maas and Blinken consult at Ramstein Air Base
At a meeting with his US counterpart Antony Blinken, Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) expressed skepticism about the interim government set up by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Germany’s further engagement, according to Maas, depends on the future behavior of the militant Islamists. “The announcement of a transitional government without the participation of other groups and yesterday’s violence against demonstrators and journalists in Kabul are not the signals that give reason for optimism,” said the Foreign Minister.
Blinken and Maas met at the US air force base in Ramstein, Rhineland-Palatinate. “We are partners and share the same goals,” said Blinken. Together with Germany and other partners, 122,000 people have been brought from Afghanistan. Blinken thanked Maas not only for the evacuation mission, but also for the cooperation before the withdrawal from Kabul and the opportunity to allow Afghans and Americans to stay in Germany until they can travel on to the USA.
The new rulers in Afghanistan introduced 33 members of the government on Tuesday, all men and all Taliban members. Western states, on the other hand, had called for an inclusive government to which not only the Taliban belong. The German government even made this a condition for renewed payment of development aid, which was stopped for the time being after the Taliban came to power.
Blinken told the new government in Kabul that they would be judged by their actions. Some members have “very problematic résumés,” said Blinken, referring to the new Afghan Interior Minister, who is wanted by the FBI as a terrorist. The new rulers must – as promised – prevent terrorist attacks and the international airport in Kabul must be reopened for private flights. Ways to speak to the Taliban will be found. The purpose of these talks was to enforce the national interests of the USA.
The German Foreign Minister said there was great concern about further developments in Afghanistan. It is “morally imperative” and a question of regional stability to send humanitarian aid to the country through the United Nations. Maas called on the Taliban to support such efforts and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a place for exporting terrorism again.
Less than one percent of the people who were brought to Ramstein had applied for asylum in Germany, Maas said. We are working very closely with the Americans on this issue. (09.09.2021)
Assaults against journalists in Kabul
At least two journalists are said to have been severely physically abused in Kabul. In the face and on the head of two employees of the well-known daily newspaper Etilatrus dozens of prints from cables and whips can be seen, the newspaper’s editor wrote on Twitter. He also shared a picture of a severely injured back and commented on it with the words: “This is only a small part of what Taliban journalists think of Etilatrus “About two hours earlier, the editor had written that five of its employees, including the editor-in-chief, had been arrested by the Taliban when they were about to report on a women’s protest. The largest local TV stations apparently already reported on Wednesday protests in Kabul, which had been going on for three days, ceased. On Tuesday, the Taliban arrested a group of reporters and cameramen for several hours after covering the protests.08.09.2021)