Kabul / Washington (dpa) – For the first time since the end of the military evacuation mission in Kabul, people in need of protection have again been evicted from the Afghan capital. The White House National Security Council announced that the Taliban had been “cooperative”.
According to a Washington Post report, 211 Afghans with dual citizenship, including citizens of Germany, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands and Ukraine, were on the passenger list of the chartered plane of the Qatari airline, Qatar Airways. It was not clear whether all of them had actually reached the airport by the time they took off.
The Washington Security Council confirmed that the flight landed safely in Doha, Qatar. The US government will continue its efforts to get the allied Americans and Afghans out of the country. The military evacuation mission in Kabul ended at the end of last month with the withdrawal of the last US troops from Afghanistan. Since then, Western countries like Germany have attempted to allow their nationals and former local Afghan staff to leave the country.
Qatar’s special envoy for Afghanistan Mutlak al-Kahtani said on Thursday, according to the Washington Post, that the airport was back on line. They want a gradual reopening of the airport. He’s waiting for another flight on Friday. The US government thanked Qatar for its commitment.
During a visit to U.S. Ramstein Air Base in Rhineland-Palatinate on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on the Taliban to keep their promise to allow Afghans to leave the country with the appropriate travel documents. He had mentioned charter planes in Mazar-i-Sharif in the north of the country, with which the Afghans were to fly in search of protection, but which were stopped by the Taliban.
In Germany, more than 20 human rights organizations on Thursday called on the federal government to bring threatened people in Afghanistan to safety in the coming weeks. Evacuations were to continue and Afghan refugees were to be received in Germany, for example by civilian flights from Afghanistan or a neighboring country, according to a joint statement on Thursday. The signatories are Amnesty International and Pro Asyl.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban initially banned further protests on Wednesday evening (local time). The first official statement from the Home Office after the formation of the government said that no one should try to organize protests just yet. Serious prosecution is threatened in the event of violations.
The order came after three days of protests in Kabul on the eve of so-called “Masud Day”, the anniversary of the death of legendary Taliban opponent and Northern Alliance leader Akhmad Shah Massud. Usually thousands of his supporters, including much of his home province of Pandschir, pass through Kabul in long parades of cars, motorcycles and bicycles, masked and armed. There were initially no reports of such moves on Thursday.
Videos and images were circulating on social networks which show that the tomb of Massoud, who is revered by many as a national hero, has apparently been partly destroyed in the Pandschir Valley. On these, we can see that the glass plate above the tomb is shattered and the stone at the top of the tomb has fallen and shattered into three pieces.
Massoud, better known as the “Lion of Pandjir”, had fiercely resisted the Taliban in the 1990s until he was killed in a suicide bombing two days before September 11, 2001. It is not known how the grave was destroyed. After about a week of heavy fighting with resistance fighters in the valley, the Taliban said on Monday that the province was under their control.