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Taliban fighters poses for a photograph while raising their flag Taliban fighters raise their flag at the Ghazni provincial governor's house, in Ghazni, southeastern, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021.  - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Taliban Take Back 3 Areas From Resistance Forces in Afghan Province of Baghlan

Addressing the disastrous situation in war-torn Afghanistan on 21 August, former US President Donald Trump said recent developments in the country are due to the current administration's foreign policy and a great military demonstrating Joe Biden's incompetence.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace stated in an article for The Mail on Sunday that those Afghans who try to flee to Britain to escape the Taliban will have to make their own way to the borders if the US does not delay the deadline for leaving the country. The latter is set for 31 August.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab earlier discussed the situation in Afghanistan with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, especially the evacuation of UK and US citizens from the country.
Meanwhile, former US President Donald Trump has criticised President Joe Biden. The former POTUS took aim at the current administration at a Saturday Save America rally in Cullman, Alabama, accusing the latter of surrendering US military bases in Afghanistan, and stressing that American troops are leaving $83 billion worth of military equipment behind.
The Taliban* entered Kabul on 15 August. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country to prevent what he described as bloodshed if the militants had to fight for the city. Most countries have since reduced or evacuated their diplomatic missions in Kabul.
The chief of the political office of the Taliban, Abdul Ghani Baradar, will likely make a decision concerning the structure of the future Afghan government over the next two weeks, a source in the Taliban told Sputnik on 21 August.
Follow Sputnik's live feed to find out more.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.
Table of contents
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03:08 GMT 23.08.2021
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Joe Biden pose for photos at the G-7 summit, in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain June 11, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
Boris Johnson Will Reportedly Pressure Biden to Delay Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan
21:57 GMT 22.08.2021
20:47 GMT 22.08.2021
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about Hurricane Henri and the evacuation of Afghanistan in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. August 22, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Biden Says 'Yes' When Asked If He Would Mull Sanctions Against Taliban, Depending on Their Behavior
20:37 GMT 22.08.2021
20:28 GMT 22.08.2021
20:26 GMT 22.08.2021
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response and  vaccination program during a speech in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 18, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Biden Addresses Afghanistan Evacuation, Hurricane Henri Response
19:40 GMT 22.08.2021

KABUL (Sputnik) - Taliban fighters (movement banned in Russia as terrorist) have regained control over three districts in the Afghan province of Baghlan after recapturing them from the resistance forces, a local journalist told Sputnik on Sunday.

On Friday, the defense minister of the former Afghan government, Bismillah Mohammadi, said that resistance forces had retaken three districts in Baghlan, including Banu, Deh-e Salah and Puli Hisar, from the Taliban. Earlier on Sunday, sources told Sputnik that the Taliban took over the Banu district in northeastern Baghlan province.

"The three areas captured by the resistance forces have been retaken by the Taliban. And no place in Baghlan is now under the control of the resistance forces," said the source, who asked to remain anonymous.

19:05 GMT 22.08.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States will provide a prompt and "forceful" response to the Taliban (designated terrorist by the UN and Russia) in case the radical group hinders evacuations of Americans from the Kabul airport, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told NBC News.

"If in the end Americans are blocked from getting to the airport, blocked from leaving the country or our operations are disrupted or our evacuations are in some way interfered with, we have explained to them [the Taliban] that there will be a swift and forceful response," Sullivan warned.

The US, the official noted, is unaware of the precise number of Americans remaining in Afghanistan.

"We know that it's roughly a few thousands," Sullivan said.

He explained that many Americans did not register upon their arrival in Afghanistan, therefore it is complicated now to figure out how many US nationals are still in the Central Asian country.

At the moment, Washington is working on giving directives on the relatively safe ways of getting to the airport to those nationals who are still in Afghanistan, according to Sullivan.

18:30 GMT 22.08.2021
17:54 GMT 22.08.2021
17:35 GMT 22.08.2021

Mohammed Naeem, a spokesman for Taliban's political office, has claimed that al-Qaeda* "does not exist" in Afghanistan and "we have no relationship with them".

The claim comes days after President Joe Biden insisted that the US had reached its goal of getting rid of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. The Pentagon, however, appeared to contradict his statement, saying "we know that al-Qaeda is a presence, as well as ISIS* [Daesh] in Afghanistan".

*Al-Qaeda and Daesh, also known as ISIS/IS/Islamic State are terrorist groups banned in Russia and many other countries.

17:04 GMT 22.08.2021
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security advisor Jake Sullivan listen as President Joe Biden delivers remarks on evacuation efforts and the ongoing situation in Afghanistan during a speech in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 20, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920
Biden's Aides Were 'Too Afraid' to Question His Decisions in Run-Up to Chaotic Afghan Exit
15:58 GMT 22.08.2021

As Afghan resistance leader Ahmad Massoud refused to surrender areas under his control to the Taliban, the insurgent group said on Sunday that "hundreds" of its fighters were heading to the Panjshir Valley.

"Hundreds of Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate are heading towards the state of Panjshir to control it, after local state officials refused to hand it over peacefully".

Massoud said, "We want to make the Taliban realise that the only way forward is through negotiation. We do not want a war to break out".

At the same time, he emphasised that his supporters were ready to fight if Taliban forces tried to invade Panjshir.

"We are defending the whole country in one province", he said.


15:17 GMT 22.08.2021
14:49 GMT 22.08.2021
14:41 GMT 22.08.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada has ordered the release of 350 inmates from a prison in the capital of Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand, spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi said on Sunday.

"According to a decree of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Emirate [Taliban's name for Afghanistan] Hibatullah Akhundzada ... 350 inmates were released and sent home today from the Lashkar Gah prison", Ahmadi tweeted.

On Saturday, the Shamshad News broadcaster reported that the Taliban released 340 "political prisoners" in the Farah province in western Afghanistan and another 40 inmates were released in the central Uruzgan province.

14:28 GMT 22.08.2021
Afghan women walk on the road during the first day of Eid al-Fitr in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, May 13, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
UK Sharia Female Scholar Accuses Western Media of ‘Misrepresenting’ Taliban Stance on Women’s Rights
14:19 GMT 22.08.2021
14:16 GMT 22.08.2021

According to Adam Kinzinger, the Trump administration "set this up to fail but always, of course, Joe Biden could have easily turned this around. ... Both parties have failed the American people".

14:12 GMT 22.08.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and UN chief Antonio Guterres held a telephone conversation on Sunday to discuss Afghanistan.

"The Prime Minister spoke to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres again today about the situation in Afghanistan. He stressed that the UN must be central to both the humanitarian response to the situation in Afghanistan and international negotiations over the future of the country, and pledged the UK’s support in that effort", Johnson's office said in a statement.

Guterres, in turn, provided Johnson with the latest information on Afghanistan and the challenges faced by staff of the humanitarian mission.

The call ended with Johnson and Guterres agreeing that the international community should guarantee that the rights of women, girls and ethnic minorities in the country are protected and promising to continue close contacts in the upcoming days, including through the UN Security Council.

14:12 GMT 22.08.2021
14:11 GMT 22.08.2021
14:09 GMT 22.08.2021
HMG staff facilitate UK evacuation effort in Kabul - Sputnik International, 1920
UK Minister Says Taliban Restoring Order at Chaotic Kabul Airport
14:09 GMT 22.08.2021
Anti-missile decoy flares are deployed as U.S. Black Hawk military helicopters and a dirigible balloon fly over the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
‘This is Actually Happening': US Officials Had 'Oh Sh*t' Moment Prior to Fall of Kabul
14:08 GMT 22.08.2021
British citizens and dual nationals residing in Afghanistan board a military plane for evacuation from Kabul airport, Afghanistan August 16, 2021, in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on August 17, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
UK Forces Reportedly Rescued 150 British, Afghan Civilians in Kabul Despite Objections From US
13:49 GMT 22.08.2021
13:28 GMT 22.08.2021

VIENNA (Sputnik) - Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz opposes taking in more Afghan refugees and suggests focusing on helping Afghans who remain in their home country.

"I am definitely against receiving more people now, and it will not happen under my chancellorship", Kurz told the broadcaster Puls 24 on 22 August.

13:24 GMT 22.08.2021

Ahmad Massoud, Afghan resistance leader and son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was one of the main leaders of Afghanistan's anti-Soviet resistance in the 1980s, has said he will not surrender areas under his control to the Taliban, al-Arabiya cited him as saying.

He called on the formation of a comprehensive government to rule the country with the participation of the insurgent group, warning that war will be "unavoidable" if the Taliban refuse dialogue.

Earlier, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy said on Twitter that Massoud had told him that "surrender is not part of my vocabulary".

13:22 GMT 22.08.2021
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12:44 GMT 22.08.2021

Boris Johnson noted it is vital that the international community works together to ensure safe evacuations, prevent a humanitarian crisis, and support the Afghan people.

11:46 GMT 22.08.2021
11:45 GMT 22.08.2021
This handout photo courtesy of US Marines Corps shows evacuees stage before boarding a C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
Nod to Biden? Tony Blair Slams 'Imbecilic Slogan' of 'Ending Forever Wars' by Abandoning Afghanistan
11:37 GMT 22.08.2021
A Marine assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command assists evacuees during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 20, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920
Ex-White House Spokesman Slams Biden for Putting Americans Notch 'Away From Bloodbath in Kabul'
11:35 GMT 22.08.2021

The Biden administration has activated the Civil Reserve Air Fleet in order to transport people evacuated from Afghanistan, a Pentagon spokesman has announced. The aircraft will not fly into the Afghan capital of Kabul, but will ferry the evacuees from US bases.

The Biden administration activated 18 planes, including from American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, Omni Air, Hawaiian Airlines, and United Airlines.

11:32 GMT 22.08.2021
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09:53 GMT 22.08.2021

ROME (Sputnik) - An Italian Air Force plane brought another 211 Afghan nationals out of Kabul to Rome on Sunday morning, the channel RaiNews24 reported.

In total, eight Italian aircraft are taking part in the effort to evacuate Italian citizens and Afghans who worked for Italian missions in Afghanistan as well as their families. The operation is being led by the Italian Defence Ministry.

On 21 August, the ministry said that around 1,000 Afghans had been brought to Italy in the past five days. In total, over 1,500 people have been evacuated to the country since June.

09:24 GMT 22.08.2021
09:20 GMT 22.08.2021

"America, with all its power and facilities... has failed to bring order to the airport. There is peace and calm all over the country, but there is chaos only at Kabul Airport", said Amir Khan Mutaqi, a Taliban official on 22 August.

08:56 GMT 22.08.2021
08:45 GMT 22.08.2021
08:08 GMT 22.08.2021
06:15 GMT 22.08.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Australian government has rejected the visa applications of more than 100 Afghans who helped guard the Australian Embassy in Kabul, ABC News reported on Sunday, citing the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

"Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs has considered your application. Unfortunately, you are not eligible for certification under the visa policy [the At Risk Afghan Employees Visa Scheme]", the rejection letter read.

It added that the government would, however, allocate 3,000 of its annual 13,750 humanitarian spots for Afghan nationals under Australia's Refugee and Humanitarian Programme.

The media outlet suggests that the contractors were denied visas because they were not full time staffers of the embassy.

"Particular priority will be given to persecuted minorities, women and children, and those who have links to Australia", the letter read.

06:06 GMT 22.08.2021
05:55 GMT 22.08.2021
In this photo taken on August 5, 2011, US troops from the Charlie Company, 2-87 Infantry, 3d Brigade Combat Team under Afghanistan's International Security Assistance Force patrols Kandalay village following Taliban attacks on a joint US and Afghan National Army checkpoint protecting the western area of Kandalay village. - Sputnik International, 1920
London Rejects Claims PM Johnson Angry Over US Troops' Swift Exit From Afghanistan
05:53 GMT 22.08.2021
In this photograph taken on February 23, 2015, a burqa-clad Afghan woman carries chopped logs after buying them at a firewood yard in Herat - Sputnik International, 1920
Woman in Afghanistan Reportedly Set on Fire by Taliban Fighters for 'Bad Cooking'
05:27 GMT 22.08.2021
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Cullman, Alabama, U.S., August 21, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920
Trump Says Taliban Knew He Would 'Rain Down Fire and Fury' if US Personnel or Interests Were Harmed
04:58 GMT 22.08.2021
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