Uzbekistan says it shot down Afghan military plane

TEHRAN, Aug. 16 (MNA) – Uzbekistan says it shot down an Afghan military plane that violated its borders, amid an exodus of government officials from Kabul.

A plane believed to be carrying fleeing Afghan military personnel was shot down by Uzbekistan's air-defense system after it crossed into the neighboring nation's airspace, officials in the capital, Tashkent, revealed on Monday, Russia Today has said.

It was reported earlier on Monday that an Afghan plane crashed in Uzbekistan after it ran out of fuel, while it was refused by Uzbek officials to land in the country. 

Iran cancels all flights to Afghanistan: Spokesman

 A spokesman for Iran's Civil Aviation Organization announced the postponement of all flights between Iran and Afghanistan until further notice.

Several people dead as US forces open fire at Kabul Airport

Several people were killed as the US military opened fire on Afghans at the Kabul airport, a source in the security forces told Sputnik on 16 August.

Agence France-Presse reported earlier, citing an eyewitness, that the US military fired warning shots to push crowds back from the runway.

According to the Wall Street Journal, three people have been shot dead in the shootings. 

Airlines warned to stay away from Afghanistan

Airlines have stopped flying through Afghan airspace after the country's civil aviation authority advised carriers to reroute.

Afghanistan's Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) has advised commercial air traffic to reroute and avoid transiting the country's airspace after the military was given sole access to departures and arrivals as countries scramble to evacuate their citizens from Kabul.

The ACAA said on August 16 that any transit through Kabul airspace, which covers all of Afghanistan, would be "uncontrolled."

AFP reports that British Airways, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Air France, and Virgin Atlantic announced they were no longer flying over the country after the Taliban took over Kabul.

Berlin: No flights leaving Kabul as desperate people crowd tarmac

No evacuation flights are leaving Kabul airport at the moment because desperate people trying to flee the country are blocking the tarmac, a spokesperson for the German foreign ministry said on Monday, Reuters reported.

"I understand there is no air traffic at the moment because a large number of desperate people are crowding the tarmac," the spokesperson told journalists in Berlin.

Forty staff from the German embassy were flown out to Doha overnight, he said, adding a small team of less than ten staff would remain at Kabul airport to coordinate evacuations.

Taliban start collecting weapons from civilians in Kabul

Taliban fighters in the Afghan capital, Kabul, start collecting weapons from civilians because people no longer need them for personal protection, a Taliban official says.

“We understand people kept weapons for personal safety. They can now feel safe. We are not here to harm innocent civilians,” the official tells Reuters news agency.

City resident Saad Mohseni, director of the MOBY group media company, says on Twitter that Taliban soldiers have come to his company compound to enquire about the weapons kept by his security team.

EU foreign ministers to hold emergency talks

European Union foreign ministers will hold a crisis meeting on Tuesday to discuss the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday.

"Following latest developments in Afghanistan, and after intense contacts with partners in the past days and hours, I decided to convene an extraordinary VTC of EU foreign ministers tomorrow afternoon for a first assessment," Borrell said on Twitter.

"Afghanistan stands at a crossroad. Security and wellbeing of its citizens, as well as international security, are at play," he added.

Three Afghan citizens fall from US C17 plane 

There are unconfirmed reports that three Afghan people had died after desperately clinging onto the undercarriage of a departing US air force C17 plane. As the aircraft took off they fell to their deaths on rooftops near the airport. The video showed bodies on the ground. The circumstances of their deaths were unclear.

Pakistan PM to discuss Afghanistan at NSC meeting

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has called a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) today to discuss the security situation in Afghanistan, according to sources.

As per sources, the NSC will review the situation in Afghanistan, after the Taliban consolidated their hold over the country two decades later.

China hopes Taliban will keep promises, end war

China hopes that the Taliban will keep their promises and end the war in Afghanistan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying stated on Monday.

During a regular press briefing, Hua expressed Beijing's hopes for a "tolerant new Afghan leadership " that will guarantee "safety to civilians and foreign diplomats."

Macron holding emergency meeting on Afghanistan

Emmanuel Macron is holding an emergency defence council meeting today and will make a televised statement about Afghanistan at 8 pm French time.

France is saying the security of its citizens is an “absolute priority” and is making plans to evacuate them. The French embassy has been “relocated” to Kabul airport. France has been advising its nationals to leave Afghanistan since April and organised a first repatriation flight in July.

Florence Parly, the armies minister, has announced two transport planes are being despatched to the French military base at Abu Dhabi in the UAE and will begin evacuating people from the Afghan capital late on Monday.

She said the planes would also evacuate “Afghans who have rendered very distinguished services to our armies”.

France has also halted the expulsion of Afghans whose asylum applications have been turned down.

Uzbekistan says it shot down Afghan military plane

Pakistan halts all flights to Kabul

Pakistan’s state-run airline says it has halted all flights to Kabul because of the “uncertain security situation” there.

Spokesman Abdullah Hafeez that Pakistan International Airlines decided to protect passengers, the crew, and the planes after consulting the Afghan civil aviation authorities, AP reports.

China has no plan for staff evacuation

The Chinese embassy in Kabul has no plans to evacuate its staff, the outpost has signaled.

“The Chinese embassy has requested various factions in Afghanistan to ensure the safety of Chinese nations, Chinese institutions, and Chinese interests,” it said.

“The embassy will take further steps to remind Chinese nationals to closely follow the security situation, increase safety precautions, and to refrain from going outside.”

In a statement on its website, the embassy said the situation in Kabul had become “extremely complex and severe” and they were in close contact with Chinese citizens in Afghanistan.

The decision not to evacuate has also been taken by Russia. Neither Russia nor China were signatories to today’s joint statement by 65 counties calling on all parties to facilitate the safe departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who want to leave.

Russia will not rush to recognize Taliban: envoy

The Russian government will not rush to recognize the Taliban group in Afghanistan, said the Russian President's special representative for Afghanistan who is also the Director of the Second Asia Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Zamir Kabulov.

"We are not in a hurry as far as confession is concerned. We will wait and see how it acts," he told TASS as quoted Monday, August 16.

Regarding the statements of the Taliban, they want it to take place in full power and rebuild the Afghan government, Kabulov blames the conditions that have occurred on the President of Afghanistan.

"What they are saying now is to blame on Ashraf Ghani, for procrastinating and refusing to hold talks for a whole year. He has lost everything," Kabulov stressed.

However, as a diplomat, Kabulov said he hoped to build friendly relations between Moscow and the new Afghan leadership.

Uzbekistan says it shot down Afghan military plane

Moscow: Putin, Mirziyoyev discuss situation in Afghanistan 

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev have discussed the situation in Afghanistan by telephone, the Kremlin’s press-service said on Sunday.

"The situation in Afghanistan was discussed in detail. It was agreed the Russian and Uzbek agencies and ministries concerned would step up cooperation," the statement runs.

The two presidents will keep in touch further on, the press-service added, according to Tass. 

US to take over air traffic control at Kabul airport

The United States has announced that it will be taking over air traffic control at Kabul airport and will expand the country's security presence to nearly 6,000 troops to facilitate the safe departure of the American and allied personnel from Afghanistan via civilian and military flights.

France set to evacuate its nationals 

France said it will evacuate its first nationals and Afghan colleagues from Kabul to a base in the United Arab Emirates on Monday, AFP reports.

“We are planning to carry out the first rotation between now and the end of this Monday,” defense minister Florence Parly said, adding there were several dozen French citizens to be evacuated.

“We have organized at the base we have in the United Arab Emirates the capabilities to receive the first evacuees,” Parly said, the Guardian reported. 

These are for French nationals who remain in Kabul but also “people under our protection and who we are going to evacuate”, Parly said.

Britain Says would not return Afghanistan

The Taliban are in control of Afghanistan and British forces are not going to return to fight the group, Britain's defence minister said on Monday.

"I acknowledge that the Taliban are in control of the country," Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News.

"I mean, you don't have to be a political scientist to spot that's where we're at", he added.

Asked if Britain and NATO would return to Afghanistan, Wallace said, "That's not on the cards... we're going to go back"

Disorder at Kabul Airport

There were scenes of panic and desperation at Kabul’s airport on Monday morning. Video footage showed people trying to climb the outside of passenger stairs and running across the Tarmac as they tied to get on board flights out of the country. The US military fired shots into the air to deter them, telling Reuters that the flights were “only meant to ferry diplomats, foreign staff, and local embassy staff”. 

US sending more troops to Kabul

The United States is sending another 1,000 troops to Afghanistan, raising the US deployment to roughly 6,000.

A defense official tells The Associated Press on Sunday that 1,000 troops from the 82nd Airborne are going directly to Kabul instead of going to Kuwait as a standby force, India Today reported.

The defense official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a deployment decision not yet announced by the Pentagon.

Saudi Arabia evacuates embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan as Taliban advance

Saudi Arabia has evacuated all members of its diplomatic mission in Kabul as the Taliban entered the Afghan capital on Sunday, state news agency SPA said.

“All members of the Kingdom’s embassy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, have been evacuated, and they have arrived home,” it said.

Taliban takes control of Afghanistan's national radio, television

According to Sputnik, on Sunday the Taliban took over the state television station in Kabul, calling on citizens to remain calm.

UN chief urges Taliban to show restraint

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday urged the Taliban and all other parties to exercise the utmost restraint in order to protect lives and expressed particular concern about the future of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Uzbekistan says it shot down Afghan military plane

Taliban declares end of war 

A spokesman for the Taliban's political office, Mohammad Naeem, speaking to Al-Jazeera, declared that the war in Afghanistan is over.

Naeem argued that the Taliban " put an end to this war that erupted in our country 20 years ago", Sputnik reported.

"We are ready to have a dialogue with all Afghan figures and will guarantee them the necessary protection", Naeem told the channel, adding "We do not think that foreign forces will repeat their failed experience in Afghanistan once again."

The spokesman also underlined that the Taliban will not "allow anyone to use our lands to target anyone" and said that the group does "not want to harm others".

RHM

News Code 177401

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