Tag: Afghanistan

What Oil Politics, Taliban, Islamophobia Mean to India

news7

The media must reveal the truth and help weak states rise above a crisis, not play up divisive forces.

By Ram Puniyani

The withdrawal of the United States Army from Afghanistan has brought the Taliban to power. The scenario in Afghanistan is alarming as minorities, and others, desperately attempt to leave the country. The record of the previous Taliban rule is flashing before the world, particularly the oppression of women and imposition of their version of Sharia law. It is their demolition of the Bamiyan Buddha that tells the world what the Taliban stands for. Some hope the exit of foreign powers will change Taliban rule, but events so far make this expectation ring hollow.

Regardless of how Afghans plot their future, it is most surprising that a section of the Indian media—which many disparagingly identify as godi media—has taken to non-stop coverage of the Taliban takeover. They are toeing the ruling party’s line, spending a significant share of airtime on perceived threats to India from the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

These anchors on TV never spare a chance to criticise those who “felt the arrival of the Taliban in Afghanistan will not affect India”. The Special Cell of the Delhi Police recently arrested six suspected terrorists and alleged that they were trained in Pakistan to conduct terrorist strikes in India. Their alleged motive was to thwart the democratic process in Uttar Pradesh, where elections are due next year. The TV channels immediately caught on to this episode, claiming it connects with events in Afghanistan.

Other than attacking those critical of the ruling government, TV channels were busy for a month presenting viewers with the horrors Taliban rule entails. Their concerns may be valid, but the cheek-by-jowl coverage the Taliban is getting is out of proportion. They make it seem like the only problem Indians face is the Taliban coming to power in Afghanistan. For a large section of Indians, growing unemployment, the farmer movement, the rising atrocities against Dalits and women, and price rise are primary concerns. This narrative is absent from the media. Nor do they provide coverage to the intimidation of religious minorities in India, and even if they do, there is no attempt to be objective. Instead, this section of the media presents the religious minorities themselves as the culprits. The ‘hate Muslims’ sentiment has strengthened ever since the Taliban came to power.

The language in the media portrays the Taliban as representatives of all Muslims anywhere, as though it embodies some universally accepted Islamic values. The aim is to cast a deep shadow on Indian Muslims, increasing their alienation and marginalisation. The 2016 report, What Muslims Want, the most extensive research of British Muslims ever conducted, found that nine of ten British Muslims reject terrorism outright.” However, this powerful section of the media is unconcerned with the politics behind the Taliban’s coming to power. It does not bother to introspect why countries with large Muslim populations, such as Indonesia, do not have similar politics.

If the mainstream media correlates fundamentalist Islam represented by the Taliban or Al-Qaeda, and the politics of the last five decades in the oil-rich parts of the world, it would give away the truth. However, that would not suit the sectarian politics in India, and it would challenge the economic and political interests of corporates who control this media.

Fact is, western imperialism is out to control and plunder the resources of the world. In the last few decades after the colonial era ended, the United States and its cohort sought to control oil resources and markets worldwide. In a way, the people of West and Central Asia, rich in oil and other natural resources, suffer due to their wealth. America funded youth training in the retrograde version of Islam in Af-Pak, leading to the mujahideen and the Taliban. During the Cold War, it perpetrated imperialist designs in the name of a ‘free world’, which meant opposing communism. The Soviet Union supported several national liberation struggles, which the United States did not want. The war in Vietnam is the best example of how America pursued its anti-communist agenda through waging wars far from its borders.

After the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the United States intensified its support to local fundamentalist groups. The Saudi regime helped train the youth, though mostly America supported the Mujaheddin, the Taliban, and even Al-Qaeda. The syllabus was prepared in Washington, America funded it, and youngsters got lured into fundamentalist schools where it was taught. It was a close collaboration between the CIA and the ISI of Pakistan, which indoctrinated the youth and gave them sophisticated weapons.

Their goal was to ally with the Afghan forces to defeat the USSR. Recall the 1985 visit of hardcore Islamists to the White House, where Ronald Regan hosted them. He brought them to the Oval Office and said, “These gentlemen are the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers.” Let us be blunt: The CIA’s machinations created the world’s deadliest terrorists. To cut a long story short, Hillary Clinton, when she was US Secretary of State, accepted in an interview that America “funded Taliban and Al Qaida”.

West Asia is a victim of the oil and wealth lust of American imperialism. The majority of the victims of Islamist terrorists were Muslims. Pakistan lost close to 70,000 people due to terror strikes, including a former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, to such an attack. Still, the American media coined the phrase ‘Islamic terrorism’ after the 9/11 attack, as if events unfolding in Afghanistan or Iraq or Egypt were unconnected with recent American history. The global media picked up the phrase uncritically. In India, the Muslim community saw a further dip in its social and economic capital. An outcome of American policies was that they added to the discrimination of this community around the world.

It is the responsibility of the media to unravel the truth, no matter how complex. Of course, there are excellent books on the topic, only if members of the godi media care to read them! Their task is to help a weak state rise above its crisis, not to play into the hands of divisive forces.

The author is a social activist and commentator. The views are personal.

Source- newsclick.in, 24 September 2021

REVIEW: Turning Point – 9/11 And The War On Terror, English (Netflix) – Ground Zero to Kabul International Airport

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Source- Netflix

 

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 3 September 2021: 9/11 – Released by Netflix just a few days before the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the five episodes of Session 1, chronicle the chain of events through twenty years encompassing America’s ‘War on terror’ declared by President Bush after the 9/11 attacks and ending with the withdrawal of US and allied forces from Afghanistan on 31st August 2021, after the swift Taliban power grab in Kabul on 15 August 2021.

The around one hour each episode namely The System Was Blinking Red, A Place of Danger, The Dark Side, The Good War, and The Graveyard of Empires will keep you engaged as never before. You already know many of the incidents, but their minute details and direct connection to the Taliban’s back in power after being ousted by US forces in 2001, is a gripping tale which this series details. Obviously, like a history book, this series has its own selection of material. There is rare footage and details. Not many of us know President Bush was authorized by Congress by 420 to 1 to invade Afghanistan. The one lady who voted no, parts of her speech are there which seem to be prophetic.

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Source- Netflix

It’s chilling from the very start. The 9/11 attacks on American soil and President Bush is informed while he is visiting a school. The subsequent chaos and the decision to invade Afghanistan followed by the collapse of the Taliban regime there, the roots of Al Quida and Osama bin Laden and the fight of the US-backed Islamist Muhaiddin through Pakistan against the Soviet’s forms the background of subsequent episodes. The Soviets left in 1989.
The ensuing civil war between Islamist Mujahideen factions after the fall of the pro-Soviet leftist Najibullah regime saw the consolidation of the Taliban as they moved into Kabul to capture power. The determination to remove the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul by supporting Islamist factions is seen by many as deepening the roots of the Taliban in the country.

The unfolding human tragedy of 9/11 killing 3,000 people is reflected by interviews with traumatized survivors and footage of the New York attacks. The agony, shock, and disbelief are visible. The series tells us a lot. Intelligence gaps that helped the hijackers, surveillance, enhanced interrogation, Islamophobia, the Afghan and Iraq wars, etc. are honestly described.

Interviews with Mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar reveal the extent of US involvement in Afghanistan’s anti-Soviet war. How the use of US-made Stringer missiles changed the course of the war is revealing. How some operations antagonized common people. And, how later the two pro-US regimes in Kabul were corrupt leading the people supporting the Taliban, speak for themselves.

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Source-Netflix

In fact, it’s no easy task to sum up (as in this series also) the spate of events over twenty years. There are facts missing and gaps in the five episodes. Also, many related documents that could be relevant sources remain classified. President Trump signed the agreement with the Taliban to withdraw the US forces, ignoring the Hamid Karzai government and other regional players, leaving the actual withdrawal under President Biden’s Presidency.

Director Brian Knappenberger’s dossier of the 20 years (starting with the 9/11 attacks) of US-led Western involvement in Afghanistan till 31 August 2021, no doubt, looks honest and critical. After two decades the Taliban is back in power, the very force which the US ousted. A closure of this ongoing saga is yet to happen.

” 9/11 was the most transformative historical moment of my life. It changed nearly everything I thought about my country – about who we were, how we interacted with the world and what we meant to people beyond our borders. Within the United States it changed how it felt to be an American, it changed our societal architecture, the way we got on airplanes, challenged our civil liberties, transformed our police departments, and eroded trust in our institutions and media. It was the beginning of modern history.

Back then, standing in the dusty rubble of broken mud brick, it seemed clear that rebuilding Afghanistan would be challenging. But on that day, nobody could’ve anticipated that the war would go on for 20 years, or that it would end with the Taliban again seizing control of Afghanistan. Now, as US troops are leaving on the 20th anniversary, this is the moment to take a deep breath, step back and ask in the most honest possible way; how did that day change us?”, says Brian Knappenberger in a statement.

Episodes Descriptions

Episode 1: The System Was Blinking Red

On September 11, 2001, hijackers crashed a plane into the World Trade Center’s North Tower. When a second plane crashed into the South Tower over an hour later, it was clear it was a terrorist attack. Who attacked the U.S. and why? Guided by commentary from former FBI and military officials, as well as survivors, episode one highlights the roots leading to the attack — from the 1979 Cold War invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union when the CIA provided arms and support for the Afghan mujahideen fighters, to the emergence of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda as they declared jihad against the U.S. ten years later. Following the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, terrorist attacks against U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, and the U.S. naval ship Cole in 2000 — U.S. intelligence agencies were awash in red alert chatter about an impending attack.

Episode 2: A Place of Danger

Shortly after the second World Trade Center hit on 9/11, a third hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Passengers on the fourth plane, United 93, thwarted that attack by forcing the plane down in Pennsylvania. With thousands of U.S. civilians killed, including over 400 first responders, President George W. Bush and his administration immediately began planning a military response. Featuring never before seen commentary from White House Counsel for Pres. Bush, Alberto Gonzalez; Ret. US Army General, David Petraeus; Chief of Staff for Pres. Bush, Andrew Card; U.S. Rep Barbara Lee; Taliban spokesperson, Suhail Shaheen; and Afghan politician, Fawzia Koofi — the episode highlights how Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force almost unanimously. The U.S. military invaded Afghanistan with the aim of defeating the ultra-fundamentalist Taliban regime that had given Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda safe harbor.

Episode 3: The Dark Side

The U.S. military set up a detention center in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where the prisoners were called “detainees” and brought to trial by military commissions without the protections of the Constitution or the Geneva Conventions. This included “enhanced interrogation techniques,” i.e. torture, to elicit information from the prisoners. White House Counsel for Pres. Bush, Alberto Gonzalez; former director of the Criminal Investigative Task Force at Guantanamo Detention Camp, Mark Fallon; New York Times journalist, Carol Rosenberg; and, Director of the ACLU National Security Project, Hina Shamsi offer further insight into the conditions at Guantanamo Bay and the National Security Agency’s extensive and warrantless wiretaps of civilian cell phone metadata — activities that violated the Fourth Amendment.

Episode 4: The Good War

The Bush administration instigated a military invasion of Iraq in 2003 based on lies about Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were over in May 2003 — they were wrong. Former FBI Special Agent, Ali Soufan; former U.S. Army Captain, Brittany Ramos Debarros; former Vice President of Afghanistan, Ahmad Zia Massoud; and, former Mujahideen leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar shed light on the continued violence; rampant corruption and re-emergence of the Taliban in Afghanistan; and, the promise of President Obama in 2008 to end the “bad war” in Iraq and get the “good war” in Afghanistan right.

Episode 5: The Graveyard of Empires

President Obama ordered Guantanamo to be shut down in 2009, though it remains open today. In this final episode, Ret. General, David Petraeus; Washington Post investigative journalist, Craig Whitlock; Washington Post former war correspondent, Rajiv Chandresekaran; Pakistani politician, Hini Rabbani Khar; and, Afghan drone strike victims illustrate how the U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan pivoted towards supporting the Afghan army; how a covert CIA-run operation took out Bin Laden in Pakistan; and how the U.S. continued a campaign of drone strikes against alleged terrorist targets in Afghanistan, killing numerous civilians and inspiring more followers to embrace terrorism. Declaring that he would halt the Afghanistan mess in 2020, President Trump endorsed a deal that surrendered to Taliban demands without receiving concessions in return. And, just weeks after US troops leave the country, the Afghan government collapses and the Taliban are once again in control.

KEY INFORMATION:

Released: September 1, 2021
Format: 5 x 60-minute episodes
Director: Brian Knappenberger
Executive Producers: Brian Knappenberger, Eve Marson, Lowell Bergman
Co-Executive Producer: Mohammed Ali Naqvi

515,000 newly displaced Afghans could flee across neighbouring countries: UNHCR

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Photo-UNHCR

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 28 August 2021: The human tragedy in Afghanistan is deteriorating further with 515,000 newly displaced refugees likely to cross into neighboring countries.

“Even prior to the events of August 2021, this year had seen the highest number of conflict-related casualties on record. In recent months, there has been a further striking decline in the security and human rights situation in large parts of the country. It is estimated that since the beginning of 2021 over 558,000 Afghans have been internally displaced by the armed conflict within the country (as of 23 August), ” says the UNHCR’s “Afghanistan Situation Regional Refugee Preparedness and Response Plan Summary & Inter-agency Funding Requirements July-December 2021″.

The new arrivals will join over 2.2 million registered refugees from previous waves of violence and a further 3 million Afghans including many undocumented persons hosted by Iran and Pakistan for the last 40 years.

The current Afghan refugee population in Iran is 780,000, Pakistan 1,448,100, Tajikistan 10,700, a few in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, the UNHCR says.

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Map- UNHCR

The UNHCR has said, ” As the situation in Afghanistan remains highly uncertain, UNHCR and Partners call on all countries to allow Afghans fleeing their country access to their territories and access to asylum procedures and to respect the principle of non-refoulment. It is imperative that this human right is not compromised, that borders are kept open, and that people in need of international protection are afforded asylum.”

” The RRP inter-agency Partners are appealing for $299.2 million to cover the emergency preparedness and response for new arrivals of Afghan refugees (in the worst-case scenario), as well as the relevant and critically underfunded protection and multisectoral assistance programmes for those in protracted situations, from July to December 2021,” the UNHCR said.

SAT SPECIAL: Why none is recalling national reconciliation floated by Afghan leader Najib in 1987?

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By Rajiv Shah*

The return of the Taliban in Afghanistan has taken me down the memory lane to my Soviet days, when I was a special correspondent of the daily “Patriot” and the weekly “Link”, both semi-Left papers, in Moscow. I landed in the Soviet capital on January 23, 1986. Mikhail Gorbachev was already in command of the Soviet Communist Party after the 27th Congress – the first major event which I covered in Moscow. Already words like perestroika and glasnost were in the air, with ideas floating around that these would be applied to the foreign policy as well.

A year passed by, and I got an invitation from the Soviet information department to visit Afghanistan. I was keen, as I had already found that Gorbachev wanted Soviet troops, stationed there since 1979, to withdraw. He seemed confident that under the new Afghan regime under Najib (who later renamed himself as Najibullah), the country would implement what was called a “national reconciliation” plan by “uniting” opposing forces. Najib had announced a unilateral ceasefire in order to bring his reconciliation plan a success, and even declared, not a single Soviet soldier would remain on Afghan soil.
What particularly sounds intriguing today is, nobody talks about the “national reconciliation” plan floated by Najib, whom I met in Kabul at the end of my about week-long trip to Afghanistan as part of a foreign journalists’ group taken in a chartered plan to see for ourselves how it had begun to become operative.

The Taliban, it is being reported now, are “different” from what they were when they took over two decades ago, extreme bigots, and are also seeking reconciliation with their opponents. But compared with what Najib did, with Gorbachev help, this appears to be next to nothing.

I extensively reported about Najib’s national reconciliation, which wouldn’t have been possible without the avid support of Gorbachev. Following the overthrow of Gorbachev and dissolution of the Soviet Union, Najib lost all support. As Mujahideen took over, he resigned in 1992, and was publicly hung in Kabul by the Taliban in UN premises, where he lived, in September 1996.

It was an extremely wintry day in early January 1987. It was minus 28 degrees centigrade Moscow, perhaps worse. I got a phone call from the Afghan embassy to get my passport stamped if I wanted to go to Kabul. Packed with all the necessary clothing, I went out, took the trolley bus just outside my residence at Ulitsa Chkalova. Freezing in the bus, I got out, went into the nearest metro station, Taganskaya, sat there for a while to warm myself up, and returned to my home, walking. It wasn’t very far.

The next day it was minus 15, better, and though very windy, intolerably windy, I decided to take the trolley bus to reach the Afghan embassy, braving the icy particles smashing on my face. I got my passport stamped with an Afghan visa. Organized by the Soviet information department, a planeload of foreign journalists were flown to Kabul, if I remember the date correctly, on January 14, 1987.

All Moscow-based top newspaper and TV journalists, whether from the US, Britain, or Japan, but very few from the third world countries, were taken to Kabul. I was the only one from India. There was a journalist from Pakistan, too. The plane, an Aeroflot, hovered around on the airport, and after taking a few circles, up in the air, landed at the airport.
Journalists suspected this was because the authorities at the airport wanted to make sure that the rebel forces – called Mujahideen – did not strike at the plane, perhaps equipped as they were with US-made ground-to-air missiles. Taken to the hotel – I don’t remember the name – in a bus, which had an educated English-speaking guide, the next day, during breakfast, I was asked by a Japanese correspondent whether I heard or saw or heard Mujahideen firings at night. I hadn’t.
For the next three days, we were taken to different spots in Kabul, including the market and the mosque areas, to see for ourselves how life had returned to normal. Press conferences organised to tell us that the Mujahideen were lying low and were losing ground, and the government under Najib was in negotiation with different political forces in the country to bring about reconciliation, which would ultimately lead to the withdrawal of Soviet forces.

Still glued to my Communist past, I seemed impressed. I interviewed anyone who knew some bit of English or Hindustani/Urdu. Bollywood films were very popular, and most people could speak in a highly Pushto-ised Hindustani. On the third day we were taken in an Afghan military plane to Jalalabad, the next major Afghan city, where we were shown different spots to see how things had been turning normal and there was no Mujahideen threat.

The market in Jalalabad, interestingly, had textile shops run by Sikhs, and I got interested in talking to them. They knew no Hindi, and only spoke in Punjabi. Talking with several of them, I could gather from them that they were happy that a national reconciliation plan would be in place and things might return to normal.

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Rajiv Shah interviewing Najib on January 18, 1987, in Kabul.

Taken in a bus from Jalalabad to attend a couple of or three meetings of tribesmen, who we were were free to move around between Afghanistan and Pakistan, I found a large contingent of Soviet tanks lined up with Afghan soldiers atop.
Returning from the borders with Pakistan, one could hardly see any any Soviet soldiers, except at the Jalalabad airport. Not that Soviet soldiers weren’t there: Unarmed, I could see them bargaining at Jalalabad bazaar for some titbits. They seemed to give the impression that they wanted to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Back to Kabul on the same day evening, again in an Afghan military plane, we had a press conference with President Najib. I applied for a separate interview with Najib. A day before we were to depart from Kabul, I was taken to meet him. He spoke in Hindustani with a Pushto accent, shook hands, and hugged me rather tight. Lean and thin, I felt very frail. I asked him a few questions, especially how he saw national reconciliation, whether it was similar to Bulgarian leader Georgi Dimitrov’s United Front, meant to combine forces to fight fascists in the late 1940s.

“The highly educated, Najib was Gorbachev favorite, why he was installed Afghan president despite opposition from within Soviet Communist Party”

Najib told me it wasn’t the same, but asked me to give him a list of questions, answers to which he would post to me to Moscow. At the airport, I was approached by an Afghan official to hand me over my photograph with Najib and assure me I would soon get answers to my questions. I didn’t file any story while in Kabul, so but back home, I filed three stories – all of which were taken on the edit page, (one of them I have still preserved), apart from an exclusive interview with Najib.

What I observed in Kabul and Jalalabad was interesting: Though Najib told me that his national reconciliation plan wasn’t easy enough, as it meant uniting different political forces, including the two factions of the Left-wing People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), Khalq and Parcham, which had alternatively ruled the country and were at loggerheads, and interaction with a cross-section, including traders, workers, tribesmen, government officials and PDPA cadres in Kabul and Jalalabad revealed that it did held out hope.

Wasim Siddiq, a party cadre in his mid-1930s who had lost two of his relatives during the violent past, told me, “We are all tired of this war. We want peace. Both we and those who are in the opposition camp.” According to him, people had become politically more conscious, even illiterate peasants would listen to radio stations – Kabul, Moscow, Islamabad, BBC, Voice of America. They wanted to be better informed, looked forward to the days when large number of refugees – about 1.5 million – who had fled to Pakistan would return to Afghanistan.

In Kabul, I was told by head of the Afghan chamber of commerce – whom I met in the hotel I was staying – how under Najib business could flourish if his offer for peace was successful. A similar sentiment appeared to prevail in Jalalabad, where a cloth merchant told me, people wanted peace, wanted to utilise the opportunities offered by the government to develop trade and business. At a jirgah near Jalalabad, the tribesmen spoke loudly that “enough blood” had been shed, hence they wanted peace so that they could move around freely between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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Afghan rebels (left) at a press meet with Defence Minister.

Even as I was in Kabul, sections of Afghan opposition that were at war with the then Afghan government seemed keen to give up arms. Officials told me, about 2,000 armed men surrendered their weapons on January 18 and signed a peace protocol in Herat province, and this had become a “regular feature” in Afghanistan. One Ishhan Bahbah of the Baghban province and three other rebel leaders, Mohammad Ahmed Yaqubi, Nasiruddin Amin and Nizamuddin Wahdad, addressed a press conference. Wahdad, we were told, had returned from Pakistan, from where he was fighting.

No doubt, Najib faced a Herculean task: The armed rebels were an estimated 70,000 strong, but what I failed to understand as to why was the US supporting the Mujahideen, who were bigots of the worst type. There was enough reason to give Najib a chance. Indeed, Najib’s reconciliation plan was strongly progressive in a feudal-tribal setup.
It consisted of mutually acceptable dialogue and rational compromise, a multi-party system, membership to ‘any patriot’ in the National Front mass organization, accommodation, and land, education for children, employment in their previous places of work, including to servicemen, pardon to army officers who had deserted and prisoners, except those who involved in criminal cases, tax exemption and loan from agricultural development bank on easy terms, etc.
Himself highly educated, after studying at the Habibia High School in Kabul, Najib, who was a Gorbachev favorite, one reason why he was installed as Afghan president despite opposition from within the Soviet Communist Party, went to St Joseph’s School in Baramulla, Jammu and Kashmir. At Kabul University he completed Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degrees in 1975, though soon thereafter he joined politics.

* Rajiv Shah was a Special Correspondent of ‘Patriot’ daily and ‘Link’ weekly published from New Delhi, India in the 80s. Later he was with the Times of India in Gujarat.

Source- counterview.net, August 27, 2021.

ISIL-K claims 2 expositions at Kabul airport killing 60 including 12 US service members; Biden vows to hunt down perpetrators

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Photo- TOLO News

By SAT News Desk (Melbourne) & ANI in Kabul (Afghanistan)

August 27, 2021: The ISIL-K has claimed to be behind the two explosions at the Kabul Airport killing 60 people including 12 US service members, and many were also injured, the Taliban said. US President Joe Biden has said ” we will hunt you down and make you pay. The mission will be completed and we will continue the evacuation.”

” America will not be intimidated”, he said.

“Several explosions were heard in Kabul in the evening. The blasts were carried out against US forces inside Kabul airport to destroy their belongings, the Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a tweet. At least seven explosions were heard in Kabul city, hours after the twin suicide bombings outside the airport, that killed over 60 people, including US troops.

“A huge & shocking explosion, waves shake #Kabul 6th explosion. And another 7the explosion while I’m writing this. Two explosions,” an Afghanistan media outlet reported.
Four US Marines are among the 35 people who were reportedly killed in twin bomb blasts outside Kabul airport on Thursday. The first blast was reported at the Abbey Gate in Kabul airport while the second one was near the Baron Hotel.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby confirmed the development saying that “a number of US service members” were killed in today’s complex attack at Kabul airport.
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the terror attack near Hamid Karzai International Airport and expressed his support for the victims of the blast.

Australia has suspended its rescue mission from Kabul, ABC reports.