Afghanistan: UN committees urge Taliban to honour promises to protect women, girls
Two UN Committees on Monday (local time) called on the Taliban to honour their pledge to protect Afghan women and girls, and to respect their human rights.
"The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) call on the Taliban to honour their pledge to protect Afghan women and girls, and to respect and fulfil the human rights enshrined in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child," Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights) said in a statement.
As the planned withdrawal of US troops is due to be completed within hours, the Committees urged the Taliban and all other parties to take measures to protect the lives and respect the human rights of women and children, the statement added.
The Committees expressed concern by the reports of targeted attacks on women and girls who have contributed to the country's development over the past 20 years. "These women should be praised for their important roles and contributions to economic, political and social development in Afghanistan, rather than being subjected to assaults," the UN committees added.
Pakistan's borders are secured, prepared to meet 'any' challenge: Gen Bajwa
Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday assured lawmakers that the country's borders are secured and his forces are prepared to meet "any" situation, amid the evolving situation in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Briefing members of parliamentary committees on internal and external security, including Kashmir, at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, Gen Bajwa also highlighted the importance of restoration of peace in war-torn Afghanistan for sustainable development of the region.
"Due to our timely steps for western zone border management, today despite challenges Pakistan's borders are secure and we are prepared to meet any situation," Gen Bajwa was quoted as saying by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the army.
The delegation comprising members of the Parliamentary Kashmir Committee, Defence Committees of the Senate and National Assembly was given detailed briefing on the security environment, including the situation on the borders and army efforts for peace and stability. The delegation also had an exhaustive interactive session with General Bajwa.
Pentagon says threat to Kabul airport 'real and active'
Pentagon on Monday informed that threat of another terror attack targeting the Kabul airport is still "real" and "active."
"The threat stream is still real, it's still active and, in many cases, it's still specific," Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a presser. "We are operating under the assumption that we need to be prepared for future potential threats," he added said. Ahead of the August 31 deadline to withdraw foreign troops, the US is continuing with its last bid efforts to evacuate people from Afghanistan.
The United States and coalition forces evacuated 1,200 people from Afghanistan over the past 24 hours, a White House official said on Monday. The total number since the end of July is approximately 122,300 people.
Speaking at the same presser, US Army Major General William "Hank" Taylor said military operations in Afghanistan continue, with our primary focus on the safety and security of troops who remain in Kabul.
Nepal rescues 828 of its nationals from Afghanistan
The Nepal government on Monday said it has evacuated 828 of its citizens from Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the war-torn country last month. Since Sunday, 50 Nepalese nationals have arrived from Afghanistan in Kathmandu -- 45 people on a Turkish Air flight on Monday and five on a Fly Dubai flight on Sunday, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Chaos has enveloped Kabul after the Afghanistan government collapsed and the Taliban seized control on August 14.
The Taliban insurgents stormed across the country, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, two weeks before the US was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war.
Afghanistan not to join talks on INSTC, Chabahar port
Afghanistan will not be able to join the meeting proposed by India, Iran, and Uzbekistan on the use of Iran's Chabahar port in absence of any recognised or elected government there, sources said on Monday, IANS reported.
The new grouping's meeting was due this month but has been delayed due to the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan, and is now scheduled to take place later this year.
These three nations had, in July, invited Afghanistan to form a Quad to discuss the India-sponsored International North South Transit Corridor (INSTC) project and the joint use of Chabahar port and the then Ashraf Ghani government agreed to join the meeting.
Pak says world must brace for 'huge mess' if its advice on Afghanistan ignored
Pakistan on Monday warned of potential spillovers from the Afghan crisis, saying the world would have to deal with a "huge mess" if its advice on the war-torn country was ignored, PTI reported.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the world must listen to Pakistan as "in the recent past, Pakistan's advice had not been paid heed to, and if Pakistan and the prime minister's advice was listened to, the situation would have been different."
In an interview with TRT World, which was published by Dawn, the minister said the situation in Afghanistan was "very worrying for Pakistan, recalling that we had to deal with the problems when the Soviet Union left Afghanistan in 1988.
Female TV anchor who interviewed first Taliban spokesman has left Afghanistan
Afghan TV anchor, Beheshta Arghand, who made history by interviewing a Taliban spokesman on air has left the country, IANS reported.
CNN reported that Arghand, a female anchor at TOLO, an Afghan news network, interviewed a senior Taliban representative on the air. The interview garnered headlines around the world.
Two days later, Arghand did it again, interviewing Malala Yousafzai, the activist who survived a Taliban assassination attempt, in what TOLO described as the first time Yousafzai had ever been interviewed on Afghan TV.
Since Aug 14, US evacuated 116,700 people from Kabul, says WH
The Islamic State group's affiliate in has claimed responsibility for Monday's rocket attack in Kabul, saying it fired at least six Katyusha rockets at the airport in the Afghan capital.
The rockets stuck a neighbourhood close to the Kabul airport. The claim of responsibility was carried by the militant group's media arm, the Aamaq news agency. It didn't provide further details.
The U.S. military said five rockets targeted the airport on Monday morning and that U.S. forces on the airfield used a defensive system to intercept them.
The attack did not halt the steady stream of U.S. military C-17 cargo jets taking off and landing at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
It was the latest attack by the militants. The Islamic State group launched a devastating suicide bombing Thursday at one of the airport gates that killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members.
Taliban hunt for woman scribe who opposed the terrorist group
Saira Saleem, a women's rights activist and journalist who earlier raised her voice against the oppression of the Taliban informed that the terrorist group's members are searching for her, ANI reported.
Saleem also informed that six Taliban members came to her home four nights ago, knocking gruffly on the door. As she hid beneath her bed, the fighters questioned her father on her whereabouts. He told them his daughter was not home, New York Post reported.
"They stood in front of our house with the Taliban flag in the car and asked questions about whether I was in fear of losing my life," She said.
Taliban must fulfill its commitments: US
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that Washington expects that the Taliban must 'follow through' on its commitments, ANI reported.
These developments came after the Taliban previously made clear that "they would like to see an American diplomatic presence remain in Kabul," Pakistan Today reported citing Ned Price.
"We have heard a range of statements from the Taliban. Some of them have been positive, some of them have been constructive but ultimately what we will be looking for, what our international partners will be looking for are deeds, not words," Price added.
Indian Air Force C-17, C-130J aircraft back from Afghan evacuation operations
After helping in the evacuation of more than 500 Indians from Afghanistan, Indian Air Force (IAF) transport aircraft have returned to their respective home bases in the country, ANI reported.
The Indian Air Force had deployed its C-17 Globemasters and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft for evacuation operations of Indians stuck in Afghanistan, which is now under the reins of the Taliban.
"The C-17 and C-130J aircraft have returned to their respective bases after deployment in Tajikistan and Afghanistan for people stuck in Kabul and other cities of the war-torn country," sources told ANI.
Sri Lanka seeks safety of travellers from Afghanistan
Sri Lanka on Monday hoped that all those who possess travel authorisation from other countries would be allowed to proceed in a safe and orderly manner to the points of departure and travel out of Afghanistan, PTI reported.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said that it continues to monitor the developments in the war-torn country and remains concerned about the situation, including its humanitarian aspect.
Sri Lanka hopes that all those who possess travel authorisation from other countries will be allowed to proceed in a safe and orderly manner to the points of departure and travel out of Afghanistan," the ministry said.
Afghanistan's scientists fear loss of funding, research
The withdrawal of US forces and return of the Taliban in Afghanistan has stoked much fear and dejection among research scientists who predict huge losses not only in terms of funding but also of science, IANS reported.
During their reign from 1996-2001, the fundamentalist group brutally enforced a conservative version of Islamic Sharia law, characterised by women's-rights violations and suppression of freedom of expression, Nature reported.
But after they were overthrown in 2001 by a US-led coalition and a new government elected in 2004, international funding including from the World Bank, the US Agency for International Development and other organisations poured into Afghanistan and universities thrived.