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    Nearly two dozen U.S. citizens and legal U.S. residents met at a safe house in Kabul on Thursday evening to prepare for their long-awaited escape from Afghanistan, almost five months after the Pentagon announced that the last evacuation flight was off the ground in Kabul.  About 48 hours after meeting at the safe house, the group of 12 adults and 11 children landed safely at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport following stops in the United Arab Emirates and Italy.  The rescue was organized by Project Dynamo, a group of civilians and veterans who have dedicated themselves to helping U.S. citizens, allies, and legal residents flee the war-torn country.  "To rescue an American — you can’t put a value on it," Bryan Stern, a combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient who co-founded Project Dynamo in late August, told Fox News Digital. "You just can’t."  next Image 1 of 2 The 23 U.S. citizens and legal residents landed safely at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday evening following a 48-hour trip.  (Project Dynamo) prev Image 2 of 2 ...
    "The Faulkner Focus" host Harris Faulkner pressed Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby on whether the United States continues to work with the Taliban amid the effort to secure the release of Americans and allies from Afghanistan. STATE DEPT'S NED PRICE: ‘I HAVE A HARD TIME UNDERSTANDING’ WHAT AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL HAS TO DO WITH RUSSIA "Are we still relying on the Taliban?" she asked. "This isn't about relying on the Taliban," Admiral Kirby told Faulkner when asked about whether American officials are still relying on the group to facilitate the departures.  "This is about working with these aid groups and helping identify people that need to get out of Afghanistan and getting them out," he continued.  Faulkner pressed the admiral again for clarification, but received no clear answer.  "These people are still getting out," Admiral Kirby stated. "And look, we know, we know we have work to do. And here is the Department of Defense, we know we have a moral obligation here… This isn't about relying or working with the Taliban." A Taliban fighter secures the area  as people queue...
    The international aid organization Open Doors ranked Afghanistan the worst place in the world for Christians in 2021 on its World Watch List published this week, the first time the country appears at the top of the list and the first time in 20 years that Open Doors does not issue North Korea that distinction. Open Doors CEO David Curry told Breitbart News in an interview this week that Christian persecution actually increased in North Korea this year even as it dropped a spot to number two on the list, but the threat that the return of the Taliban poses to Christians in Afghanistan is so great that it dwarfed the growing repression in North Korea. The Taliban, a Sunni jihadist terrorist organization, became the de facto government of Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, after President Joe Biden announced he would violate an agreement with the group and extend the 20-year Afghan War past its May deadline into September. Biden again amended that deadline out of September and into August. In the months between May and August, Taliban terrorists swept...
    As a report published Wednesday revealed the loss of over 500,000 jobs since the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan last August, critics of the Biden administration's policy of economic sanctions and freezing billions of dollars in Afghan government funds renewed warnings of a "U.S.-fueled genocide" in the starving, suffering, war-torn nation. The United Nations International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that Afghanistan's economy has been "paralyzed" since the Taliban takeover, with more than half a million jobs lost in the third quarter of 2021, much of the decline attributable to a precipitous drop in "women's participation in the workplace." The agency projects further employment losses of 700,000 to over 900,000 by mid-2022. However, a direr—yet connected—crisis is being largely blamed on the Biden administration's punitive policies that, while meant to target the Taliban, are causing grievous harm to ordinary Afghans. The Intercept's Ryan Grim and Sara Sirota noted Wednesday that after the Taliban seized power, the United States—which as an occupying power controlled Afghanistan's foreign currency reserves—froze more than $9 billion in funds belonging to the country. Excellent journalism from...
    (CNN)President Joe Biden said in August that the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan would not signal the end of US support to the Afghan people, pledging active humanitarian support and diplomatic engagement. But the policies of the US and other Western powers have done the opposite, instead delivering isolation, economic mayhem and human misery. Following the Taliban takeover in August, Western states froze all development aid, worth 75% of the Afghan government's budget. Many civil servants, including doctors and teachers, have not been paid since August. Western powers froze $9.5 billion in Afghan assets in foreign banks -- the vast majority of which is held in the US. Meanwhile, sanctions on the Taliban have become de facto bans on private-sector engagement with the government, despite exemptions for humanitarian activity.This would have caused problems for any economy. But foreign aid represented over 40% of GDP for Afghanistan. The international house of cards that was Afghanistan's economy has come falling down.Afghanistan has risen to the top of the International Rescue Committee's 2022 Emergency Watchlist as it nears economic collapse and the...
    The Texas synagogue hostage-taker is just the latest example of a long-standing obsession among global jihadist groups to free convicted Pakistani terrorist Aafia Siddiqui — a goal shared by the U.S.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. British citizen Malik Faisal Akram took members of the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue hostage during their livestreamed Saturday services, capturing the rabbi and three others. After an 11-hour standoff between Akram, the police, and the FBI, the hostages escaped, and Akram was killed by law enforcement. Akram was following a path laid out by terrorist groups such as al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and the Taliban, who have all sought to use hostages to free the jihadi heroine, a virulent anti-Semite convicted in 2010 and sentenced to 86 years for attempting to shoot and kill U.S. military members in Afghanistan. When detained in Afghanistan in 2008, she allegedly was in possession of notes referring to a “mass casualty attack” in the United States and a list of New York City landmarks. For years, global terrorist groups often included the so-called "Lady...
    By Kathy Gannon | Associated Press KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers say they hope to be able to open all schools for girls across the country after late March, their spokesman told The Associated Press on Saturday, offering the first timeline for addressing a key demand of the international community. Since the Taliban takeover in mid-August, girls in most of Afghanistan have not been allowed back to school beyond grade 7. The international community, reluctant to formally recognize a Taliban-run administration, is wary they could impose similar harsh measures as during their previous rule 20 years ago. At the time, women were banned from education, work and public life. Zabihullah Mujahid, who is also the Taliban’s deputy minister of culture and information, said their education departments are looking to open classrooms for all girls and women following the Afghan New Year, which starts on March 21. Afghanistan, like neighboring Iran, observers the Islamic solar Hijri Shamsi calendar. Education for girls and women “is a question of capacity,” Mujahid said in the interview. Girls and boys must be completely...
    The White House announced it was providing $308 million in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan on Tuesday morning, as half the country's population faces desperate hunger.  It came as the United Nations appealed for more than $5 billion to stave off disaster following the Taliban takeover last year. Billions of dollars in Afghan assets were frozen and international assistance was shut off overnight as Western governments, which had fought the Taliban, turned off help.   At the end of last year, the Biden administration issued what it described as 'broad authorizations' to allow the United Nations, aid agencies, U.S. government agencies to work with the Taliban and blacklisted groups to deliver help without falling foul of sanctions.  White House spokesperson Emily Horne said Tuesday that the new assistance from the U.S. Agency for International Development will be channeled through independent humanitarian organizations for shelter, health care, emergency food aid, water, sanitation and hygiene services. 'The United States is committed to supporting the Afghan people and we continue to consider all options available to us,' she said.  'We stand with the people of...
    South Carolina Senator Graham is one of Trump's staunches allies in Congress GOP Senator Lindsey Graham accused President Joe Biden of 'brazenly' politicizing the Capitol riot on Thursday after he delivered a speech directly blaming his predecessor for the deadly events of January 6, 2021. The 79-year-old Democrat alongside Vice President Kamala Harris made a rare Capitol Hill address on Thursday morning to mark one year since Donald Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol complex to stop lawmakers from certifying Biden's 2020 electoral victory.  'The former president and his supporters are trying to rewrite history. They want you to see Election Day as the day of insurrection and the riot that took place here on January 6th as the true expression of the will of the people,' Biden said in his most severe condemnation of Trump while in office. Graham, one of the ex-president's closest allies in Congress, immediately tore into Biden on Twitter and pivoted to criticize him over the chaotic summer Afghanistan withdrawal. 'What brazen politicization of January 6 by President Biden. I wonder if the Taliban who now...
    This is shocking moment that a shop mannequin in Afghanistan is beheaded on the orders of the Taliban for offending the group's strict interpretation of Islam.  A video shared on Twitter on Monday shows an unidentified man using a hack saw to remove the head of a mannequin as someone chants 'Allah Akbar' - which means 'God is Great' in Arabic.    At least ten heads that have already been severed can be seen lying at his feet.     Last week, shopkeepers in the western province of Herat were told to hack the heads off their mannequins after Islamist officials ruled the statues were 'idols'. Idolatry, or the worshipping of idols, is considered a grave sin in Islam which bans the worship of anyone or thing other than Allah - considered to be the only God. VIDEO: #Taliban beheading mannequins of clothing stores while saying "Allah Akbar". The #Taliban have ordered a series of mannequin beheadings, telling clothes shops to remove the heads of dummies that offend #Islam. VIDEO¿¿ pic.twitter.com/90ts6GVYhH— Natiq Malikzada | ¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ (@natiqmalikzada) January 3, 2022 This is shocking moment...
    IT sounds almost too good to be true, like a song by John ­Lennon and Yoko Ono at their most wildly idealistic. Covid is over — if you want it. 10Labour leader Keir Starmer tested positive for Covid-19 in October last yearCredit: PA 10Some Scots ignored Nicola Sturgeon's pleas for a covid-secure new year as they travelled south of the border to partyCredit: PA 10The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has imposed widespread restrictions within his countryCredit: PA Because 2022 dawns with the words we have yearned to hear for almost two years finally being said aloud. The worst of Covid truly does look like it is over. “The horrific scenes that we saw a year ago — intensive care units being full, lots of people dying prematurely — that is now history, in my view,” says Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University. Is this really the right time to feel hope? Infection rates are soaring. Stocks of rapid test kits are running low. On the front line, NHS nurses are working themselves to the...
    US-chartered evacuation flights which allow Afghans to flee the Taliban have been suspended over fears the Islamist group was using the planes to leave the country and raise money abroad. The Taliban are said to have demanded several seats on every US-chartered Qatar Airways flight from Kabul to Qatar's capital Doha for their fighters and supporters in an apparent attempt for them to raise funds abroad and send the money back to Afghanistan. A dispute over whether the Taliban can use the planes, which are used to evacuate the most vulnerable, has seen the Islamist group temporarily halt the flights for the past three weeks, with no indication of when they will resume, reports NBC News. Thousands of Afghans have been evacuated by Qatar Airways, the only carrier the Taliban have allowed to fly regularly out of Kabul, since the U.S. military withdrew and the Islamist group took power.  While more than 74,000 Afghans have been evacuated to the US and 15,000 evacuated to the UK, thousands more have been left stranded - and the suspension of the flights leaves them...
    A whistleblower has accused the British Council of abandoning staff to the Taliban. Joe Seaton, a former Afghanistan manager for the organisation, said 100 personnel who were on the ‘front lines of teaching’ had not been airlifted to safety. He claimed bosses helped staff based in Kabul relocate while those who were the ‘face of Britain’ across the country remain in hiding from the Taliban. He said these people now faced revenge attacks because of their work for the UK. ‘These educators, who delivered the UK Government’s foreign policy objectives, and who were highly visible and recognisable to a wary and sceptical public, have now been left behind by the BC and the UK Government, and are all living in hiding and changing their addresses frequently in order to avoid the Taliban,’ he added. Dozens of former staff say their belief in Britain has been ‘shattered’ by months of waiting to hear the result of applications to the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy programme. They say that no cases appear to have been processed yet. Former British Council deputy director...
    BRITAIN will welcome 20,000 Afghans fleeing the Taliban from next year. Operation Warm Welcome will open in January, six months after Afghanistan was seized by the extremists. 1Britain will welcome 20,000 Afghans fleeing the Taliban from next year The Government will open a safe and legal route to the UK, focusing on women, children, ethnic minorities and freedom fighters. They will still be subject to strict security checks like others resettled through schemes. Minister for Resettlement Victoria Atkins said: “We are committed to supporting everyone we have evacuated from Afghanistan to make a success of their new life.” All those resettled in the scheme will be granted indefinite leave to remain here, and be allowed to work or study. The UK helped bring 15,000 people to safety after the fall of Afghanistan last summer - including womens' rights activists, journalists and prosecutors. Most read in UK NewsWHITE CHRISTMAS Met Office warnings as Arctic chill sweeps & SNOWBOMB expected on Xmas DayBARING ALL Farmers pose naked as they feed cows topless and straddle tractors for calendarJIM ON DOOR The Door's frontman...
    Abu Dhabi, UAE (CNN)Former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai believes it is now time for the international community to work with the Taliban to prevent millions of people from starving to death.In an exclusive interview with CNN's Becky Anderson, Karzai said the international community needs to prioritize getting much needed aid to Afghans and, for now, put its mistrust of the Taliban aside."The reality on the ground is that the Taliban are now the de facto authorities in the country," he said. Shes nearly 3 but as small as an infantThe Taliban took control of Afghanistan after a rapid, somewhat unexpected military blitz this summer. The capital, Kabul, fell shortly after the last US troops left the country, effectively ending the longest war in US history and ceding power to the same group Washington had ousted shortly after the initial invasion in 2001. Karzai became the first democratically elected president after the Taliban's initial collapse.Much of the world has yet to formally recognize the new Taliban government out of fear they would govern as the group did when last in...
    (CNN)Kamila is almost 3 years old, but she weighs just 11 pounds (5 kilograms). Her wrinkled skin sags off her skeletal limbs and stretches around her distended belly.Kamila has been malnourished for eight months now, says her grandmother Bilqis, as she attempts to soothe her in a sparse hospital ward filled with other emaciated children in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan. Too weak to cry, the little girl rubs her ears in pain."Her mother is sick and we are poor people," Bilqis says. "She tried to breastfeed her but had no milk to give." Kamila's family are among millions of Afghans struggling to survive severe food shortages during a harsh winter and economic crash. Rights organizations are pleading for more foreign aid, arguing the most vulnerable groups -- women and children -- are suffering. Read MoreIn a statement to CNN, the ruling Taliban acknowledged the country's "economic problems" -- but vehemently denied there was a crisis, calling such claims "fake news.""No one will starve cause there is no famine and the cities are full of food," said Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid --...
    Facebook tagged photos of beheadings and violent hate speech from ISIS and the Taliban as 'insightful' and 'engaging', a new report claims. Extremists have turned to the social media platform as a weapon 'to promote their hate-filled agenda and rally supporters' on hundreds of groups, according to the review of activity between April and December this year.  These groups have sprouted up across the platform over the last 18 months and vary in size from a few hundred to tens of thousands of members, the review found.  One pro-Taliban group created in spring this year and had grown to 107,000 members before it was deleted, the review, published by Politico, claims.  Overall, extremist content is 'routinely getting through the net', despite claims from Meta – the company that owns Facebook – that it's cracking down on extremists. There were reportedly 'scores of groups' allowed to operate on Facebook that were supportive of either Islamic State or the Taliban, according to a new report META'S STANCE ON TERRORIST GROUPS  'We do not allow individuals or organisations involved in organised crime, including those designated by...
    The national security adviser under former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday that all trust in the U.S. was "gone" by the time the Taliban overthrew the democratically elected government and took Kabul. Speaking with CBS's "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan, Hamdullah Mohib shot back at characterizations made by U.S. officials that the Afghan government and its army "gave up." "The Afghan people made tremendous sacrifices for Afghanistan. I think it would be dishonor to take that away," Mohib said. "What happened was the rug was pulled under the Afghans' feet," he added. The decision to talk directly and engage the Taliban and make a deal with the Taliban that didn't include the Afghan government was protested." Mohib blamed the decision to not involve the Afghan government in talks with the Taliban for its ultimate collapse. According to the former official, the biggest mistake was not understanding that the U.S. was withdrawing from Afghanistan, regardless of the situation. The August 15 collapse of the government came as something of a surprise, Mohib said, adding that he believed the U.S. would maintain a presence...
    President Joe Biden on Thursday awarded the Medal of Honor to three U.S. soldiers for actions 'above and beyond' the call of duty in the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The president at a White House ceremony hailed all three, saying: 'Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude today as we honor unparalleled courage, commitment to duty and indisputable gallantry.'   It was the first time Biden had awarded the nation's most prestigious for the most recent wars, including the war in Afghanistan where the U.S. pulled out its final troops in August. Among those being honored was Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, 35, who suffered fatal injuries in Iraq while rescuing fellow soldiers from a burning vehicle in 2005. He is the first African American recipient since the Vietnam War, Biden said. He called Cashe 'a warrior who literally walked through fire for his troops.' Biden also awarded the medal to Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Celiz, an Army Ranger who died after stepping between Taliban fighters and a U.S. helicopter evacuating wounded in 2018, and Master Sgt. Earl Plumlee, a Special Forces soldier...
    DATE: August-October 2021 PLACE: Kabul, Afghanistan; Dover Air Force Base, Delaware PHOTOGRAPHERS: Felipe Dana; Rahmat Gul; Carolyn Kaster ___ The men are shirtless, and they look cold, bewildered, lost. They are drug users waiting to be shaved at a drug treatment hospital after being detained during a raid by the Taliban, who once ruled Afghanistan and now, 20 years later, are in charge there again. It’s a powerful photo, both in composition and content. The same photographer, Felipe Dana, took another image in this collection — a portrait of Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, leader of the Taliban, who retook the Afghan capital after a chaotic U.S. departure in August. In one image during the days of that departure, taken by Rahmat Gul, an American Chinook helicopter is silhouetted against a bruised orange sky as smoke rises all around and a country that can’t seem to catch a break navigated another difficult time. On the other end of the equation, there was loss, too. Photographer Carolyn Kaster watched from behind her lens as Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of...
    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban didn’t take the Afghan capital — they were invited, says the man who issued the invitation. In an Associated Press interview, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai offered some of the first insights into the secret and sudden departure of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani — and how he came to invite the Taliban into the city “to protect the population so that the country, the city doesn’t fall into chaos and the unwanted elements who would probably loot the country, loot shops.” When Ghani left, his security officials also left. Defense minister Bismillah Khan even asked Karzai if he wanted to leave Kabul when Karzai contacted him to know what remnants of the government still remained. It turned out there were none. Not even the Kabul police chief had remained. Karzai, who was the country’s president for 13 years after the Taliban were first ousted in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, refused to leave. In a wide-ranging interview at his tree-lined compound in the center of the city where he lives with...
    (CNN)The United Nations (UN) said Tuesday that it was alarmed by continuing reports of extrajudicial killings across Afghanistan, including hangings, beheadings and public displays of corpses."Between August and November, we received credible allegations of more than 100 killings of former Afghan national security forces and others associated with the former Government, with at least 72 of these killings attributed to the Taliban," Nada Al-Nashif, UN deputy high commissioner for human rights, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.The Taliban have rejected the UN's findings, saying there was "no proof" of the allegations. The group announced a general amnesty from August 15 and insisted that no one had been harmed after that. State Department launches review of its role in the US withdrawal from Afghanistan The Taliban's deputy spokesman, Bilal Karimi, told CNN that they did not punish anyone who had worked with the former government nor with ISIS without a court judgment. "All personnel of [the] former government are living normally in Afghanistan, no one hurts them," he said, adding that people only "get killed when they are in...
    Biden claimed he was against the Afghanistan war from the 'beginning' despite voting to allow it in 2001 President Joe Biden defended the United States' widely-criticized withdrawal operation from Afghanistan this past summer, claiming that he was against the invasion 'from the beginning' in a new interview - though his past Senate voting record says otherwise. Speaking to CBS Sunday Morning, Biden chalked up the bipartisan criticism he received to failing to evacuate 'without anyone getting hurt.'  The president, 79, made the comments during a brief appearance in CBS correspondent Rita Braver's profile of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.  While discussing the need for bipartisan unity Biden was asked if he was 'willing to lose his presidency' over 'sticking with' his beliefs. He then launched into an unprompted defense of his record over the chaotic evacuation from Kabul in August, after the Afghan capital fell to the Taliban at unprecedented speed.  'For example, Afghanistan - well, I've been against that war in Afghanistan from the very beginning. We spent $300 million a week in Afghanistan over 20 years,' Biden said....
    The Taliban have pleaded with the US and the West to show 'mercy and compassion' by releasing $10billion in funds frozen when the group seized Afghanistan. Speaking in a rare interview, Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said the funds would help millions of the country's citizens that are in desperate need.  He also claimed Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers are committed in principle to education and jobs for girls and women, a marked departure from their previous time in power which saw a history of oppression and human rights abuses. Speaking to the Associated Press, Muttaqi said the new government wants good relations with all countries and has no issue with the United States. He urged Washington and other nations to release the funds that were frozen when the Taliban took power on August 15, following a rapid military sweep across Afghanistan and the sudden, secret flight of US-backed President Ashraf Ghani. But despite insisting the Taliban have changed for the better, Muttaqi's comments hint at a dire situation in Afghanistan - already one of the poorest countries in the world per capita before...
    An Afghan mother has been forced to sell one of her newborn twins to get money to feed the other amid the country's rapidly worsening food crisis.  The 40-year-old woman, from northern Jawzjan province, gave the baby to a childless couple in return for $104 which she hoped would buy enough food to last her family for another six months. Drought had forced the couple off of their farm earlier this year and into a nearby city, where her husband and second-eldest son worked as labourers before the Taliban take-over in August collapsed Afghanistan's economy and work dried up. The UN now warns that more than half of Afghanistan's population faces starvation this winter, a problem compounded by the fact that many aid agencies fled the country as the government collapsed and international aid dried up. This family's plight was uncovered by Save the Children, which does still have workers on the ground who are distributing what food they have to those in need.  A 40-year-old mother from Afghanistan has told how she was forced to sell her newborn twin son...
    by Louise Grogan, University of Guelph The lack of food security in Afghanistan may soon become a threat to the stability of many other countries. Without a radical change of western policy towards the Taliban, millions of people will make their way to anywhere they can find food. The arrival of the poorest of the poor in neighbouring countries and the European Union threatens to fuel further political polarization at a moment in which many governments are already under severe strain. Domestic tax and benefits scandals, Brexit, yo-yo COVID-19 policies and failure to deter migrants from crossing the English Channel have already eroded trust in British and European politicians. Both accepting and rejecting refugees may be very costly in these countries, economically and politically. Meanwhile in Afghanistan, the Taliban remain in power. Even in the absence of a moral motive to alleviate famine, there is a strong rationale for the West to do whatever it takes to feed Afghanistan this winter. Women have been the focusFor 20 years, the fight against the Taliban has been framed as a fight...
    London (CNN)Thousands of desperate Afghans were unable to flee the Taliban following the fall of Kabul because the British government's response to the crisis was disorganized and slow, a whistleblower has claimed.Britain's then-Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab took several hours to respond to urgent requests, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted vital resources were used to evacuate animals instead of people, an ex-staffer at the UK's Foreign Office alleged in written testimony to Parliament published on Tuesday.His damning account paints a picture of dysfunction at the heart of Britain's government during one of the West's most urgent crises in recent times, and suggests that the department's bureaucratic complacency may have had fatal consequences.The staffer, Raphael Marshall, said the department was flooded with emails from people requesting urgent help to flee Afghanistan. At the time, crowds of people had gathered at Kabul airport, desperately seeking a route out of the country, as US troops prepared to withdraw and the Taliban took the city."Many of these emails were not read," Marshall wrote, estimating that between 75,000 and 150,000 people had requested help and...
    More than half of the population of Afghanistan is facing extreme hunger, a frightening development that will only intensify as winter gets set to grip the war-devastated country now under Taliban control. "The humanitarian crisis is escalating daily in Afghanistan. Hunger in the country has reached truly unprecedented levels. Nearly 23 million people—that is 55 percent of the population—are facing extreme levels of hunger, and nearly nine million of them are at risk of famine," said U.N. Refugee Agency spokesman Babar Baloch told Voice of America last week. Taliban soldiers stand guard in Panjshir province northeastern of Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Mohammad Asif Khan) (AP Photo/Mohammad Asif Khan) Temperatures in Afghanistan have already begun to dip below freezing, with even colder temperatures still to come, a situation the U.N. warns could be dire for the over 3 million Afghans currently displaced by conflict and lack shelter, medical supplies, food, and clothes. BIDEN FACES CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE OVER AFGHANISTAN Baloch, who just returned from a trip to Afghanistan, said that many elderly people and single mothers have been displaced with no food...
    Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin gave a noticeably awkward silence when asked about his regrets regarding the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.  'Do you have any regrets about the Afghan withdrawal?' Fox's Bret Baier asked Austin during a keynote discussion at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday.  After an uncomfortable silence that lasted for nearly 10 seconds, Austin finally replied. 'Bret, I regret the fact that we lost 13 of our finest at Abbey Gate. I regret that we lost 10 civilians in an errant strike.' 'Having said that, Bret, I want to make sure that we don't lose sight of the fact that our American forces, in 17 days, evacuated 124,000 people from Afghanistan,' Austin added.  SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO  Eleven Marines, a Special Forces member and a Navy Corpsman were all killed in the ISIS-K suicide attack on August 26 as US forces frantically tried to get people on evacuation flights before the August 31 deadline.  Also, a drone airstrike that the US government had said killed an...
    BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — A female judge, Muska, was hiding with her family from newly empowered Taliban militants in Afghanistan when an apparent reading mistake 7,000 miles away helped to drastically change her life. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro opened his nation’s doors to potential refugees from the Asian nation during remarks at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 21. “We will grant humanitarian visas for Afghan Christians, women, children and judges,” he read on the teleprompter — apparently mispronouncing the final word, which was “jovens” — youngsters — in his printed speech as “juizes,” or judges. Error or not, his government fulfilled that offer. Muska and her family were taken by bus to the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif and were then flown to Greece with six female colleagues. By the end of October, they found themselves in Brazil — a country with very little in common with Afghanistan beyond their shared love of soccer. Speaking to international media for the first time, Muska told The Associated Press this week that she and the other judges still fear retribution...
    “A woman is not an asset, but a noble and free man; No one can change it in the name of an agreement or to end hostilities, ”the document said, referring to a common practice in Afghanistan. The text underscores that “no one can force women to marry under duress or pressure”, in which widowed women are “entitled” to choose their future. Women have a patriarchal right to family property, including widows, who must receive a dowry if they remarry. The document calls on various ministries and the Supreme Court, as well as all regional governors, and the general public and institutions to spread the word about “observation and avoidance of violations”. However, since the Taliban seized power on August 15, the six-point mandate has not responded to the various demands of Afghan women and the international community, especially on the right to work and education. The new regime (Islamic Emirate) has stated since August that women can return to work or school in the future, but the necessary “environment” must first be created within the framework of Islamic law....
    President Biden's gut reaction to the news that a deadly suicide bomb had gone off amid the American evacuation from Afghanistan has been revealed.  During an Afghanistan briefing on Aug. 26, head of US Central Command Gen. Frank McKenzie turned ashen as he was handed a piece of paper. He told the meeting, which he'd called into by video, that a bomb had been detonated near the Hamid Karzai Airport - four services members were already dead, three near dead, dozens more injured.  There were gasps throughout the room and Biden winced before going silent for a long pause. 'The worst that can happen has happened,' the president said once he broke the silence, meeting participants told the New York Times.  The death toll eventually rose to 13 US service members and over 170 Afghans.  The fateful event has since marred the Biden administration's record and defined the frenzied withdrawal that has scored criticism from both sides. Following the attack, which terror group ISIS-K later claimed, the US carried out a retaliatory drone strike, which they initially claimed killed a terrorist...
    (CNN)The Taliban executed dozens of members of the Afghan security forces after they surrendered following the militants' seizure of Afghanistan in late summer, new research released by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday alleges.The HRW report detailed "the summary execution or enforced disappearance" of 47 former members of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), including military personnel, police, intelligence service members and paramilitary militia, who had surrendered to or were apprehended by Taliban forces between August 15 and October 31.HRW says the report is based on a total of 67 interviews, including 40 in-person interviews with witnesses, relatives and friends of victims, and Taliban fighters. Some people were granted anonymity by HRW for their report. In some cases, families report stories of people who simply disappeared.The findings of the investigation would make a mockery of the Taliban's previous claims to the international community that it would lead a more inclusive government than it did two decades ago. Its leaders had promised a reprieve for those who collaborated with US forces during the American presence in the country. Despite soothing...
    London (CNN)They are safe and alive, and have the prospect of new lives in the United Kingdom, but for 130 Afghan female football players and their families it's an existence still full of uncertainty. When the Taliban seized control in mid-August as the United States and Western allies withdrew their forces, women and girls were quickly instructed to stay home from work and school, and hundreds of the country's athletes went into hiding or sought to be evacuated from the country fearing reprisals.  During the last period of Taliban rule, women were banned from participating in sports, and by late August, Khalida Popal, the former captain of the Afghan women's soccer team, had urged players to delete social media profiles and burn their kits to protect themselves. "They are like a nightmare for my generation. They took over all of our country in one night. And after that night, we were able to see the Taliban on the streets. They were cruel. They didn't have mercy for anyone," 19-year-old defender Narges Mayeli told CNN. Mayeli is one of two Afghan...
    Malala Yousafzai graduated from Oxford University with a philosophy, politics and economics degree on Friday, nine years after being shot by the Taliban after campaigning for girls to be to be educated in her native Pakistan. The youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, now 24, took to Instagram to share moving pictures of her graduation ceremony, which was initially due to take place in May 2020, but was delayed by Covid and moved to the Autumn of 2021. Malala was seen posing in her hat and gown as she stood by the university, as well as alongside her proud parents Ziauddin Yousafzai and Toor Pekai Yousafzai and new husband Asser Malik. It comes just months after the Taliban excluded girls from returning to secondary school and replaced Afghanistan's women's ministry with an all-male 'vice and virtue' department.  Malala Yousafzai graduated from Oxford University with a philosophy, politics and economics degree on Friday, nine years after being shot by the Taliban as she campaigned for girls to be to be educated in her native Pakistan Sharing pictures on campus and surrounded...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The evacuation of American citizens and others from Afghanistan didn’t end with the departure of the last U.S. troops on Aug. 30, but it did slow to a trickle. The U.S. airlifted 124,000 people from Kabul, the capital, over about six weeks as the American-backed Afghan military and government fell to the Taliban. Since then, several thousand people have managed to get out, mostly on flights arranged by the State Department or private groups and individuals. That includes some high-profile efforts, such as the Nov. 18 flight chartered by reality TV star Kim Kardashian West for members of Afghanistan’s women’s youth development soccer team and their families. Most of the departures, however, have been carried out quietly for remaining American citizens, U.S. residents or people with the special immigrant visa for those who worked as military interpreters or otherwise aided the 20-year, Washington-led war effort. But people involved in these efforts are calling on the United States and other nations to do more to help people escape Taliban rule. A look at the current...
    A DESPERATE Afghan father was forced to sell his five-year-old daughter to a 52-year-old man in a bid to feed his starving family. Qadir, 35, an impoverished labourer in the north-west of the war-torn country, has spent the past two years waiting for the paedophile to come and collect his "goods." 3Zohra, now aged seven, was sold to a man, 52, for £1,386 The father, who has six other children including a baby daughter, used to earn £2 a day - however since the Taliban took over in August, his earning have diminished even further. He says: "I don't have money for food. I am scared for my kids because in winter they will die due to cold." Two years ago, Qadir sold his eldest daughter Zohra, then aged five, for £1,386 to a stranger. He told the Daily Mail: "I had to sell her to keep the others alive. I didn't have a choice." Asked how she feels about being sold, the tearful girl, now aged seven, says: "I'm scared." Her father says: "She cries all the time. She...
    On Google shopping, you can purchase clothes featuring Che Guevara, a homophobic and racist Marxist revolutionary; Pol Pot, leader of the Marxist Khmer Rouge that killed more than 1.7 million people through work, starvation, and torture in four years; Joseph Stalin, the Russian communist despot believed to have killed 20 million; and Chairman Mao, the Chinese communist tyrant that killed 45 million in four years. The big tech shopping platform has no problem selling shirts celebrating Antifa, which contributed to the record-high damages in the 2020 riots. Google also has no issues with apparel praising Rene Boucher, the convicted neighbor of Rand Paul who attacked the Republican senator and broke his ribs in 2017. Besides Kyle Rittenhouse, the only other search terms that were found to be seemingly banned from Google shopping were "Adolf Hitler," "Nazi," "Taliban," "QAnon," and "Proud Boys."
    The Taliban-run passport office in Kabul shut down on Tuesday, ostensibly because its biometric equipment and computer systems could not handle the enormous demand for travel documents. Director Alam Gul Haqqani estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people were camped outside the passport office, a crowd at least five times as big as the office could handle. “To stop people suffering this and to avoid disturbance, we have decided to stop the activities of the passport department for a few days,” Haqqani said, promising operations would resume soon. Issuing passports in #Kabul has been stopped. Thousands people returned back home hopelessly on d Tuesday morning. Issuing passport was d only service #Taliban were delivering 2 people after they took over. There is no public service from the so called government in #Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/KO94tDq6Lj — Kabir Haqmal (@Haqmal) November 16, 2021 Haqqani said in late October that every Afghan citizen was entitled to receive a passport under the Taliban government. He envisioned his office gearing up to issue 5,000 to 6,000 passports a day. Hundreds of people lined up outside the office days...
    Afghanistan's ex-finance minister has claimed the Taliban easily conquered the country because corrupt officials invented 'ghost soldiers' and took payment from the Islamist group.  Khalid Payenda said most of the 300,000-strong army and police officers did not exist and that generals added the phantom personnel to official lists so they could take their wages. The Afghan government collapsed in August as Taliban fighters rapidly took control of the country, while US and coalition forces were withdrawing after 20 years.  Mr Payenda said the inflated numbers included 'desertions' and 'martyrs' because commanders often kept their bank cards and withdrew money. Khalid Payenda said most of the 300,000-strong army and police officers did not exist and that generals added the phantom personnel to official lists so they could take their wages He claimed the troop numbers may have been inflated by as much as six times and said it was incorrect to suggest security forces outnumbered the Taliban. He told the BBC: 'The way the accountability was done, you would ask the chief in that province how many people you have and based...
    U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan Thomas West on Monday hoped the Taliban would be “successful” in its battle against the Islamic State, and hinted the new rulers of Afghanistan needed to sever their ties with al-Qaeda if they desire international recognition. “The Taliban have voiced very clearly and openly their desire to normalize relations with the international community, to see a resumption in aid, to see a return of the international diplomatic community to Kabul and to see sanctions relief. The United States can deliver none of these things on our own,” West told reporters by telephone from Brussels, where he delivered a briefing on Afghanistan to the NATO alliance. “Allies are going to continue to play a heavy role in Afghanistan: Germany, the United Kingdom, France,” he elaborated. “We will all engage forthrightly and in a clear-eyed manner with the Taliban and with shared interests and objectives.” West said the U.S. is “worried about the uptick in ISIS-K attacks, and we want the Taliban to be successful against them.” ISIS-K is the abbreviation widely used for the Islamic State’s...
    Malala Yousafzai has tied the knot almost a decade after she was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' rights to an education. The Nobel Peace Prize winner, 24, has married her partner Asser Malik at a ceremony in her Birmingham home. Malala shared sweet photographs from the wedding day, where she wore a beautiful pink bridal Nikah, to Twitter. She smiled next to her new husband, who wore a matching pink tie, in adorable outdoor snaps. Another image showed Malala touching her hair as Asser signed the marriage contract. Malala shared sweet photographs from the wedding day, where she wore a beautiful pink bridal Nikah, to Twitter It is not known when Malala and Asser began their relationship, but her husband posted a birthday message in July (pictured together) Malala is pictured in the documentary He Named Me Malala when she was aged 19 Asser was last year appointed operations manager of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Malala captioned the photographs: 'Today marks a precious day in my life. Asser and I tied the knot to...
    Check out our must-buy plant-based cookbooks! Learn more Angela Ghayour is a woman living in the UK who took action when she heard about the Taliban’s restrictions on girls’ education. When the Taliban first arrived in Afghanistan, Ghayour and her parents fled to Iran. Where she struggled for years before becoming eligible to attend school there. Once she did, she realized that she had a passion for teaching. Once Ghayour was an adult, she moved back to Afghanistan, then to the Netherlands, then to the UK. where she watched as the Taliban took over Afghanistan once again. All of the progress that had been made in women’s education was completely swept away, as restrictions were once again put in place. After watching the news for 3 months, Ghayour decided to do something about the girls’ education. Starting an online community of teachers with nearly 400 volunteer teachers and 1,000 students. All of the classes are done over the internet, allowing the girls to stay safely at home while still getting an education. Some areas of Afghanistan...
    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Two women from different walks of life — one a rebel, the other a bureaucrat — face an unknown future in Afghanistan. One decided to work with the Taliban, the other is determined to fight them. Both vow they will never leave their homeland. Karima Mayar Amiri, 54, heads a department in the Taliban-run Health Ministry. She is among the few women able to retain a leadership position in the new government’s bureaucracy and believes Afghans must be served no matter who is at the helm. Many years her junior, Rishmin Juyunda, 26, could not disagree more. Afghan women will never be served with the Taliban in power, she says. The rights activist is part of an underground network determined to fight harsh Taliban policies that restrict women’s freedom. They represent a broad spectrum of women who have remained in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan after many fled, fearing a return to the brutal repression that marked the group’s previous rule in the late 1990s. The international community has linked recognition of a Taliban government to factors such...
    All 24 female senators from both parties came together on Thursday to ramp up pressure on President Biden to develop a plan for the dire situation that now faces Afghan women and girls.  The letter, led by Sens. Shelley Capito and Dianne Feinstein, says that 'American disengagement from Afghanistan puts at risk hard-won gains for Afghan women and girls.'  'Women and girls are now suffering the predations of a Taliban regime with a track record of brutalizing, isolating, and denying them life and liberty. Taliban leaders who promised that women would be treated well under the new government are not upholding those commitments,' the letter reads.  The senators note that women are now the victims of targeted beatings and are banned from leaving home without a male chaperone.  Where some 3.5 million girls were in school in Afghanistan last year thanks to the American-backed government led by Ashraf Ghani, the Taliban has indefinitely suspended secondary school for girls. The letter, led by Sens. Shelley Capito and Dianne Feinstein, says that 'American disengagement from Afghanistan puts at risk hard-won gains for...
    Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images All 24 female U.S. senators co-signed a letter to President Joe Biden calling on him to help protect the rights of Afghan women and girls. There’s been a lot of attention on the plight of women in Afghanistan under Taliban rule in the past few months. Last month CNN’s Clarissa Ward reported from Kabul on how women “are being completely pushed out of public life.” On Thursday, every single female senator backed a letter to the president reading, “We write to urge your administration to develop an interagency plan to preserve the political, economic, social, and basic human rights of Afghan women and girls.” American disengagement from Afghanistan puts at risk hard-won gains for Afghan women and girls… Lacking a legitimate Afghan government and military forces to protect them, women and girls are now suffering the predations of a Taliban regime with a track record of brutalizing, isolating, and denying them life and liberty. Taliban leaders who promised that women would be treated well under the new government are not upholding those commitments. They write women are...
    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said Wednesday that 'conditions are likely to be set' in Afghanistan for ISIS or Al Qaeda to resurge, possibly in as little as six months.  'My own personal estimate is that the conditions are likely to be set for a reconstituted ISIS or Al Qaeda, I gave out windows of time - 6 months, I gave it out 36 months, somewhere in that window,' Milley told NBC's Lester Holt at the Aspen Security Forum. 'Does that mean they will attack the United States? Maybe, maybe not. That depends,' Milley said.  The chairman said that the Taliban are going to be 'challenged' as to whether they can 'adequately govern' or if Afghanistan is going to crumble into 'warring factions,' in which case ISIS and Al Qaeda would easily reconstitute.     Asked if US troops would have to reoccupy, Milley said: 'I think it's unlikely at this point.'   'With Al Qaeda, with ISIS and with the Taliban and other groups, until and unless that movement and ideology ceases, we’re going to be dealing with...
    The Taliban government are reportedly keeping a 'kill list' of gay people in Afghanistan, forcing many to go into hiding. The Islamist government's extremist interpretation of Sharia law means homosexuality is strictly prohibited and prohibited by death - often in particularly brutal ways. And now, the director of a LGBT+ human rights group has claimed that the Taliban have created a list of gay people who they want to kill. 'This is a really scary time to be in Afghanistan,' Kimahliu Powell, executive director of the Rainbow Railroad, the only international LGBT+ organisation on the ground in Afghanistan, told France 24. 'We now know for sure the Taliban has a 'kill list' circulating, identifying LBTQI+ persons,' he said. The future for the LGBTQ+ community in Afghanistan became particularly bleak when the Taliban seized power in August Powell said the Taliban is likely to have paid close attention to the names of people that foreign rights groups tried to evacuate in the weeks leading up to the withdrawal of U.S. and allied troops from Afghanistan.  'After the fall of Kabul, there...
    I know, I know. It's the last thing you want to hear about. Twenty years of American carnage in Afghanistan was plenty for you, I'm sure, and there are so many other things to worry about in an America at the edge of… well, who knows what? But for me, it's different. I went to Afghanistan in 2002, already angry about this country's misbegotten war on that poor land, to offer what help I could to Afghan women. And little as I may have been able to do in those years, Afghanistan left a deep and lasting impression on me. So, while this country has fled its shameful Afghan War, I, in some sense, am still there. That's partly because I've kept in touch with Afghan women friends and colleagues, some living through the nightmare of the Taliban back again and others improbably here in America, confined in military barracks to await resettlement in the very country that so thoroughly wrecked their own. And after all these years, I'd at least like to offer some thoughts on the subject,...