US completes withdrawal from Afghanistan -BBC

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Summary

  1. The US military completes its withdrawal on 31 August after two decades of war, leaving the Taliban in charge
  2. General Frank McKenzie who oversaw the pull-out says the US and its allies managed to evacuate some 123,000 civilians
  3. Heavy gunfire is reported in the Afghan capital, Kabul, as pro-Taliban forces celebrate
  4. Gen McKenzie said the cost of the mission had been high, with more than 2,400 US service personnel killed since 2001
  5. The US military says it’s investigating reports that a drone strike intended to stop an airport attack killed civilians
  6. A family of 10 were killed in Sunday’s strike, including six children, their relatives say
  7. Several rockets were fired at Kabul airport on Monday
  8. Militants of Islamic State-Khorasan say the group was behind the attack

 

Taliban leaders reportedly on Kabul airport runway

Some members of the Taliban leadership have reportedly arrived at Kabul airport, and have been speaking to reporters on the runway.

AFP news agency quoted the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid as saying: “Congratulations to Afghanistan… this victory belongs to us all.”

“We want to have good relations with the US and the world. We welcome good diplomatic relations with them all,” he added.

 
‘Living in a state of constant fear in Herat’
 
 

Herat, Afghanistan’s third-largest city, was a bustling centre of economic activity until it fell to the Taliban.

Residents tell the BBC that the local economy has now slowed down and “people are living in a state of fear”.

Habeeb*, who worked in communications, says people are scared to even leave their houses.

“The Taliban are present everywhere. I am running out of my savings. I have no job and so many like me need desperate help.”

The Taliban are asking people to return to work but locals say that “the entire administrative system is destroyed”.

Habeeb says he has been hearing about the Taliban giving severe punishments to people even for petty crimes.

“The situation is much worse in smaller districts and villagers where there is no oversight from the media,” Habeeb addsa.

Afghans flee to Pakistan over land

With foreign evacuation flights now ended, Afghans still desperate to find a way out of the country may be heading to the nation’s borders.

Already over the past two weeks, thousands have fled to neighbouring Pakistan.

Our reporter Shumaila Jaffery has been at the Chaman border:

“From dawn till dusk they pour in – hundreds of men with luggage on their shoulders, burqa-clad women walking briskly behind their men, children clinging to their mothers, exhausted in the scorching heat, and even patients pushed on wheelbarrows.”

She spoke with many refugees, including one student who said:

“Everybody wants to live in their homes, but we were forced to leave Afghanistan. We are not feeling good about migrating to Pakistan or other countries, all people are worried, but they don’t have any hope”.