Afghanistan: Warning shots during protests against Pakistan

Status: 07.09.2021 1:55 p.m.

Hundreds of people demonstrated against Pakistan in Kabul because of alleged support for the Taliban. Warning shots were fired. US Secretary of State Blinken wants to negotiate with the Taliban about further evacuation flights.

Fighters of the radical Islamic Taliban fired warning shots at a protest rally in Kabul. Hundreds of men and women marched through downtown Afghanistan, shouting chants directed against neighboring Pakistan, as can be seen on television images. Radical Islamic Taliban security forces tried to control the demonstrators.

The demonstrators held signs reading “Pakistan – Pakistan – out of Afghanistan” or “Freedom”. A foreign journalist tweeted a video showing the Taliban shooting in the air to drive away protesters. According to a BBC reporter, protesters alleged that Pakistan helped the Taliban conquer Pandjir province, which fell to the Islamists after days of fighting. Many also mentioned the visit of the head of the Pakistani secret service ISI, Faeez Hamid, who met with the Taliban leadership in Kabul.

Many Afghans, including previous government officials, express the conviction that Pakistan supported the Taliban and helped them in their most recent military campaign in which they forcibly took over the country. Islamabad denies this. The local TV station Tolo News announced on Twitter that the Taliban had arrested a cameraman and confiscated his camera.

USA want to negotiate further evacuations

The US is in contact with the Taliban to negotiate further evacuations from. The aim is that further charter flights can safely leave the country, said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a visit to the Gulf emirate of Qatar. The Taliban have promised to let all those who have travel documents leave Afghanistan. “The international community is watching closely to see if the Taliban keep their promises.” Blinken travels to Germany after his stop in Qatar, where he plans to visit the US military base Ramstein in Rhineland-Palatinate.

The US Secretary of State praised Qatar’s role in evacuating tens of thousands of refugees from Afghanistan in recent weeks. Numerous countries have offered their help, said Blinken. “But no other country has done more than Qatar.” According to him, more than 58,000 Afghans and citizens of other countries have been flown to Qatar.

After the meeting with Blinken, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani was again optimistic that the airport in Kabul will be able to resume operations “very soon”. His country sent a technical assistance team to Afghanistan, he said. Charter flights could now land again. Now humanitarian aid flights should begin as a test. However, there is still no agreement with the Taliban on how the airport should be operated. Domestic flights have already resumed, according to the Taliban.

The UN is missing hundreds of millions of euros for aid to Afghanistan

The United Nations and its partners are still waiting for international funds to support millions of people in need in Afghanistan. By the end of the year, donors would have to provide 606 million US dollars (511 million euros) for humanitarian aid in the crisis-ridden country, the UN said. The spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid, Jens Laerke, expressed the hope that the UN could raise further funds at the international conference on Afghanistan next Monday in Geneva.

By the middle of last week, only 40 percent of the funds required for aid to Afghanistan in 2021 had been received by the UN. The UN and its aid agencies such as the World Food Program wanted to support the population even after the radical Islamist Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, the spokesman said. The UN repeatedly appealed to the Taliban to give aid workers unrestricted access to the people.

The extremists overthrew the old government in mid-August. According to the UN, around half of the 38 million inhabitants of Afghanistan are dependent on humanitarian aid in the form of food, water or medicine. About a third of the population does not know how to get the next meal.

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