The latest on Afghanistan as Taliban edges closer to taking control

UK ambassador to Afghanistan remains in Kabul
From CNN’s Katharina Krebs

The UK ambassador to Afghanistan remains in Kabul and staff are doing all they can to help remaining UK nationals leave the country, UK Foreign Office spokesperson told CNN on Sunday.

“We have reduced our diplomatic presence in response to the situation on the ground, but our Ambassador remains in Kabul and UK Government staff continue to work to provide assistance to British nationals and to our Afghan staff,” the Foreign Office spokesperson said.

3 min ago
Afghan defense minister curses fleeing President
From CNN’s Tim Lister

The acting Afghan Minister of National Defense Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi issued a brief tweet Sunday after President Ashraf Ghani and senior officials had left Afghanistan. In a clear reference to the former President, he said:

“They tied our hands behind our backs and sold the homeland, damn the rich man and his gang,” Bismillah wrote on his official Twitter account.

Earlier, the Afghan Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah bitterly criticized Ghani for fleeing the country.

In a video statement recorded in Kabul, Abdullah said: “The fact that the former Afghan president left the country and put the people and country in such a bad situation, God will hold him accountable and the people of Afghanistan will also judge him [for doing so].”
Ghani is a former economist and academic, who served as Afghanistan’s president since 2014. He was reelected in September 2019 but due to a protracted process was not sworn in until March 2020.

21 min ago
US Embassy instructs Americans in Kabul to shelter in place
From CNN’s Jenny Hansler

The US Embassy in Kabul – which is now operating out of the Kabul airport – instructed US citizens in the capital to shelter in place Sunday.

“The security situation in Kabul is changing quickly including at the airport. There are reports of the airport taking fire; therefore we are instructing U.S. citizens to shelter in place,” the security alert issued Sunday said.
The embassy said that Americans “wanting assistance in departing the country should register for any option that might be identified to return to the United States,” and must complete an online form for each person.

“Spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens in Afghanistan who are awaiting immigrant visas should also complete this form if they wish to depart,” the embassy said. “Please do so as soon as possible. You must complete this form even if you’ve previously submitted your information to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul,” it said.

“Do not call the U.S. Embassy in Kabul for details or updates about the flight. This form is the only way to communicate interest in flight options,” the security alert emphasized.

17 min ago
“People are bracing themselves for the worst,” CNN’s Clarissa Ward says as the Taliban enter Kabul
From CNN’s Clarissa Ward in Kabul

CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward on August 15, 2021.
CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward on August 15, 2021. CNN
“Things are getting very, very quiet on the streets,” CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward told Brian Stelter as the Taliban entered the capital Kabul.

“That may be because the Taliban spokesperson actually announced that people should stay in their homes. He urged everyone not to go out, saying that that would only contribute to a sense of chaos, that the Taliban is trying to keep this as peaceful as possible. And as far as we can hear, people are certainly adhering to that advice, staying at home, staying hunkered down,” she said.
But Ward described the sense of fear and panic on the streets saying, “People for the moment are bracing themselves for the worst. What tomorrow will bring, what the future will look like.”

She explained the sense of chaos as the president had fled the country with no transitional government in place.

“The Taliban says they will now begin assuming responsibility for key ministries. Only tomorrow I suppose will we really get a sense of what that is going to look like, what a fall in Kabul will look like with the Taliban in full control,” Ward added.

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