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State Department spokesman Ned Price said during a news briefing that U.S. officials have processed 6,000 people at Kabul’s airport and that the Defense Department expects to take off 20 times Thursday.  

McEnany rips Psaki for not holding daily briefings during Afghanistan crisis

“Jen Psaki promised us a daily White House press briefing,” “Outnumbered” co-host Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday. “There isn’t one today. There wasn’t one Monday. When the going gets tough, the daily press briefing that she promised goes out the window.” 

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More evacuation flights coming?

U.S. airlines and other aircraft operators will be allowed to make evacuation flights out of Kabul if they get permission in advance from the Pentagon, the Associated Press is reporting. 

“Due to a lack of high altitude air traffic control services, U.S. operators and pilots must receive authorization from the FAA to overfly Afghanistan,” the Federal Aviation Administration reportedly said in a statement on Thursday. “Any U.S. or foreign operator flying into Hamid Karzai International Airport must obtain prior permission from the U.S. Department of Defense.” 

U.S. fighter jets fly over Kabul to secure evacuations

The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. has been conducting armed “overwatch” flights over Kabul in the last 24 hours as an “added layer of force” to ensure the security of the U.S. mission to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from the country after the Taliban takeover. 

Department of Defense officials denied that the flights were a “show of force” or a prelude to airstrikes on Kabul. 

Army Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor on Thursday said Pentagon officials “continue to recognize the inherent danger of operating in this environment,” maintaining, though, that U.S. troops are remaining “agile, professional, and are postured to continue the mission, and to respond if required.”  

“We will use all of the tools in our arsenal to achieve this goal,” Taylor said, adding that the U.S. is “absolutely focused on this mission of national importance” and is “committed to the safe evacuation of as many people as quickly and as safely as possible.”  

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Pentagon asked why British troops leaving Kabul airport to rescue citizens but Americans aren’t

The Pentagon was pressed Thursday to explain why the U.S. isn’t rescuing Americans outside of the Kabul airport as the British are doing for their citizens.  

At a press briefing, Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin said: “General Taylor, British paratroopers are leaving the airport, going into Kabul to rescue and evacuate some of their citizens who are trapped [and] can’t get to the airport because of the Taliban.” 

“Why isn’t the U.S. doing that?” she asked. Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor, who serves as deputy director of the Joint Staff Regional Operations, replied that the U.S.’ focus was on securing Hamid Karzai International Airport. 

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Push to bring in Afghan refugees sees support, little opposition from GOP lawmakers

The push by the Biden administration to bring tens of thousands of Afghan refugees into the U.S. is so far seeing support from many Republican lawmakers, with only a handful objecting to the move in response to the collapse of Afghanistan to the Taliban.

The Pentagon has said it intends to transfer 22,000 Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders to the United States, where they will be housed at three military bases.

However, officials have acknowledged that that number could rise, and there are calls for that number to be increased dramatically.

“If we have to go more, higher than that, we will certainly do that,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said this week, referring to not only SIV applicants from Afghanistan but also their families. “We’re committed to their families as well.” 

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Virginia Tech student details horrors Afghan family experiencing after Taliban takeover

A college student at Virginia Tech whose parents emigrated from Afghanistan is detailing the horrors her relatives are experiencing with the Taliban in control of the country.  

“The night after the Taliban took over, I wake up – it’s another day here in America. I look at my phone and I have a missed call and a couple messages from a cousin in Afghanistan,” Mariam Farzayee, president of the Afghan Student Association at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, told Fox News. “He’s begging me for help to get him out, he says, ‘Is there any way you can sponsor me to leave? Is there any way you can help me get into another country?’”  

“He was talking to me about he’s terrified for his own life and he feels so helpless and doesn’t know what he can really do from there,” Farzayee said, detailing the photos and videos she received showing how Taliban fighters were outside her cousin’s building. “He said the night before, the Taliban had come to his house and they broke a ton of windows in his neighborhood and they also broke the windows in his cars. He said all he could do was shelter in place because there’s really nothing he can do.” 

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Woman held hostage by Taliban in 2001 warns of ‘dire’ situation in Afghanistan

An American who was captured by the Taliban in 2001 said on “Fox & Friends” Thursday that the situation in Afghanistan is “dire” for those trying to flee the Taliban.

Heather Mercer was arrested and tried under Islamic law for her work with women and children in Afghanistan. She worked primarily with widows and orphans, creating work opportunities for women and helping children develop critical job skills and had cultivated relationships with Afghan families.

She is now working to get an Afghan family out of the country as the Taliban is taking control.

The family, a mother and her six children, are all U.S. citizens and green card holders, but they’re unable to access the airport to leave Afghanistan.

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Update on American evacuation efforts

The number of American troops now on the ground in Kabul has reached 5,200 Thursday as 13 Air Force C-17 planes have evacuated 2,000 passengers over the past 24 hours, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor says. 

Taylor adds that at this time, the “main mission” in Afghanistan is to secure Kabul’s airport and “allow those American citizens and other civilians to come in and be processed at the airfield.”  

Pentagon spokesperson not sure how many Americans remain in Afghanistan

Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby, when asked during a news conference Thursday about how many Americans remain trapped in Afghanistan, said “I don’t know”. 

Taliban fire at Afghans celebrating Independence Day, videos show


Chaos is erupting across Afghanistan Thursday as Taliban fighters have been caught on video opening fire on crowds waving Afghan flags and celebrating the country’s Independence Day. 

In one of the demonstrations in the eastern city of Asadabad, several people were killed, reports say. A witness told Reuters that “hundreds of people” came out onto the streets but then several died after the Taliban started shooting at the crowd, triggering a stampede.

However, it was not immediately clear which event caused the deaths. 

Footage from the area obtained by Fox News shows cyclists and a car racing through the streets of Asadabad while bearing the Afghanistan tri-color flag. In the background, gunshots could be heard. 

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Biden: ‘No one’s being killed’ in Afghanistan, can’t ‘recall’ staff telling him to delay withdrawal

President Biden in an interview with ABC that aired Thursday said “no one’s being killed” in Afghanistan despite reports of at least seven deaths amid the chaos at Kabul’s airport and of Taliban beating people on their way to the airport, as he defended his handling of the American withdrawal from the country.  

Biden further told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that none of his advisers told him America should stay in Afghanistan, and that intelligence did not indicate the Afghan government would quickly collapse – despite reports that’s exactly what the intelligence said.  

And the president said his advisers did not tell him to delay the troop withdrawal, despite reports that’s exactly what his advisers did. 

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Taliban captures Afghanistan female governor, report says

Taliban fighters have taken Salima Mazari — who is one of the only three female governors in Afghanistan — into their custody, the Times of India is reporting, citing local media. 

The newspaper described the governor of the Chahar Kint district in Balkh province as a critic of the militant group. “In the provinces controlled by the Taliban, no women exist there anymore, not even in the cities.

They are all imprisoned in their homes,” she was quoted by the newspaper as saying before the Taliban swept through the country. 

Former Army Rangers blast Biden for Afghanistan ‘dumpster fire’

Two former U.S. Army rangers who served in Afghanistan are blasting President Biden for having “no plan” for withdrawing from the country and then blaming others for the “dumpster fire” that ensued. 

Dan Blakeley and Tom Amenta, who recently came out with a photo journal dedicated to veterans titled “The Twenty Year War,” spoke to Fox News on Wednesday about what went wrong with the exit from Afghanistan. 

“They should have had a plan, because they clearly didn’t,” said Amenta. He went on to cite the administration’s message to Americans in Afghanistan outside Kabul earlier this week that instructed them to get to Kabul but let them know that no one would be coming to help. 

“This administration did not [have a] plan and does not have one,” he said. 

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Taliban reportedly kills protesters waving Afghanistan flags

Several people reportedly have been killed Thursday during a rally against the Taliban in the eastern Afghanistan city of Asadabad. 

Witness Mohammed Salim told Reuters that “hundreds of people” came out onto the streets and “at first I was scared and didn’t want to go but when I saw one of my neighbors joined in I took out the flag I have at home.”

But then several demonstrators died after the Taliban opened fire on the crowd, triggering a stampede, Salim said.

However, it was not immediately clear which event caused the deaths.  

In a video posted on social media, a group of men and women holding Afghanistan flags in Kabul were seen shouting “our flag, our identity,” Reuters adds. 

Reports also have emerged of white Taliban flags being torn down by Afghans. 

“Salute those who carry the national flag and thus stand for the dignity of the nation and the country,” First Vice President Amrullah Saleh posted on Twitter. 

Afghanistan ‘devastated’ by Taliban takeover, says US-based nephew of exiled leader

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has left much of the country ‘devastated,’ says the 27-year-old nephew of Ashraf Ghani, the county’s exiled president. 

Amel Ghani is a graduate of American University and living in Washington, D.C., according to FOX35 Orlando, which recently interviewed him. 

Since the fall of Kabul last week, the country has been in “complete chaos,” the nephew said. The fallout has even reached him, in the capital city of the U.S., he claimed.

 “I am not just receiving questions, I am receiving threats on my family’s lives, among other things,” he told the station. 

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Biden says as many as 15,000 Americans looking to flee Afghanistan

As many as 15,000 American citizens may remain inside Afghanistan, struggling to get out, days after the Asian nation fell to control of Taliban terrorists, President Biden said Wednesday.

Also looking to flee are tens of thousands of Afghan citizens who fought alongside or aided U.S. troops over the past two decades – and now fear retribution from the terrorist organization now wielding power in the country, The Associated Press reported.

Biden said the U.S. was committed to getting every American out of Afghanistan – even if that meant some U.S. troops would remain in the country beyond his Aug. 31 deadline for their withdrawal after a two-decade-long military operation.

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Taliban fighters block access to Kabul airport despite assurances

Taliban fighters on Wednesday were seen beating back individuals with proper paperwork who were trying to get to Kabul’s airport, which has turned into something of a gateway for freedom for many in the country. 

“It’s a complete disaster,” one person attempting to get through a checkpoint told Reuters.

“The Taliban were firing into the air, pushing people, beating them with AK47s.” The Taliban denied the allegation, which would be in stark contrast to its assurances to the U.S.

The Reuters report portrayed a worsening climate in the country. Witnesses told the outlet that Taliban fighters opened fire when residents in Jalalabad after some tried to raise Afghanistan’s national flag.

Three were killed, the report said. The extraction of Americans and Afghans who assisted with efforts in the country has become of focal point in the U.S. and a source of criticism for the Biden administration. –Edmund DeMarche

McCarthy, McConnell send letter to Biden requesting ‘Gang of 8’ briefing on Afghanistan

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sent a letter to President Biden requesting a briefing for the top congressional intelligence leaders on the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan where the U.S. military is attempting to evacuate Americans from the Taliban-controlled capital.

“It is of the utmost importance that the U.S. Government account for all U.S. citizens in Afghanistan and provide the necessary information and means of departure to all those Americans who desire to leave the country,” said the letter from the two Republican leaders, sent on Thursday, said.

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Biden admin moved to dismantle protections for citizens overseas months before Kabul’s fall: memo

The Biden administration moved in June to dismantle a system designed to protect American citizens trapped abroad — just months before the Taliban took over Afghanistan, stranding thousands of Americans in the Central Asian country.

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Afghan woman lashes out after botched withdrawal, Taliban takeover: ‘The world betrayed Afghanistan’

An Afghan woman who runs a non-government organization in Afghanistan had harsh words for the international community Wednesday after a botched American withdrawal and the Taliban’s unimpeded rush to retake the country..

“We are seeing everything we have built so hard piece by piece being lost in Afghanistan,” said the woman, whose identity is being withheld due to concerns for her safety. “Our 20 years of gains and hard work vanished overnight.”

How did it happen?

“The world betrayed Afghanistan, legitimized the savages, and brought them into power,” she said. “I don’t understand, I am still in shock. Afghans, especially women, will face a very new world, a world of fear, destruction, misery and endless pain.”

After the U.S. telegraphed its withdrawal from the country ahead of Sept. 11, 2021, Taliban militants seized territory at an alarming rate, retaking rural areas and then provincial capitals before marching into Kabul on Sunday.

Exiled President Ashraf Ghani fled to safety in the United Arab Emirates. Government forces, equipped and trained by U.S. taxpayers’ money, in many cases gave up without a fight. Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a Pentagon news conference Wednesday that no one saw the Taliban’s offensive successes coming.

But in his first interview since the fall of Kabul Sunday, President Biden told ABC News ‘ George Stephanopoulos that he doesn’t believe the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan could have been handled without “chaos ensuing.”

Kabul’s international airport is currently the scene of a U.S. military-secured evacuation effort to help thousands of American citizens and Afghan partners eligible for special visas get out of the country.

Taliban fighters have surrounded the area with checkpoints but while defense officials characterized the situation as “dangerous,” they said there had been “no hostile interactions” between militants and Americans.

Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.

Lindsey Graham says heads should roll at State Department over Afghanistan debacle

The South Carolina senator took aim at Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s performance during Wednesday’s press conference, saying he couldn’t “believe” his ears when Sherman “went through all of her efforts to improve the lives of Afghan women going back to 1997 and now believes that those words matter.”

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Biden tells interviewer he knew Afghan withdrawal would result in ‘chaos’

In his first interview since the fall of Kabul Sunday, President Biden told ABC News‘ George Stephanopoulos that he doesn’t believe the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan could have been handled without “chaos ensuing.”

“When you had the government of Afghanistan, the leader of that government, getting in a plane and taking off and going to another country, when you saw the significant collapse of the Afghan troops we had trained, up to 300,000 of them just leaving their equipment and taking off – that’s what happened,” he said.

When pressed on whether he thought the departure of American forces could have been handled better, he said no.

“The idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” he said.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that while the main priority is to increase evacuations from the airport in Kabul, U.S. forces won’t be able to go out and fetch large numbers of civilians eligible to fly out on government planes.

“We don’t have the capability to go out and collect large numbers of people,” he said Wednesday.

He also said that Taliban checkpoints were allowing U.S. citizens through to the airport — but the fate of Afghan partners was less clear.

Gen. Milley denies intel warned of rapid Afghan military collapse

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley was asked about reports that intelligence warned of a deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, with some suggesting President Biden may have ignored those concerns to press ahead with his planned drawdown of forces.

“There was nothing, that I or anybody else saw that indicated a collapse of this army and this government in 11 days,” Milley said.

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The White House is doubling down on Vice President Kamala Harris’ planned trip to Vietnam — even as the rapid fall of Afghanistan is being compared to the fall of Saigon in 1975.

“There are no planned changes to the Vice President’s travel,” a White House official told Fox News. “She is being briefed regularly on the situation in Afghanistan and she and her national security team are actively engaged in White House and interagency discussions.”

Harris is expected to continue to receive briefings on the Afghan crisis while overseas.

“Given our global leadership role, we can and we must manage developments in one region while simultaneously advancing our strategic interests in other regions on other issues,” the official said. “The United States has many interests around the world, and we are well-equipped to pursue them all at the same time.”

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was asked about U.S. taxpayer-funded aircraft that have reportedly gone missing from Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover and evacuation effort.

“In terms of what we’re doing about them currently, right now we’re focused on the airfield and getting people out safely,” he said. “So we’re gonna take that issue up at a later date.”

President Biden met with his national security team Wednesday morning ahead of a Pentagon news briefing on the effort to evacuate American citizens and allies from Afghanistan.

Evacuation of American citizens from Afghanistan the top priority: Milley

“The situation is still very dangerous, very dynamic, and very fluid,” Joints Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said at the Pentagon Wednesday.

All American citizens who want to get out of Afghanistan are the government’s top priority, he said. And the military is also working to help U.S. allies escape the country.

About 5,000 people have been evacuated so far, according to Milley.

“This is personal, and we’re gonna get them out,” he said.

Defense Secretary says ‘no hostile interactions’ between US, Taliban as evacuation continues

“There have been no hostile interactions with the Taliban,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a Wednesday afternoon news briefing at the Pentagon.

He said U.S. troops have secured the airport, which is functioning safely – for now.

He said authorities were working to increase the speed of the evacuation effort on a daily bases.

“As we build out this capacity, we’re working hand-and-glove with the State Department,” he said.State Department officials are working to identify and process American citizens as well as other eligible evacuees and help get them to safety.

Ghani makes first statement since fleeing Afghanistan Sunday

Exiled Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who left the country Sunday as the Taliban approached Kabul, said if he had remained in the country there would have been more violence Wednesday in his first public remarks since then.

“If I stayed, I would have witnessed bloodshed,” he said, according to a translation of his remarks. “My mission was however seeking that Kabul should not be Yemen or Syria.”

However he denied accusations that he had sold out his people while admitting that the Taliban takeover was a “shameful development.”

He said stalled peace talks in Qatar were a failure of both Taliban leadership and his own government.

“I left to prevent bloodshed, in order to make sure that a huge disaster is prevented,” he said.

He denied that he took government money and fled and said he took his “main assets” – important documents — and the clothes on his back. He said certain confidential documents were being held by others.

Ghani said he is currently in the United Arab Emirates and was consulting with advisers on how to proceed for “justice and peace.”

UAE officials confirmed earlier Wednesday that they were sheltering Ghani and his family “on humanitarian grounds.”

Haroon Janjua contributed to this report.

Escape from Afghanistan: Airline pilot reveals harrowing journey from Kabul

A Pakistan International Airlines pilot who flew one of the last civilian flights out of Kabul over the weekend is now opening up about his harrowing story of escape, reportedly saying that he feared his passengers and crew “could be used as hostages” if they stayed in Afghanistan any longer. 

Maqsood Birjani made the comments in a video posted Tuesday on YouTube, which was translated by the website Sam Chui Aviation and Travel. 

“I feel if we had delayed, even a little longer than we did, then the aircraft would have been engulfed by a mob and we would not have been able to go anywhere,” Birjani reportedly said. 

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Colorado family trapped in Afghanistan safely escapes country

A Colorado family that was left stranded in Afghanistan after their flight home was canceled has safely made it out of the war-torn country that has been taken over by the Taliban, Fox News can report. 

A woman and her two daughters, who were visiting relatives in Afghanistan when Taliban-led chaos struck, were able to escape with the help of retired Special Forces Col. Patrick Allen, he confirmed to Fox News on Wednesday.

The trio, all of whom are U.S. citizens, made it on to a flight to Qatar and are expected to return to the United States in the coming hours or days. “It worked out for us, but it was touch and go all along,” Allen said, when reached by phone. 

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Biden, Merkel speak about Afghanistan

The White House says President Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have spoken today about the situation in Afghanistan.

“They praised the ongoing efforts of their military and civilian personnel who are working closely together in Kabul on the evacuation of their citizens, vulnerable Afghans, and the courageous Afghan nationals who worked tirelessly over the last 20 years to provide security, promote peace, and deliver development assistance to the Afghan people,” the White House said in a statement.

“They also discussed the need for close coordination on the provision of humanitarian aid for vulnerable Afghans in country as well as support for neighboring states, and agreed to continue planning for this work in the upcoming virtual meeting of G7 partners,” the statement added.

CENTCOM Commander Gen. McKenzie in Kabul

The Department of Defense has posted an image of Gen. McKenzie “touring a control center at Hamid Karzai International Airport.”

U.S. troops photographed in Afghanistan

The Department of Defense Twitter page has posted a series of photos showing the first U.S. Marines and soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan. 

NATO calls emergency meeting on Afghanistan

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced in a tweet that he has “convened an extraordinary virtual meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers this Friday 20 August to continue our close coordination & discuss our common approach on Afghanistan.”

Stoltenberg said Tuesday that “there are lessons that need to be learned” at NATO following the sudden fall of the Afghan government. 

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani surfaces in the United Arab Emirates

Ashraf Ghani has emerged in the United Arab Emirates Wednesday after fleeing Kabul on Sunday.

“The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation can confirm that the UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds,” the country said in a statement.

First female Afghan Air Force pilot: ‘Don’t believe’ Taliban propaganda about women’s rights

The first female Air Force pilot in Afghanistan’s history spoke out on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday to warn others that the Taliban will “hurt women the most.” 

“Unfortunately, my family is still there. And since I have heard what happened in Afghanistan, I cannot sleep, I cannot get my mind together, I am so in fear for their security. And, of course, it hasn’t been only about me,” Rahmani told “Fox & Friends.”

Rahmani, 29, said that her “family and parents are in danger.” Rahmani’s parents have been “targeted by the Taliban” as they have supported her throughout her career. 

The pilot escaped Afghanistan to the U.S. in 2015 after becoming famous for being the first female Afghan Air Force pilot since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Her fame was met with scorn from the Taliban and she said they have been sending her “death threats since 2013.” 

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Taliban violently break up protest in eastern Afghanistan, video shows

One person has been killed and six others are reported wounded Wednesday as videos are emerging of the Taliban violently breaking up a protest in eastern Afghanistan.  

Footage obtained by Fox News shows a crowd in the streets of Jalalabad unfurling a large Afghanistan flag amidst the sounds of cheers.   

Gunshots then ring out as the crowd continues to wave the flag up and down, before a video taken later shows people running away from the scene as more consistent gunfire is heard.  

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U.S., other nations release joint statement about women and girls in Afghanistan

The State Department has released a statement about the “Situation of Women and Girls in Afghanistan”, which is co-signed by Albania, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, European Union, Honduras, Guatemala, North Macedonia, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Senegal, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. 

“We are deeply worried about Afghan women and girls, their rights to education, work and freedom of movement,” the statement says. “We call on those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan to guarantee their protection.” 

“Afghan women and girls, as all Afghan people, deserve to live in safety, security and dignity. Any form of discrimination and abuse should be prevented,” it continues. “We in the international community stand ready to assist them with humanitarian aid and support, to ensure that their voices can be heard.” 

U.S. officials: ‘Challenging’ to meet Biden’s Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline

U.S. officials privately warn it will be “challenging” to meet President Biden’s Aug. 31st deadline as U.S. troops continue pouring into Afghanistan to protect the airport and evacuate thousands of Americans stuck behind Taliban lines. 

“We are still ramping up,” one official admits. 

There are now over 4,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Kabul. Two thousand more are expected to land in the next few days.

‘Everyone is scared’: American trapped in Afghanistan speaks out

U.S. citizen Haroon describes the scene in Afghanistan as thousands of people attempt to leave the country.

Karzai meets with Haqqani network leader, reports say

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has met Wednesday with the senior leader of a militant group and Taliban faction that the U.S. has designated as a terrorist organization, according to Reuters. 

The meeting between Karzai and Anas Haqqani of the Haqqani network was aimed at facilitating eventual negotiations with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar – the Taliban’s political leader, Karzai’s spokesperson told the Associated Press. 

The Taliban currently is in the process of trying to establish a government following their rapid takeover of Afghanistan and Kabul, its capital. 

China addresses ‘the question of diplomatic recognition’

China’s foreign ministry said Wednesday that it is waiting for the creation of an “open, inclusive, and widely representative” Afghanistan government before weighing in on “the question of diplomatic recognition.” 

“If we are going to recognize a government, we will have to wait till the government is formed,” spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, according to the Associated Press. 

“China will continue to support the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan and provide assistance to Afghanistan’s economic and social development within its capacity,” he added. 

EU diplomat on Taliban: ‘We must speak with them’

The European Union’s top diplomat said Wednesday it is necessary to negotiate with the Taliban in order to secure the safe evacuations of foreign nationals and Afghans who have worked with NATO from Kabul. 

“I said that we must speak with them and some people found that scandalous,” Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, told Spanish National Radio, according to the Associated Press. “But how are we supposed to open a safe passage to the airport if we are not speaking with those who have taken control of Kabul?” 

His comments come as Germany is sending 600 army personnel to Kabul to assist in the evacuation efforts, the AP adds. 

Deposed Afghan president Ghani made snap decision in ‘minutes’ to flee as Taliban entered Kabul

Ousted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani made a snap decision to flee the country last weekend, doing so without the assistance of U.S. officials as Taliban insurgents entered Kabul, a well-placed source who spoke to bodyguards at the presidential palace told Fox News on Tuesday. 

The source described divisions between top officials close to Ghani on the night he fled, with some attempting last-minute negotiations with Taliban leaders in Qatar in a bid to avoid bloodshed. Efforts to negotiate a semi-inclusive government and safe passage failed as Taliban militants breached Kabul and approached the palace. 

Ghani made his decision to flee the country in a matter of minutes, and U.S. officials did not help him evacuate the country. The source noted the president’s exit as panic spread through Kabul likely averted a “bloodbath” in the city. 

“Would have been fighting in the streets [if Ghani had stayed],” the source said. 

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Kabul airport stampede injures 17

At least 17 people reportedly have been injured Wednesday in a stampede at Kabul’s airport.

The stampede happened at one of the gates to the airport, a NATO security official told Reuters

Despite Afghanistan withdrawal, Biden seeks to spend $3.6B more on reconstruction there next year

The war and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan cost taxpayers nearly $1 trillion — but the Biden administration has asked for more, even with plans to fully withdraw from the country this summer. 

In its budget request for fiscal year 2022, the White House included $3.3 billion for Afghan security forces to be paid out via the Department of Defense’s Afghanistan Security Forces Fund. 

That money would flow to the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, Afghan Air Force and the Afghan Special Security Forces, entities that put up little resistance as the Taliban swept across the country in just a few days. 

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Stephen Miller: Afghanistan resettlements driven by politics, not humanitarian concerns

Stephen Miller, who served as a senior adviser to former President Donald Trump, appeared on “The Ingraham Angle” on Tuesday night, where he claimed the Biden administration could not be trusted to handle the resettling of Afghanistan refugees who are trying to flee Taliban rule.

“Those who are advocating mass Afghan resettlements in this country are doing so for political, not humanitarian, reasons,” he said.

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Taliban collect ammo guns from civilians after takeover: report

Vowing that they will not “harm innocent civilians,” the Taliban have started to collect guns and ammunition from Afghan civilians in Kabul, a report said.

Reuters, citing a Taliban official, reported that the group said people in the city will no longer need to hold onto their weapons because they no longer need personal protection. 

“They can now feel safe,” the official told the outlet.

Reuters spoke to one business owner who said Taliban fighters already visited his workplace to inquire about where his security team keeps its weapons. 

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Afghanistan crisis has Gold Star mom remembering Marine son she lost in 2010

A Washington state Gold Star mom discussed her heartbreak Tuesday at seeing the Taliban take over Afghanistan following a withdrawal of U.S. forces.

It’s been more than 11 years since her son, Lance Cpl. Eric L. Ward, 19, a Marine from Redmond, died fighting in the country.

“Today is – would have been – Eric’s 31st birthday,” his mom, Monica McNeal told Q13 FOX of Seattle. “The hardest thing right now is the fact that all these emotions are being resonated.”

Ward died in a “hostile incident” in southern Afghanistan in 2010, according to the U.S. Defense Department. A machine-gunner, he was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the Seattle Times reported. 

McNeal said it was difficult seeing people desperate to escape, including thousands of Afghans who rushed into Kabul’s main airport Monday.

The takeover led her to wonder if her son’s sacrifice more than a decade ago was worth it. 

“You don’t want to say it was for naught,” she added. “And I don’t want to say that, because I know my son was very proud serving as a U.S. Marine.”

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Bret Baier knocks White House response to Taliban takeover, ‘shocked’ by evacuation plan

The Biden administration’s downplaying of how the U.S. left Afghanistan behind, “stunned” “Special Report” host Bret Baier on Tuesday who expressed his “shock” on “America Reports.”

Read more.

President Biden’s first call with a world leader following the fall of Kabul was with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Tuesday evening, according to the White House.

“They commended the bravery and professionalism of their military and civilian personnel, who are working shoulder to shoulder in Kabul on the evacuation of their citizens and Afghan nationals who assisted in the war effort,” a spokesperson said. “They also discussed the need for continued close coordination among allies and democratic partners on Afghanistan policy going forward, including ways the global community can provide further humanitarian assistance and support for refugees and other vulnerable Afghans.”

They also said that the leaders of the G-7 nations will hold a virtual meeting next week to discuss a plan for going forward.

New special inspector general report highlights same old problems in Afghanistan

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction released a new report Tuesday, his 11th since 2009, on the past two decades of U.S. attempts at nation building in Afghanistan.

There have been bright spots—such as lower child mortality rates, increases in per capita GDP, and increased literacy rates. But after spending 20 years and $145 billion trying to rebuild Afghanistan, the U.S. government has many lessons it needs to learn. Implementing these critical lessons will save lives and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in Afghanistan, and in future reconstruction missions elsewhere around the world.

What the Taliban’s interpretation of Sharia law means for Afghanistan

The Taliban on Tuesday said they were working to form a government that would be centered on Sharia law and urged Afghans to live “within the framework of Islam.”

Read more about what that could mean.

Former ambassador laments ‘Al Qaeda is back’: ‘We’ve turned Afghanistan into our mortal enemy’

“It’s a very sad and disturbing time for all Americans,” says Ryan Crocker, who served as a diplomat to several Middle Eastern countries, including as ambassador to Afghanistan under Presidents George W. Bush as Barack Obama – said of Al Qaeda.

See the full interview with Martha MacCallum on “The Story” here.

With Taliban victory, Afghanistan could become the ‘second school of jihadism’

The disheartening end to America’s longest war raises a number of questions about U.S. national security policy in Central Asia and the future of the newly installed Taliban government in Afghanistan. 

Perhaps the biggest unknown amid the power vacuum and confusion of the American withdrawal is what the Taliban’s relationship with al Qaeda really is, 20 years after harboring the terrorist group that planned and coordinated the 9/11 terror attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Read more.

Taliban claims it’ll be more moderate, but killings continue in Afghanistan

Even as Afghanistan’s resurgent Taliban pledged to respect “women’s rights” in a propaganda blitz Tuesday, fighters from the group allegedly shot and killed a woman in Takhar province after she went out in public without a burqa.

Read more.

State Dept tells Americans in Afghanistan to ‘shelter in place’ until they hear from embassy

The State Department on Tuesday told American citizens and others looking to get out of Afghanistan that they should “shelter in place” until they are given further instruction by the U.S. Embassy amid a fragile security situation in the Afghan capital.”

Our message remains for American citizens and for others who have expressed interest in relocation out of Afghanistan: shelter in place until and unless you receive a communication from the U.S. embassy,” spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

Read more.

Pompeo on Taliban takeover of Afghanistan: Biden admin ‘didn’t project American strength’

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told “America Reports” on Tuesday the Biden administration did not “project strength” after the Taliban took over Afghanistan.

Watch the interview here.

Biden hasn’t spoken to any foreign leaders since fall of Afghanistan to Taliban

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday that President Biden has not spoken with any other world leaders since Afghanistan fell to the Taliban over the weekend, as the president remains at Camp David amid frantic efforts to evacuate Americans and U.S. allies from the country. 

Read more.

Human remains found in C-17 landing gear after Kabul evacuation flight

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations is reviewing reports that people tried clinging to a departing C-17 airplane Sunday after the Afghan government’s collapse, according to an Air Force spokesperson.

The vehicle had landed Sunday to deliver supplies for the evacuation effort but encountered a mob of civilians who had breached the airport’s perimeter, the spokesperson said. Fearing “a rapidly deteriorating security situation,” the pilot decided to take off.

Read more.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price told Fox News Tuesday that the U.S. has “received assurances” from the Taliban that the group will allow safe passage for civilians headed to Kabul’s airport.

“We take it for what it is,” he said. “We will of course be looking for one thing and one thing only, follow through.”

White House secretary Jen Psaki said as many as 11,000 Americans are still in Afghanistan Tuesday afternoon during her daily news briefing.

The State Department and U.S. military are working to help them get out. The U.S. embassy in Afghanistan is offering repatriation assistance on its website for Americans and other eligible travelers, including immediate family members and people awaiting visas, looking to leave the country.

However, Psaki stopped short of pledging that the military would help evacuate all Americans and allies who remain in the country past the end of the month.

“Our focus right now is on doing the work at hand,” she said, defining that as evacuating as many eligible people as possible.

Earlier in the day, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby had estimated between 5,000 and 10,000.

OPINION: After Biden’s Afghanistan debacle, he’s got to tell us how he’ll defend our nation

“The administration’s hasty and disastrous exit from Afghanistan—where our capability to find, fix, and finish the enemies who seek to do us harm has been so greatly diminished— has done grave damage to our international standing” — Daniel N. Hoffman

War in Afghanistan by the numbers

The nearly 20-year-long U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan has claimed thousands of lives and is now ending with the Taliban’s rapid takeover of the country. 

Click here for a look at the costs of nearly two decades in this conflict.

Americans, Afghan interpreters turning to Congress for help fleeing Afghanistan and the Taliban

Americans and Afghan interpreters are turning to Congress for help getting out of Afghanistan and into the U.S. amid the fall of Kabul and the rise of Taliban rule. 

Some Republican lawmakers are speaking out about the number of people contacting them for help fleeing Afghanistan amid the botched troop withdrawal that led to the Taliban swiftly taking over the country. 

Currently, it is estimated that there are some 10,000 Americans still in Afghanistan. The Pentagon said Tuesday during a press briefing that more than 4,000 troops will arrive in Kabul by the end, with the goal to evacuate 5,000 to 9,000 people daily. 

Click here to read more. 

Psaki, Sullivan to field questions on Afghanistan

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan are holding a press briefing.

Click here to watch.

US commanders interacting with Taliban leaders, ‘no threat’ by group to airport evacuation: Pentagon

U.S. commanders are interacting with Taliban leaders in Afghanistan amid the mission to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from Kabul, the Pentagon said Tuesday, maintaining that, at this point, there has been “no threat” made by the extremist group.  

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby confirmed the interactions Tuesday, but declined to provide details. 

U.S. commanders “are charged with making sure this is a safe and secure environment, and we trust them to have the interactions they feel they need to have to ensure that, in every aspect across the whole spectrum of what this mission requires of them, that they can do it safely and efficiently, and in an orderly manner,” Kirby said.  

Kirby elaborated on the “assessed threat” at this point, saying that the U.S. has “had no hostile interactions, no attack and no threat by the Taliban.”  

Click here to read more. 

Dogs being evacuated from Afghanistan as well

An image posted on Twitter by photographer Phillip Walter Wellman of Stars and Stripes shows a dog amongst those being evacuated from Kabul this week.

“The dogs did have seats reserved for them on the evacuation flight,” he said in a follow-up tweet
. “We were told we couldn’t sit in seats with reserved signs on them because the space was being saved for the dogs.”

Wellman added that “these dogs were likely working with U.S. contractors in Afghanistan and may not be ‘military’ dogs, but rather work dogs supporting the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.”

Senators warn that the Taliban are already suppressing rights of women, girls in Afghanistan

U.S. senators are sounding the alarm about the civil rights abuses of women and girls in Afghanistan after the Taliban took complete control of the country with astonishing speed following President Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. troops. 

“Afghanistan has been handed over to the Taliban under Joe Biden’s rushed and mishandled withdrawal. Now, Afghan women and children are suffering the consequences,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, tweeted Tuesday morning. “Afghan women and girls who were just starting to enjoy their freedoms are again faced with oppression and subjugation by a ruthless Taliban regime.” 

Click here to read more.

Traffic jams bring Kabul to a halt

A Fox News reporter in Kabul has captured stunning images of a traffic jam in one neighborhood as uncertainty continues to spread throughout the Afghan capital following its takeover by the Taliban. 

Evacuation warning signs were there, U.S. officer suggests

A former U.S. Army infantry officer tells Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson that he knew “when we closed Bagram we were going to have this problem” of evacuating people from Afghanistan. 

Bagram Air Base, located just north of Kabul, was the heart of the U.S. operation in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years following the attack on Sept. 11, 2001, by Al Qaeda. 

All U.S. forces were removed from Bagram Airfield by early July, Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin previously reported

Afghanistan’s vice president makes claim to power

Afghanistan’s first vice president, Amrullah Saleh, has said in a tweet Tuesday that he is now the country’s “legitimate” leader after President Ashraf Ghani fled its borders. 

“As per [the] constitution of Afg, in absence, escape, resignation or death of the President the FVP becomes the caretaker President,” Saleh wrote. “I am currently inside my country & am the legitimate caretaker President. Am reaching out to all leaders to secure their support & consensus.” 

As of Tuesday, it still remains unclear where Ghani is after he fled Afghanistan on Sunday. 

Pentagon warns Taliban of swift response to any attack

The Pentagon is warning Tuesday of a swift response to any attack carried out by the Taliban against the mission to evacuate U.S. personnel and Afghan allies from Afghanistan as flights out of Kabul’s airport resumed for operations Tuesday. 

The current U.S. mission in Afghanistan was announced by President Biden on Monday, who said it would be “short in time, limited in scope and focused on our objectives: get our people and our allies as quickly and as safely as possible.”  

Click here to

Taliban fighters are beating people on the way to Kabul airport, source says

An Afghan who is also a former State Department contractor tells Fox News’ Rich Edson that Taliban fighters have established checkpoints throughout Kabul and around the airport.   

Some, he said, are beating people on the way to the airport, as images have emerged of a Taliban fighter kicking a man in the face and another whipping people walking by.  

When the former contractor encountered a checkpoint, the Taliban guard let him go but warned him not to leave the country: “you can go, don’t run away,” he said. 

This is the scene he described at the airport Monday: “There was kids, women, babies, old women, they could barely walk. They [are in a] very, very bad situation, I’m telling you. At the end, I was thinking that there was like 10,000 or more than 10,000 people and they’re running into the airport … The Taliban [were] beating people and the people were jumping from the fence, the concertina wire, and also the wall.” 

He now says Taliban are going through neighborhoods looking for those who worked with the U.S. government.  He says Taliban fighters were asking his neighbors about him. 

US botched Afghanistan reconstruction with ‘staggering’ mistakes, scathing inspector general report

Days after Taliban forces took control of Afghanistan, the U.S. government watchdog agency for the reconstruction effort released a report recapping the “many failures” of the past two decades. 

A report issued Tuesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which has examined U.S. progress – or lack thereof – in the region since 2008 identified fundamental problems with the work that was being done on the ground. 

“Twenty years later, much has improved, and much has not,” the report read. “If the goal was to rebuild and leave behind a country that can sustain itself and pose little threat to U.S. national security interests, the overall picture is bleak.”

Nearly 20 years since American forces went into Afghanistan in response to the Taliban harboring 9/11 mastermind Usama bin Laden, the U.S. has spent nearly $1 trillion on war and reconstruction efforts.  

Click here to read more. 

Tension grips Kabul as Afghan residents living in fear

An Afghan father who is trying to flee from Afghanistan with his family tells Fox News that “we can’t afford to live here under panic and restrictions after the Taliban takeover.” 

Rasheed Ali, 28, also said to a Fox News reporter in Kabul that “we slept at the airport and people have no clue where to go.  

“Due to the rush there was a suffocation and my wife and child fainted. We are helpless,” he added. 

Meanwhile, a Taliban commander tells Fox News that the militant group “had not expected such a huge victory so early. 

“We now have the responsibility of the entire country and nation and we will serve and deliver it,” the commander said.  

Pentagon in talks with Taliban over evacuation efforts, officials say

Fox News National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin is reporting on the latest developments in Afghanistan. 

Evacuation flights from Kabul have resumed but “how long they will last rests with the Taliban,” she says. 

“Pentagon officials say they are in talks with the Taliban to allow certain categories of individuals – diplomats, journalists and western aid workers through the cordon,” Griffin adds. 

A former senior U.S. defense official who has been in contact with American commanders on the ground in Kabul told Fox News’ Bret Baier that “the Taliban have a ring outside of the airport and won’t let anyone inside it.” 

Click here for more.

NATO leader: ‘Lessons that need to be learned’ following Taliban takeover

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday that “there are lessons that need to be learned” at NATO following the sudden fall of the Afghan government. 

Stoltenberg, according to the Associated Press, added that the “Afghan political leadership failed to stand up” and “this failure of Afghan leadership led to the tragedy we are witnessing today.” 

He reportedly made the remarks following a meeting with NATO envoys regarding the security implications of the Taliban retaking Afghanistan. 

American evacuations by the numbers

A White House official tells Fox News’ Brooke Singman that more than 700 people — including 150 American citizens — have been flown out of Kabul in the last 24 hours as evacuation flights have resumed. 

The official said nearly 1,000 American troops have been flown in to join the 3,500 already on the ground and more are expected to arrive in the coming hours. 

Meanwhile, the State Department has sent messages to some American citizens in Kabul telling them how to safely assemble at the airport for upcoming departures. 

German plane leaves Afghanistan with only 7 evacuees

A German military plane that landed in Kabul Monday as part of the evacuation efforts managed to only get 7 people on board before taking off again, Reuters reports. 

“Because of the chaotic circumstances at the [Kabul] airport and regular exchanges of fire at the point of access, it was not ensured that further German nationals and other people to be evacuated would gain access to the airport at all without the protection of the [German military],” its foreign ministry said in a statement to Deutsche Welle in explaining why so few people were picked up. 

A second German plane that departed Kabul on Tuesday carried more than 120 people including Germans, Afghans and people from other countries, according to a tweet from Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. 

Evacuation flights ongoing out of Kabul

At least 12 military flights carrying evacuees have taken off from Kabul’s airport on Tuesday, a diplomat tells Reuters. 

A Western security official on the ground also told the news agency that the number of Afghans on the airport’s runways has thinned out. 

“Runway in Kabul international airport is open. I see airplanes landing and taking off,” Stefano Pontecorvo, NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan, posted on Twitter.  

Taliban have set up a ‘ring’ outside of Kabul airport, official says

A former senior U.S. defense official who has been in contact with American commanders on the ground in Kabul tells Fox News’ Bret Baier that “the Taliban have a ring outside of the airport and won’t let anyone inside it.” 

The source said the 82nd Airborne is securing the airport but “the big issue here is that no people outside of the Taliban ring will get in.”

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told ABC News on Tuesday that the State Department has started giving evacuation orders to Americans in Kabul that previously were advised to shelter in place.

“Our focus militarily is very squarely on the airport, making sure that we can keep it up and running, that we can maintain security and stability there,” Kirby said.

Taliban announces ‘amnesty,’ urges women to join government

The Taliban on Tuesday announced “amnesty” across the country and urged women to join its government in an apparent effort to try and calm nerves across Kabul, the Associated Press reported.

Many in the country are suspicious about the group’s intentions.

A spokesperson for the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement:

“Taliban spokespeople have issued a number of statements in recent days, including pledging an amnesty for those who worked for the previous Government. They have also pledged to be inclusive. They have said woman can work and girls can go to school. Such promises will need to be honoured, and for the time being — again understandably, given past history — these declarations have been greeted with some scepticism. Nevertheless, the promises have been made, and whether or not they are honoured or broken will be closely scrutinized,” the statement read.

Click here for the story

Senate Democrat calls for hearings on what went wrong in Afghanistan

Sen. Jack Reed, the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called for hearings at a later date to learn about what went wrong in Afghanistan but said the focus should now be on evacuations.

The Rhode Island Democrat issued a statement late Monday that said the hearings should take place at the appropriate time. He said the focus at the moment should be squarely on “safely evacuating U.S. citizens and Afghans who aided us.”

Reed said in his statement that he is “deeply concerned” about the humanitarian crisis in the country. His statement also offered up some of his early theories about what went wrong.

He pointed to a “disastrous pivot to a war of choice in Iraq, a failure to have an effective policy to deal with a duplicitous Pakistan, a failure of mission creep from counter-terrorism; and a lack of ability to build an effective Afghan government and security forces.”

Click here for the story

Hundreds of Afghans pack military cargo plane leaving Kabul

A military cargo plane leaving Kabul’s international airport late Sunday packed 640 Afghans inside amid unfolding chaos in the country as the Taliban continues to take over. 

The C-17 aircraft belonged to the 436th Air Wing, based at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Defense One reported.

The plane was not intended to take such a large load but the hundreds of Afghans pulled themselves onto its open ramp, a defense official told the outlet.

“Approximately 640 Afghan civilians disembarked the aircraft when it arrived at its destination,” the official said. 

The crew made the decision to take off instead of trying to force the Afghans off. 

George Bush issues statement on Afghanistan with message to US troops, veterans

George Bush, the former president, and his wife Laura Bush, the former first lady, issued a statement late Monday about the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan with a message to U.S. troops, veterans, diplomats and the intelligence community who have served in the country over the past two decades.

“Many of you deal with wounds of war, both visible and invisible,” the statement read. “And some of your brothers and sisters in arms made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror. Each day, we have been humbled by your commitment and your courage. You took out a brutal enemy and denied Al Qaeda a safe haven while building schools, sending supplies, and providing medical care. You kept America safe from further terror attacks, provided two decades of security and opportunity for millions, and made America proud. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and will always honor your contributions.”

Click here for article

Biden points fingers for Afghanistan debacle after promising he wouldn’t ‘blame others’

President Biden appeared to go back on his campaign promise to “take responsibility” as commander-in-chief and not “blame others” during his speech on the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan that has seen the Taliban swiftly retake control of the country – and outcome Biden previously claimed was “highly unlikely.”

Biden on Monday suggested that the withdrawal debacle was the result of the peace deal he “inherited” from former President Donald Trump and claimed his only options were between “escalating the conflict and sending thousands of American troops back into Afghanistan.”

Click here to read more.

H.R. McMaster says Taliban takeover of Afghanistan a result of ‘precipitous withdrawal’

Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster joined ‘The Story with Martha MacCallum’ on Monday and reacted to the hundreds of Afghans running alongside the U.S. Air Force transport plane as it moved down a runway of the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Click here to read more.

Taliban spokesman refuses to explicitly denounce Al Qaeda in Lara Logan interview

In an exclusive interview with Fox Nation’s Lara Logan, of “Lara Logan Has No Agenda”, the Taliban’s chief spokesman refused multiple attempts by the investigative journalist to give an explicit condemnation of terror group Al Qaeda.

The interview, held only a few weeks before Afghanistan fell to Taliban insurgents over the weekend, will air in its entirety during a larger “No Agenda” special on Afghanistan being simulcast Sunday at 10 PM ET on Fox News Channel and the Fox Nation streaming service.

Click here to read more.

Taliban take over Afghanistan: What we know and what’s next

The Taliban have seized power in Afghanistan two weeks before the U.S. was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war.

The insurgents stormed across the country, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, as Afghan security forces trained and equipped by the U.S. and its allies melted away.

Click here to read more.

Trump calls Biden’s Afghanistan exit plan ‘grossly incompetent’

Former President Trump called the Biden administration’s exit plan from Afghanistan “grossly incompetent” Monday.

“It’s not that we left Afghanistan,” he said through his Save America PAC. “It’s the grossly incompetent way we left!”

The statement came minutes after Biden defended his move to pull American troops out of the country, resulting in the Taliban taking over swaths of land and causing Afghans and government leaders to flee. 

Biden cites Trump deal with Taliban as one reason for troop withdrawal

 President Biden said he decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan was in part due to a deal former President Trump made with the Taliban. 

Under the terms of the agreement, U.S. troops would be out of the country by May 1, 2021, he said. 

“US forces had already drawn down during the Trump administration from roughly 15,500 American forces to 2,500 troops in country. And the Taliban was at its strongest militarily since 2001,” Biden said Monday from the White House. “The choice I had to make as your President was either to follow through on that agreement or be prepared to go back to fighting the Taliban in the middle of the spring fighting season. 

“It would’ve been no ceasefire after May 1. There was no agreement protecting our forces after May 1,” he added. “There was no status quo of stability without American casualties after May 1.”

Biden tells nation he stands ‘squarely behind’ decision to exit Afghanistan

President Biden addressed the nation Monday, saying he stands “squarely behind” his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan after having a presence for 20 years, while admitting that the fall of the country to the Taliban “did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.” 

The president, speaking from the White House Monday, said his administration has been “closely monitoring the situation on the ground in Afghanistan,” and is moving “quickly” to execute the new plans put in place. 

Click here to read more.

Biden says chaos unfolding in Afghanistan may be painful for some, particularly veterans

President Biden noted that chaotic scenes unfolding in Afghanistan may be painful for some to watch, particularly veterans. 

“The scenes that we’re seeing in Afghanistan, they’re gut-wrenching, particularly for our veterans, our diplomats, humanitarian workers, for anyone who has spent time on the ground working to support the Afghan people,” he said. “ For those who have lost loved ones in Afghanistan, and for Americans who have fought and served in the country, serve our country in Afghanistan. This is deeply, deeply personal.”

Biden places blame of Afghanistan collapse on Afghan military, government leaders

President Biden addressed the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan in a televised address Monday as he faces criticism over the collapse of the country’s government. 

Biden criticized the Afghan army and government leaders as Taliban fighters took over nearly the whole country in a matter of days, forcing leaders there to flee.   

“Truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,” he said. “We gave them every chance to determine their own future.” 

“American troops cannot, and should not, be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,” he said.

The address comes as chaos continues to unfold at Kabul’s international airport where Afghans rushed the tarmac in an effort to leave the country. 

Former Afghan adviser to military says US ‘handed everything over to the Taliban’

A former Afghan adviser to the U.S. military told Fox News on Monday that the United States “handed everything over to the Taliban,” saying Afghanistan was “not ready” for the U.S. presence to be withdrawn. 

Ahmad Shah Mohibi, who at the age of 16 assisted the U.S. military in front-line operations and later served as an adviser to the State Department and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, told Fox News that the Afghan Security Forces were “ready to fight” but that the environment in Afghanistan was “not ready” to fight without U.S. forces. 

Click here to read more.

Leon Panetta calls Afghanistan a ‘Bay of Pigs’ moment for Biden

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Monday the unfolding debacle in Afghanistan was a “Bay of Pigs” moment for President Joe Biden, referring to the ill-fated, U.S.-backed effort to overthrow Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

Biden has come under sharp criticism for the chaos unfolding in Afghanistan as the Taliban seizes control, and Panetta was asked by CNN’s John King what this moment meant for the president.

Click here to read more.

French president says Afghanistan must not become ‘haven for terrorists’

French President Emmanuel Macron said Afghanistan must not become a haven for terrorism. 

“Afghanistan must not become the haven for terrorists that it once was,” he said during a televised address Monday on French television, France 24 reported. “It is a challenge for peace and international stability, against a common enemy. We will do everything we can so that Russia, the United States and Europe can cooperate efficiently, because our interests are the same.”  

President Biden is expected to speak Monday afternoon about the takeover of the country by Taliban fighters as American troops continue to evacuate U.S. personnel. 

Afghan woman finds herself in limbo amid Kabul airport chaos

A 22-year-old Afghan woman has found herself in limbo Monday after getting a call that she was on an evacuation list heading to the U.S. or Mexico. 

Massouma Tajik, who the Associated Press says works as a data analyst for a U.S. contractor helping Afghan businesses, wasn’t able to board a plane amid the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the evacuations at Kabul’s airport. 

“I am in the airport, waiting to get a flight but I don’t know to where,” she said. “I am here, confused, hungry and hopeless. I don’t know what is coming my way. Where will I go? How will I spend my days? Who will support my family?” 

Click here to read more about her situation. 

Taliban fighters going house to house in Kabul

Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin says she has received a first-hand account that Taliban fighters have already started going house to house in Kabul to look for any Afghan Special Forces who fought alongside the U.S. military. 

The Taliban, a source tells Fox News, has the records of those who served in the Afghan Special Forces and are going to the homes of those individuals to start seeking retribution. 

The source described the mood on the ground in Kabul as sheer terror. 

Pentagon leaders repeatedly praised Afghan army that collapsed in days

The Afghan military caved to Taliban pressure, losing control of the country in a swift and devastating fashion that undermined the praise American military leaders have heaped on them over the years. 

For years, American generals have claimed that Afghan forces were improving and developing their ability to handle themselves against the Taliban. 

Click here to read more from Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer. 

Desperate Kabul deals with new Taliban rulers: ‘It’s like Saigon on steroids’

“It’s like Saigon on steroids.” That’s how leading Afghan businessman Saad Mohseni described the scene to us today in Afghanistan. Just hours after the Taliban entered the city completing their lightning-fast takeover of the country.    

Throughout the city, according to Fox journalists on the ground, Taliban fighters were seen on the streets, walking and patrolling, driving around in government vehicles, going home to home, basically making their presence known. 

For the public, the fighters are putting on an allegedly peaceful face. But most know their extreme fundamentalist rule might be felt soon.    

“It looks like a nightmare,” Faridoon Azeen explained in an email to Fox News. He was a U.S. military translator still unable to get a visa out of the country. Now there’s a Taliban checkpoint outside of his apartment window. “I do believe I will be killed if I am captured,” he wrote us. 

Click here to read the latest from Fox News’ Greg Palkot. 

Map shows Taliban’s advance across Afghanistan

Obama shuts off Instagram comments amid Afghanistan collapse

Commenting on former President Obama’s Instagram page was briefly suspended Monday morning as commenters urged the former president to do something about the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.  

Obama has yet to issue a public statement on the rapidly declining situation in Afghanistan, as thousands of people try to flee the country that fell to Taliban rule in a matter of days.  

Obama’s Instagram posts said, “Comments on this post have been limited” for roughly two hours Monday morning. His most recent post, a video Thursday touting his All on the Line redistricting campaign, garnered 885 comments before it was shut down Monday. 

“Afghanistan needs your help. Please please help Afghanistan,” one commenter wrote. 

Click here to read more. 

Afghan President Ghani made lavish exit, Russia media says

Russia state media is claiming Monday that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled his war-torn country yesterday with four cars and a helicopter full of cash. 

A report by RIA Novosti quoted embassy spokesperson Nikita Ishchenko as saying that “the collapse of the regime… is most eloquently characterized by how Ghani escaped from Afghanistan: four cars were filled with money, they tried to shove another part of the money into a helicopter, but not everything fit,” according to the Associated Press. “And some of the money was left lying on the tarmac.”

The claims could not be independently verified and Ghani’s official whereabouts remain unknown, despite reports suggesting he fled to either Tajikistan or Uzbekistan, which share borders with northern Afghanistan. 

How Taliban’s takeover is going to change the region

Fox News’ Trey Yingst is reporting on the situation in Afghanistan and the impact on the region, including Iran and Israel. 

“Groups like Al Qaeda now have a number of their top fighters free as a result of the Taliban taking over all of these key provincial capitals that house not only Taliban fighters but also Afghan, Al Qaeda-backed fighters,” he said. 

“You see this situation and it really is a recipe for disaster when it comes to terrorism in the region and the security situation in the region,” Yingst added. 

Biden orders another 1,000 American troops to Kabul

President Biden is ordering another 1,000 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne to Kabul.

A total of 7,000 U.S. troops will be on the ground in Afghanistan soon.

U.S. forces in Kabul kill 2 gunmen, official says

U.S. forces have killed two gunmen who “fired into the crowd” of Afghans at Kabul airport in separate incidents over the past 24 hours, a U.S. official told Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson. 

At least 7 people have been killed at Kabul International Airport Monday, where Afghans have been flocking in desperate attempts to flee the Taliban, reports also say. 

Senior U.S. military officials that spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity said the figure includes Afghans seen in social media videos falling from the sky after clinging onto the side of American C-17 plane during takeoff. 

President Biden to address situation in Afghanistan this afternoon

President Biden is scheduled to speak at 3:45 p.m. ET today on the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, Fox News’ Peter Doocy has confirmed.

Evacuation flights remain halted in Kabul while German planes can’t land

Two German military transport planes that were heading to Afghanistan to assist with evacuations are now stuck in Azerbaijan because of the continued chaos ongoing in Kabul. 

The planes that landed in Baku for refueling are staying there for the time being, the Associated Press reported, citing the dpa news agency. 

Images and videos coming out of Kabul have shown Afghans swarming the airport’s runways in desperate attempts to flee the Taliban. But the throngs of people have forced evacuation efforts to be put on hold as aircraft no longer have the space to safely arrive and depart.

US warns Taliban not to interfere with Kabul evacuations

The leader of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Frank McKenzie, reportedly has met with Taliban leaders in Qatar to urge their fighters not to interfere with the ongoing U.S. evacuation efforts in Kabul. 

An official who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity said McKenzie told the Taliban representatives that the U.S. military would respond forcefully – if necessary – to defend the airport. 

Regardless, all U.S. evacuation flights remain suspended in Kabul after hundreds of Afghans flooded the runway Monday, Fox News has confirmed.  

Top Biden official admits fall of Afghanistan ‘unfolded at unexpected speed’

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Monday acknowledged the security situation in Afghanistan “unfolded at unexpected speed,” while maintaining that President Biden stands by his decision to withdraw U.S. troops.  

Heavily armed Taliban fighters swept into Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul on Sunday after the government collapsed, and the Afghani president fled the country, signaling the end of the United States’ 20-year effort to rebuild the nation after the withdrawal of the U.S. military from the region.  

Sullivan, during an appearance on ABC News’ “Good Morning America” Monday defended Biden’s decision to withdraw troops. 

“The president did not think it was inevitable that the Taliban were going to take control of Afghanistan,” Sullivan said. “He thought the Afghan national security forces could step up and fight because we spent 20 years, tens of billions of dollars, training them, giving them the best equipment, giving them support of U.S. forces for 20 years.”  

Click here to read more. 

Video shows Afghans clinging to U.S. Air Force plane

Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin is reporting on the situation at Kabul airport after the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital. 

“There are reports of shots being fired at the Kabul International Airport – tear gas and warning shots to keep people off the runway,” she said. “It’s a real humanitarian crisis right now.” 

Click here to watch. 

Hamas congratulates Taliban for Afghanistan takeover

The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas is congratulating the Taliban for their recent takeover of Afghanistan. 

In a statement, the militants say they welcome “the defeat of the American occupation on all Afghan land” and praised the Taliban’s “courageous leadership on this victory, which was the culmination of its long struggle over the past 20 years,” according to the AP. 

Will Taliban takeover lead to rise in terrorism?

America could face an uptick in terrorist threats following the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan. 

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told U.S. senators on Sunday that officials are expected to revise their assessments about the speed of terrorist groups rebuilding in Afghanistan in the wake of the government’s collapse there, a person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press. 

Terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda may now be able to grow faster than expected, the person added. 

Click here to read more. 

U.S. Embassy flag is flown out of Kabul

Fox News has obtained an image of the U.S. Embassy flag being flown out of Kabul, Afghanistan.  

The Embassy in the Afghan capital closed down on Sunday following reports that officials there were destroying sensitive documents and equipment ahead of the Taliban’s arrival. 

The Taliban now control Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan. 

All U.S. evacuation flights suspended in Kabul, U.S. officials tell Fox News

All U.S. evacuation flights have been suspended at Kabul international airport, Fox News has confirmed. 

A U.S. official says the runway is “not secure” after hundreds of Afghans “breached” the airport walls and flooded the runway. 

Until the runway is cleared of Afghans desperate to escape following the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country, all U.S. military and charter flights are suspended, the official said. 

The U.S. embassy in Kabul closed Sunday, the flag lowered, after the Taliban marched into the Afghan capital without much resistance seizing it in just one day.  

Now the only way for Americans to escape is from the airport in Kabul. 

Former Afghan ambassador to US shares message to veterans devastated by Taliban insurgency

Afghanistan’s first female ambassador to the U.S. expressed deep gratitude for the troops’ service over the last 20 years, telling Fox News that they provided unprecedented opportunities for Afghans.  

Many U.S. veterans of the Afghanistan war have become demoralized and are struggling with their mental health as the Taliban rapidly seized territory throughout the Middle Eastern nation, Fox News reported.  

“You made a huge difference … in lives of people you haven’t met and will never meet,” Roya Rahmani said in a message to distraught and frustrated U.S. veterans during her interview with Fox News.  

Click here to watch the interview.

Afghans flock to Kabul’s airport

Disturbing scenes at Kabul’s airport

A video is widely circulating on social media Monday morning purportedly showing Afghans clinging onto the side of an American C-17 aircraft leaving Kabul airport in a desperate attempt to flee the Taliban. 

Dozens of men could be seen jogging alongside the plane as it was taxiing in preparation 
for takeoff. 


Separate videos later showed people allegedly falling out of the sky from the same plane – although their authenticity could not be independently confirmed by Fox News. 

Kabul airport: 3 killed by gunfire outside terminal building, report says

Three people were killed Monday just outside a terminal at the Kabul International Airport as residents try to flee the country amid the Taliban takeover, a report said.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the bodies were discovered just outside the terminal building.

They were apparently victims of gunfire, the report said. Videos that emerged on social media showed hundreds rushing toward the facility with the occasional sound of gunshots.

Reuters, citing a U.S. official, reported that U.S. troops fired shots into the air to prevent hundreds from running onto the tarmac.

All civilian flights have been canceled at the airport.

US troops in Afghanistan fire into air at Kabul airport: report

U.S. forces at Kabul International Airport fired into the air on Monday in an attempt to gain control of the crowd that is desperate to leave the country after the Taliban takeover, a report said.

Reuters, citing a U.S. official, reported that the shots were fired into the air to prevent hundreds from running onto the tarmac.

“The firing was done to defuse the chaos,” the official said.

Morning dawned in the city on Monday and videos were posted on social media that showed hundreds sprinting to the airport. Some were seen running in families with young children with luggage and bags in tow. On one side of the fence, they see life under Taliban rule, on the other, a chance at freedom.

US prepares to house thousands of Afghan refugees on American military installations

The Department of Defense is preparing to immediately house thousands of Afghan refugees on American military installations, Fox News confirmed late Sunday.

Documents obtained by Fox News show DoD plans to potentially relocate up to 30,000 Afghan SIV applicants into the United States in the immediate future.

“The situation in Afghanistan may lead to DoS [Department of State] allowing Afghan SIV applicants to be moved to temporary housing locations while still being vetted for parolee status,” the document reads.

The bases include Fort McCoy in Wisconsin and Fort Bliss in Texas.

“We want to have the capacity to get up to several thousand immediately, and want to be prepared for the potential of tens of thousands,” Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby told Fox News. “Bliss and McCoy have the capability right now – and what’s advantageous is with a little bit of work, they could increase their capacity in very short order.”

Fall of Kabul an ‘incalculable propaganda victory’ for the Taliban, China: McFarland

K.T. McFarland, former President Trump’s first deputy national security adviser, said in an email to Fox News on Sunday that the Taliban were always focused on the long game and knew that the U.S. would “eventually get fed up” and leave. 

She recalled a conversation with a tribal leader about 15 years ago who told her, “We have nowhere else to go.” “We are here forever,” she recalled him saying.

“We don’t have to defeat you, we just have t wait you out.” She said the Biden administration should have known that the conditions would quickly deteriorate and evacuations should have been called earlier. 

“Now, we will have to shoot our way out,” she said. “Expect China to formally recognize the Taliban government, and force other nations to do the same,” she said. “It will be an incalculable propaganda victory not just for the Taliban, but for China. China will use our Afghan Fiasco as proof that America is in permanent, inevitable decline while China is on the rise.” 

The Taliban swept into Afghanistan’s capital Sunday after the government collapsed and the embattled president joined an exodus of his fellow citizens and foreigners, signaling the end of a costly two-decade U.S. campaign to remake the country. 

McFarland said that there is plenty of blame to go around, “across the board for the entire Republican and Democrat foreign policy establishment.” 

“For years they told the America people that victory in Afghan was right around the corner, all they needed was a few billion more, a few years more, a few thousand more troops,” she said. “They lied.” 

Macron orders France’s embassy to relocate to Afghanistan’s Kabul Airport

French president Emmanuel Macron has ordered the country’s embassy to relocate to Kabul Airport as it works to evacuate French nationals who remain in Afghanistan. The embassy is working in partnership with the Crisis and Support Center of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

“The methodical evacuation of our citizens has been under way for weeks, and a special flight was specifically chartered on July 16 following numerous calls by the Ministry urging our nationals to leave the country,” Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement. “France does not forget those who have worked for her.”

Since May, more than 600 Afghans working for French entities in Afghanistan who could be in danger, as well as their families, have been relocated to France. France’s relocation operation, which began in 2013, has taken in more than 1,350 Afghans to date.

“Despite the rapid pace of events, France intends to do its utmost to continue protecting members of Afghan civil society, rights workers, artists and journalists who are in particular danger due to their activities,” Le Drian’s statement continued. “Everything is currently being done to maintain – to the greatest possible extent – our capacity to issue visas at Kabul Airport, with the help of reinforcements, and enable them to evacuate. France is proving its solidarity with all those who defend freedom.”

In the coming hours, French military forces and aircraft will be deployed to the United Arab Emirates in order to begin initial evacuations to Abu Dhabi.

“France remains in close, constant contact with its European and American partners. It extends its thanks to the Emirati authorities for the facilities they are making available,” Le Drian’s statement concluded. “I want to thank all the employees of our Embassy in Kabul who are a credit to our country and its values under very difficult circumstances, along with all the teams mobilized by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry for the Armed Forces, and our military.”

Dozens of countries call for ‘safe and orderly departure’ of foreign nationals, Afghan refugees

Dozens of countries have called on “all parties to respect and facilitate the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country” as the Taliban has moved into the country’s capitol of Kabul on Sunday.

“Those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan bear responsibility—and accountability—for the protection of human life and property, and for the immediate restoration of security and civil order,” the statement reads. “Afghans and international citizens who wish to depart must be allowed to do so; roads, airports and border crossing must remain open, and calm must be maintained. The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity.  We in the international community stand ready to assist them.”

The statement was originally signed by Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liberia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta , Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Cyprus, Romania, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Togo, Tonga, Uganda, United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Yemen.

Both the United States and
New Zealand
have also signed onto the statement.

India’s Afghan Embassy calls president Ashraf Ghani ‘traitor’ who ‘screwed and f***ed everything up’

India’s Afghan Embassy has called out the country’s president Ashraf Ghani a “traitor” who “screwed and f***ed everything up” after he fled from the country on Sunday as the Taliban moved in on the capitol of Kabul.

“We are all banging our heads in shame. Ghani Baba @ashrafghani fled with his crooks. He screwed and f***ed everything up,” the embassy tweeted Sunday evening. “We apologize to everyone for serving the fugitive. May Allah punish the traitor! His legacy will be a stain on our history.”

The Taliban took control of Kabul’s Presidential Palace on Sunday just hours after Ghani’s departure. Following their takeover, hundreds of personnel have been evacuated from the U.S. Embassy.

The personnel, along with Afghan refugees residing in Kabul, have moved to Hamid Karzai International Airport in an effort to flee the country.

Afghanistan war veterans feeling demoralized, struggling with mental health amid US withdrawal

With U.S. troops having left Afghanistan after nearly two decades of fighting in the region, many veterans who served in combat deployments are reportedly struggling with poor mental health and struggling to make sense of it all as they watch the Taliban retake the country. 

In an interview with Fox News
, Independence Fund CEO Sarah Verardo said the organization has been fielding a flood of calls from military troop leaders, veterans and spouses who say they are feeling angry, isolated, and demoralized as they watch the latest developments unfold in Afghanistan. 

U.S. State Department, Department of Defense to accelerate evacuation for Afghans eligible for visas

The U.S. State Department and Department of Defense announced in a joint statement that they are working to secure Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan and “enable the safe departure of U.S. and allied personnel” through civilian and military flights. 

“Over the next 48 hours, we will have expanded our security presence to nearly 6,000 troops, with a mission focused solely on facilitating these efforts and will be taking over air traffic control,” the agencies said. “Tomorrow and over the coming days, we will be transferring out of the country thousands of American citizens who have been resident in Afghanistan, as well as locally employed staff of the U.S. mission in Kabul and their families and other particularly vulnerable Afghan nationals.”

In addition, U.S. officials will accelerate the evacuation of thousands of Afghans eligible for U.S. Special Immigrant Visas, nearly 2,000 of whom have already arrived in the United States over the past two weeks.

“For all categories, Afghans who have cleared security screening will continue to be transferred directly to the United States,” officials added. “And we will find additional locations for those yet to be screened.”

Rep. McCaul: Biden ‘gonna have blood on his hands’ for Afghanistan withdrawal

Congressman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said Biden is “gonna have blood on his hands” after his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. The move has prompted the Taliban to move in on the country’s capital of Kabul.

“This is gonna be a stain on this president and his presidency. And I think he’s gonna have blood on his hands from what they did,” the top-ranking official on the House Affairs Committee told CNN ‘State of the Union’ host Jake Tapper. “They totally blew this one. They completely underestimated the strength of the Taliban.” 

McCaul argued that Biden “100 percent” owns the Afghanistan situation.

“Once he made the decision, he could have done certain things. He could have planned for it. He could have had a strategy for this, but instead they had no strategy,” McCaul added.”The consequences from a national security standpoint are severe because now they can say they defeated the United States in Afghanistan, the infidel, just like they defeated the Soviet Union. This will have long-term ramifications.”

Rep. Crenshaw slams Pelosi tweet commending Biden on Afghanistan

Congressman Dan Crenshaw, R-TX., blasted House speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a tweet Sunday evening for her tweet commending President Biden for “the clarity of purpose of his statement on Afghanistan and his action.”

“The President is on vacation while American credibility burns and a fresh terrorist safe haven is born,” Crenshaw replied. “But ok let’s “commend him.””

Crenshaw’s criticism comes as the Taliban has taken over Kabul’s Presidential Palace and hundreds of personnel have evacuated the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan on Sunday.

In response to the situation, Biden has ordered 6,000 troops to assist on the ground in Afghanistan. General Frank Mckenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, also met with Taliban leaders in Doha, Qatar on Sunday to warn them to not attack Americans evacuating Kabul or else the U.S. military would “strike back”

Taliban looking to form ‘open, inclusive Islamic government’ in Afghanistan, spokesperson says

A Taliban spokesman and negotiator told The Associated Press that the militant group is holding talks aimed at forming an “open, inclusive Islamic government” in Afghanistan.

Suhail Shaheen spoke to the outlet after the Taliban overran most of the country in a matter of days and pushed into the capital, Kabul, as the United States scrambled to withdraw diplomats and other civilians.

Al Jazeera, who was given exclusive access to the Taliban’s press conference from Kabul’s Presidential Palace, released photos of Taliban leaders addressing the media flanked by dozens of armed fighters.

Earlier, a Taliban official said the group would announce a new government from the presidential palace, but those plans appear to be on hold.

Richard Grenell: White House ‘outing Intel officials’ in Afghanistan meeting tweet

Former acting director of U.S. National Intelligence Richard Grenell blasted a tweet from the White House on Sunday which showed a meeting between President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their national security team on the situation in Afghanistan.

The meeting discussed updates on the draw down of civilian personnel in Afghanistan, evacuations of SIV applicants and other Afghan allies, and the ongoing security situation in Kabul.

“Who took this picture outing Intel officials?!,” Grenell said. “Dear God.

Biden’s move to withdraw U.S. military presence signals the swift unraveling of the work done over nearly 20 years of war. The U.S. first went to Afghanistan following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, toppling the ruling Taliban who had harbored terrorist mastermind Usama bin Laden.

On Sunday, the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan was evacuated as the Taliban took over the Presidential Palace in Kabul.

World leaders blame Biden, express disappointment with Afghanistan

World leaders are speaking out about their disappointment with the security situation in Afghanistan, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson going so far as to pin the blame on President Joe Biden and the United States.

Johnson said it was “fair to say the US decision to pull out has accelerated things, but this has in many ways been a chronicle of an event foretold,” but urged western leaders to work together to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a “breeding ground for terrorism.” 

“I think it is very important that the West should work collectively to get over to that new government – be it by the Taliban or anybody else – that nobody wants Afghanistan once again to be a breeding ground for terror and we don’t think it is in the interests of the people of Afghanistan that it should lapse back into that pre-2001 status,” Johnson told Sky News.

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying he is “heartbroken” by the crisis on the ground and that the government is “constantly monitoring the rapidly evolving situation.” He also noted that the “security and safety” of Canadians in the country remain his top priority, as the country moved to suspended diplomatic operations in Afghanistan and shuttered its embassy in Kabul.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison added that his government would “redouble” efforts to evacuate people in Afghanistan that have aided the Australian effort in the country.

“Our focus now is to ensure that we continue to support those who have aided us and ensuring that 400 people have already been brought to Australia as we have been working on this quite rapidly in recent months as the situation continues to deteriorate,” Morrison said.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib calls for U.S. to open to refugees ‘fleeing the consequences of our actions’

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., has called on the U.S. to open its doors to “shelter refugees fleeing the consequences of our actions” in the wake of the Taliban taking control in Afghanistan on Sunday.

She argued the Afghanistan situation is “the horrible consequences of endless war and failed US policy going back to the 1980s when we backed the Taliban against the Soviets.”

“If we don’t start putting everyday people first, no matter what country they’re born in, this will keep happening,” Tlaib said in a series of tweets.”Innocent people suffer the horrors of war while political leaders and arms-dealing corporations sit back and make billions.”

On Sunday, the Taliban took control of Kabul’s Presidential Palace. In addition, personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan are being evacuated.

Trump calls on Biden to ‘resign in disgrace’ over Afghanistan situation

Donald Trump has called on his successor, President Joe Biden, to “resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen to Afghanistan” as the Taliban has now taken control over Kabul’s Presidential Palace and the U.S. embassy has been evacuated.

The former president also blamed Biden for a “tremendous surge in COVID, the Border catastrophe, the destruction of energy independence, and our crippled economy.”

“It shouldn’t be a big deal, because he wasn’t elected legitimately in the first place!,” Trump added. 

Other world leaders have also expressed disappointment in the Afghanistan situation
, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Sen. Blackburn: Afghanistan situation ‘could have been avoided’

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., told “Sunday Morning Futures” during an exclusive interview that the situation in Afghanistan “could have been avoided,” arguing that the plan former President Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had in place was “the right way” to handle the region. 

Blackburn told host Maria Bartiromo that she is “heartbroken” for the Afghan people and Gold Star Families to witness “20 years of gains go away.”  

“We know that the sacrifice there [in Afghanistan] has given us a period where we were not hearing about ISIS attacks and beheadings on the news every night,” she said. “The steps that Secretary Pompeo and President Trump made were able to send the message, ‘If you cross us, there is a price to pay.’”

She added that ‘Joe Biden is weak and they [the Taliban] are not fearing him.”  

Mike Pence slams Biden admin’s ‘disastrous’ Afghanistan withdrawal

Former vice president Mike Pence called out the Biden administration on Twitter Sunday evening for its ‘disastrous’ Afghanistan withdrawal.

“The Biden Administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan dishonors the memory of those heroic Americans who gave the last full measure of devotion and all who bravely served there defending freedom these past 20 years,” Pence tweeted. “God Bless Our Troops & Our Allies in this Dark Hour.”

His comments came as the Taliban addressed the media on Sunday after taking over the Presidential Palace in Kabul. Personnel from the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan have also been evacuated.

Protesters have gathered in front of the White House and taken to the streets of New York City calling on both the Biden administration and U.N. to take action. The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Afghanistan Monday morning (10 am EDT). 

Afghan protesters gather outside of White House as Taliban takes over Kabul’s Presidential Palace

Afghan protesters gather outside of White House as Taliban takes over Kabul’s Presidential Palace

Afghan protesters gather outside of White House as Taliban takes over Kabul’s Presidential Palace

Afghan protesters gather outside of White House as Taliban takes over Kabul’s Presidential Palace

Roughly 300 Afghan protesters have gathered outside the White House on Sunday, carrying signs urging the United Nations to take action on the situation in Afghanistan and calling for an end to violence.

The protest comes as the Taliban addressed the media Sunday after taking over the Presidential Palace in Kabul. Personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan have also been evacuated.

The latest events, which take place as the U.S. withdraws its military presence, signals the swift unraveling of the work done over nearly 20 years of war. The U.S. first went to Afghanistan following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, toppling the ruling Taliban who had harbored terrorist mastermind Usama bin Laden.

The move coincides with a similar Afghanistan protest taking place in the streets of New York City.

Fox News’ Cameron Cawthorne contributed to this report

Gloating Taliban commander gives press conference inside Kabul’s Presidential Palace

The Taliban has officially taken over the Presidential Palace in Kabul, according to Al Jazeera.

Taliban leadership addressed the media on Sunday while surrounded by dozens of armed fighters.

Hundreds of U.S. employees evacuated from Afghanistan embassy

Over 500 U.S. employees have been evacuated from the Afghanistan embassy, a defense source tells Fox News

This as President Biden has ordered 1,000 more paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne to assist with evacuation efforts in Kabul.

Two U.S. defense officials tell Fox News that 6,000 U.S. troops will now be on the ground in Afghanistan.

Afghan protesters mobilize outside of U.N., take to NYC streets

Afghan protesters have taken to the streets of New York City, according to video footage shared on Twitter by independent journalist Brendan Gutenschwager.

The protesters, who have mobilized outside of the United Nations, can be heard chanting ‘Please free Afghanistan’

US CENTCOM Commander Gen. Frank McKenzie meets with Taliban leaders

U.S. officials tell Fox News General Frank Mckenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, met with Taliban leaders Sunday in Doha, Qatar to warn them to not attack Americans evacuating Kabul or else the U.S. military would “strike back”

United Nations to hold emergency meeting on Afghanistan

The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Afghanistan Monday morning (10 am EDT) at the request of Estonia and Norway.

Council diplomats said Sunday that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will brief council members on the latest situation following the Taliban takeover of the capital, Kabul.

The U.N. chief on Friday had urged the Taliban to immediately halt their offensive in Afghanistan and negotiate “in good faith” to avert a prolonged civil war. He also said he is “deeply disturbed by early indications that the Taliban are imposing severe restrictions in the areas under their control, particularly targeting women and journalists.

Taliban officials: there will be no transitional government in Afghanistan

Two Taliban officials told Reuters on Sunday there would be no transitional government in Afghanistan and that the group expects a complete handover of power.

President Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan after Taliban fighters entered the capital Kabul earlier on Sunday, capping their return to power two decades after being forced out by U.S.-led forces.

The government’s acting interior minister, Abdul Sattar Mirzakawal, had said that power would be handed over to a transitional administration.

Taliban to declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan this evening

A Taliban official says the group will soon declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace in the capital, Kabul.

That was the name of the country under the Taliban government ousted by U.S.-led forces after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media.

The group posted to Twitter an image of leaders sitting at President Ashraf Ghani’s desk.

U.S. embassy lowers flag as operations move to Kabul airport

The U.S. embassy finished its evacuation and lowered the American flag as officials moved operations to the Kabul airport, two sources familiar with the situation told Fox News. 

The government and aid organizations are scrambling to get a slew of citizens – including diplomats, dual nationals, aid workers and others – out of the country. 

France similarly moved operations from its long-standing embassy to the airport as it attempted to move citizens out of Afghanistan, with the temporary destination of Abu Dhabi. 

The sources also indicated that officials expect the Taliban to occupy the presidential palace, raise their flag and declare the emirate this evening. 

Fox News’ Rich Edson contributed to this report. 

Defense Secretary blames Afghan collapse on lack of “willpower,” “leadership” during call Sunday

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin laid the blame for the collapse of the Afghan forces on a lack of “willpower” and “leadership” during an all House member call, a member of Congress told Fox News.

The call, which occurred around 9 a.m. Sunday morning, lasted half an hour and included Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley.

Austin said that the Afghan army had “all the advantages,” including three times as many troops and twenty years of training, but that “you can’t buy willpower and can’t buy leadership.” He added that he was “beyond disappointed” that the Afghan military offered “zero resistance” in most places.

Members of Congress raised concerns over the equipment and weapons the U.S. provided to the Afghan military, which members now fear are in Taliban hands. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was reportedly “livid” over the situation.  

Blinken indicated that the U.S. has prepared for all scenarios, including the one playing out in the country right now.

Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report.

Afghan security forces surrender Bagram air base to Taliban

Afghan security forces have turned over Bagram air base to the Taliban, district chief Darwaish Raufi confirmed to the Associated Press.

The former U.S. base also serves as a prison, which held around 5,000 inmates from both the Taliban and Islamic State.

Meanwhile, Afghan leaders have created a coordination council to meet with the Taliban and manage the transfer of the power “to prevent chaos and reduce the suffering of the people.” 

U.S. embassy in Afghanistan advises Americans to ‘shelter in place’ as Kabul airport under fire

The U.S. embassy issued new guidance for American citizens attempting to flee the country as the Taliban take control of the government.

Previously, nationals were told to head to the Kabul airport, but the embassy advised that the airport was now “taking fire,” and the security situation has changed.

“We are instructing U.S. citizens to shelter in place,” a statement from the embassy read.

The embassy also posted a Repatriation Assistance Request form and advised U.S. citizens to not call the embassy for updates or details on flights.

Sen. Joni Ernst: Biden must be clear about threat, never forget US troops’ sacrifices

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-IA, wrote the following op-ed:

The news out of Afghanistan is grim. The Taliban are rapidly advancing across the country and are reportedly in the capital city. Huge swaths of Afghanistan are now controlled by Taliban fighters. 

Afghan Security Forces are melting away at first contact and giving up city centers and provincial capitals. U.S. equipment intended to help a burgeoning Afghan government is instead being captured and used by our adversaries. 

Brave Afghans and their families who supported our mission are being hunted and slaughtered. Women and girls who were just starting to enjoy their freedoms are again faced with oppression and subjugation by a ruthless Taliban regime. 

Read more.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani flees country

Afghan President Ghani has fled the country, Fox News has confirmed.

“That’s it. It’s over,” a U.S. official said.

TOLO News first reported Ghani’s departure.

Biden officials to brief US House of Representatives

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley are briefing the U.S. House of Representatives at 9:45 a.m. ET.

The virtual briefing on the situation in Afghanistan is open to all House members.

European diplomats prepare to evacuate as Taliban enter Kabul

European officials move to secure diplomats and nationals still in Afghanistan as the Taliban advance into the nation’s capital. In some cases, the evacuations include Afghan nationals who assisted the various nations in their diplomatic missions.

German news agency dpa reported Sunday that the German military is sending transport planes to ferry evacuees from Kabul to a base in Central Asia.

Meanwhile, Italian media reported Sunday that most personnel at the Italian embassy will be transferred to the capital’s airport for evacuation. Italy’s defense minister has said that 228 Afghans and their families have already been transferred to Italy, calling it a “moral duty” to protect those who had worked with Italy and who would face reprisals by the Taliban.

The U.K.’s ambassador to Afghanistan is being airlifted out by Monday evening while the defense ministry deploys 600 troops to help evacuate some 3,000 nationals.

Czech Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar said his government will help those Afghans who worked with Czech troops during their deployment in NATO missions.

US embassy in Kabul to close soon, official says

The full evacuation and closure of the U.S. embassy in Kabul is expected, “any day now,” a U.S. defense official tells Fox News.  

“We are going to do whatever we need to do to protect our people,” the official said Sunday. 

The Pentagon is weighing sending additional troops to Kabul to help secure the airport on top of the 5,000 announced by President Biden yesterday. 

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.

US evacuating staff from Kabul embassy that could close ‘any day now’: officials

The U.S. has started evacuating embassy staff in Kabul, officials confirm to Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson.

The U.S. Embassy remains open, but could close “any day now,” one official said now that Kabul is surrounded by the Taliban and video on social media shows some fighters entering the Afghan capital.

Flights of American diplomat personnel back to the United States from Kabul have also started, the official added. 

Taliban negotiators heading to presidential palace to prepare for a ‘transfer’ of power: AP

An Afghan official has told the Associated Press that Taliban negotiators were heading to the presidential palace in Kabul to prepare for a ‘transfer’ of power on Sunday.

Taliban enter Kabul outskirts, await ‘peaceful transfer’ of Afghanistan capital

Taliban fighters entered the outskirts of Kabul on Sunday, with a spokesman for the terror organization saying they were expecting a “peaceful transfer” of Afghanistan’s capital city to their control.

Spokesman Suhail Shaheen made the remarks to the Al-Jazeera English news channel in Qatar, according to The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry of neighboring Uzbekistan claimed Sunday that 84 Aghan government military personnel had crossed into that country, seeking assistance as the Taliban continues to make gains ahead of a scheduled final pullout of U.S.-NATO forces.

Read More.

Afghanistan President Ghani makes first national address since Taliban advance

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said the country is in “danger of instability” Saturday as the Taliban continued its advance on the capital, according to BBC News.

He also appealed for international help in his first public address since the Taliban intensified its efforts this week.

Ghani is backed by the U.S.

Nancy Pelosi requests briefing

The Biden Administration will brief House members on Afghanistan virtually Sunday morning following a request by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and will be over unclassified material, according to reports.

An in-person classified briefing on the situation will reportedly be held next week.

Sen. Cotton slams Afghanistan chaos

“The fiasco in Afghanistan wasn’t just predictable, it was predicted,” Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton said in a statement Saturday evening. “Joe Biden’s ill-planned retreat has now humiliated America and put at risk thousands of Americans left in Kabul. At a minimum, President Biden must unleash American air power to destroy every Taliban fighter in the vicinity of Kabul until we can save our fellow Americans. Anything less will further confirm Joe Biden’s impotence to the world.”

Former CIA director General Petraeus calls situation in Afghanistan ‘catastrophic’

Former CIA director and retired Army General David Petraeus called the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan “disastrous” and “catastrophic” for not only the U.S. but the world, in a Saturday interview. 

“This is an enormous national security set back and it is on the verge of getting much worse unless we decide to take really significant action,” Petraeus told Rita Cosby on “The Rita Cosby Show” on WABC Radio.

Read more.

Taliban executions, beheadings in Afghanistan strike fear among those stuck inside country

Afghan citizens face executions, forced marriages and other possible war crimes as the Taliban sweeps across the country, wrestling control from ineffective government forces as the U.S. troop withdrawal nears, according to U.S. officials and watchdog groups.

Read more.

Sen. Mitt Romney ‘cannot understand’ hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan

“I understand but disagree with those who felt we should leave Afghanistan,” the Utah Republican tweeted Saturday evening. “I cannot understand why it has been done with such tragic human cost; without an effective strategy to defend our partners; and with inestimable shock to our nation’s credibility, reliability, and honor.”

The message comes has the Taliban has seized control of more than two thirds of the country, facing ineffective resistance from Afghan government forces, and the U.S. prepares to withdraw by the end of the month.

The State Department said Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Saturday about the Taliban’s violent offensive.

“They discussed the urgency of ongoing diplomatic and political efforts to reduce the violence,” a spokesperson said. “The Secretary emphasized the United States’ commitment to a strong diplomatic and security relationship with the Government of Afghanistan and our continuing support for the people of Afghanistan.”

1,000 paratroopers from 82nd Airborne heading to Kabul: officials

The 82nd Airborne Division’s alert brigade will send 1,000 paratroopers to Kabul next week to reach the White House’s goal of 5,000 troops in the city to protect the evacuation of U.S. personnel, Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson reports.

There were already 1,000 U.S. service members on the ground, according to defense officials. Another 3,000 Marines and soldiers will be in place by the end of the week.

The remaining two battalions of the 82nd Airborne Brigade Combat Team will stage in Kuwait as a ready reserve.

State Department ‘exploring options’ for Americans looking to escape Afghanistan

The U.S. embassy in Kabul sent a bulletin to Americans in Afghanistan Saturday informing them of repatriation assistance for U.S. citizens looking to leave the country as commercial flights are booked solid.

The aid is available for U.S. citizens and their spouses and children, the parents of minors who are citizens and, pending availability, lawful permanent residents.

Biden announces a 5,000 troop deployment to Afghanistan to ensure ‘orderly and safe’ drawdown

President Biden has released a lengthy statement on the crisis in Afghanistan. He announces a deployment of 5,000 U.S. troops to the country to ensure an “orderly and safe” drawdown.

He also blames President Trump for the current situation, saying he “inherited” a deal “that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on US forces.”

“I faced a choice—follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our forces and our allies’ forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict,” he says.

Full statement here:

“Over the past several days I have been in close contact with my national security team to give them direction on how to protect our interests and values as we end our military mission in Afghanistan.

First, based on the recommendations of our diplomatic, military, and intelligence teams, I have authorized the deployment of approximately 5,000 US troops to make sure we can have an orderly and safe drawdown of US personnel and other allied personnel and an orderly and safe evacuation of Afghans who helped our troops during our mission and those at special risk from the Taliban advance.

Second, I have ordered our armed forces and our intelligence community to ensure that we will maintain the capability and the vigilance to address future terrorist threats from Afghanistan.

Third, I have directed the Secretary of State to support President Ghani and other Afghan leaders as they seek to prevent further bloodshed and pursue a political settlement. Secretary Blinken will also engage with key regional stakeholders.

Fourth, we have conveyed to the Taliban representatives in Doha, via our Combatant Commander, that any action on their part on the ground in Afghanistan, that puts US personnel or our mission at risk there, will be met with a swift and strong US military response.

Fifth, I have placed Ambassador Tracey Jacobson in charge of a whole of government effort to process, transport, and relocate Afghan special immigrant visa applicants and other Afghan allies. Our hearts go out to the brave Afghan men and women who are now at risk. We are working to evacuate thousands of those who helped our cause and their families.

That is what we are going to do. Now let me be clear about how we got here.

America went to Afghanistan 20 years ago to defeat the forces that attacked this country on September 11th. That mission resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden over a decade ago and the degradation of al Qaeda. And yet, 10 years later, when I became President, a small number of US troops still remained on the ground, in harm’s way, with a looming deadline to withdraw them or go back to open combat.

Over our country’s 20 years at war in Afghanistan, America has sent its finest young men and women, invested nearly $1 trillion dollars, trained over 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, equipped them with state-of-the-art military equipment, and maintained their air force as part of the longest war in US history. One more year, or five more years, of US military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country. And an endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me.

When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor—which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019—that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on US forces. Shortly before he left office, he also drew US forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500. Therefore, when I became President, I faced a choice—follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our forces and our allies’ forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict. I was the fourth President to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan—two Republicans, two Democrats. I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth.”

Meghan McCain torches Biden admin for welcoming ‘ISIS 3.0’ with Afghan withdrawal

Former “View” co-host Meghan McCain went on a tear against the Biden administration Friday over the turbulent U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan – as the Taliban continued to gain more ground in the war-torn nation. 

Reports that the capital city of Kabul could fall any day to the terrorist organization have sparked a panic in Washington with the Pentagon rushing 3,000 troops to help evacuate U.S. personnel from the American Embassy. McCain torched the execution of the military withdrawal and the turmoil that has been caused on the ground, taking a swipe at President Biden.

“Even if you thought leaving Afghanistan was the right decision -this is a reckless, dangerous, blundering, and embarrassing withdrawal,” McCain began a series of tweets. “We left our translators, women, children, people who helped us for 20 years to be slaughtered & our president just called a lid until Wednesday.”

Click for more:

Afghanistan’s embattled President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday said he has started consultations on how to unite the country after the Taliban have seized large parts of the country ahead of the U.S. withdrawal.

“As a historic responsibility, I am trying to not let the war that has been imposed on the Afghan people cause the further killing of innocents, the loss of 20 years of achievement, the destruction of public institutions and longstanding instability,” Ghani said in a video message, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Taliban has advanced through major cities including Herat and Kandahar, and control about 20 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. It is raising concerns that Kabul, held by the Western backed government, could fall soon.

McCarthy calls Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal an ’embarrassment to our nation’

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has slammed President Biden’s “complete mismanagement” of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and called for the U.S. military to continue to provide “close air support” to combat the surging Taliban forces. 

McCarthy spoke to Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States, Adela Raz, on Friday and then lashed out at the Biden administration. 

“The White House has no discernable plan other than pleading with the Taliban,” McCarthy said in a statement late Friday. “The bungled withdrawal, reminiscent of his failed withdrawal from Iraq, is an embarrassment to our nation.”

McCarthy said Biden must not abandon allies. 

“President Biden must continue to provide the close air support necessary for the Afghan government to protect themselves from the Taliban and make sure al Qaeda and ISIS do not gain a foothold due to the Biden administration’s disastrous policies,” the top House Republican said. 

Click for more here:

McConnell pushes Biden to ‘hammer’ Taliban with airstrikes as Afghanistan spirals

ICYMI: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Friday pressed President Biden to order airstrikes against Taliban forces following what he described as an “urgent conversation” with Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States, Adela Raz.

McConnell and other GOP figures have accused the Biden administration of botching a planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in recent days. In a scathing statement, the Kentucky senator said the situation in Afghanistan was a “debacle” that was prompting a humanitarian crisis.”

“The Administration should move quickly to hammer Taliban advances with airstrikes, provide critical support to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) defending the capital, and prevent the seemingly imminent fall of the city.”

More here:

White House releases image of Biden’s video conference on Afghanistan

The White House has released an image of President Biden’s national security meeting on the efforts in Afghanistan, as well as the situation in Haiti.

“This morning, the President and Vice President held a video conference with the national security team to discuss the ongoing efforts to draw down our civilian footprint in Afghanistan. In addition, the President and Vice President were briefed on the earthquake in Haiti,” the White House said.

Another Afghanistan city falls to the Taliban

The Associated Press reports that Mazar-e-Sharif, the fourth-largest city in Afghanistan, fell to the Taliban on Saturday.

Lawmaker Abas Ebrahimzada said the province’s national army corps surrendered first, which prompted the pro-government militias and other forces to lose morale and give up in the face of the Taliban onslaught, the outlet reported.

The provincial installations, including the governor’s office, are now under the control of the Taliban, the lawmaker said.

It is the latest dramatic advance by the Taliban ahead of the U.S. withdrawal of the last of its troops in less than three weeks.

The Taliban has advanced through major cities including Herat and Kandahar, and control about 20 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. The western-backed government now holds Kabul and a smattering of other provinces.

Biden, Harris hold video conference with national security team on Afghanistan

A White House official tells Fox News that President Biden and Vice President Harris held a secure video conference with the national security team to discuss “the ongoing efforts to drawdown our civilian footprint in Afghanistan, evacuate SIV applicants, and monitor the evolving security situation.”

The officials says Biden and Harris were joined by the secretaries of State and Defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the chief of staff, the national security advisor and homeland security advisor.

Second group of Marines arrives in Kabul ahead of full evacuation

From Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson: A second group of U.S. Marines have arrived at Kabul international airport on Saturday to begin evacuating Americans, a Pentagon spokesman tells Fox News. 

Up to 3,000 U.S. troops, including a U.S. Army battalion, are expected to arrive by the end of the weekend. 

Fox News has learned the U.S. military is preparing for a full evacuation from Kabul and closure of the U.S. embassy, if ordered by the State Department. For now, the embassy remains open.

Taliban approach Kabul’s outskirts, attack north Afghan city

The Taliban seized two more provinces on Saturday and approached the outskirts of Afghanistan’s capital while also launching a multi-pronged assault on a major northern city defended by former warlords, Afghan officials said.

The insurgents have captured much of northern, western and southern Afghanistan in a breakneck offensive less than three weeks before the United States is set to withdraw its last troops, raising fears of a full militant takeover or another Afghan civil war.

The Taliban captured all of Logar province, just south of the capital, Kabul, and detained local officials, said Hoda Ahmadi, a lawmaker from the province. She said the Taliban have reached the Char Asyab district, just 11 kilometers (7 miles) south of Kabul.

Afghan president vows to “not give up” on achievements as U.S. troops arrive for evacuations

Around 3,000 troops will arrive in Kabul over the next 24 hours as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani vows to “not give up” on achievements, Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson reports. 

The Taliban have the capital surrounded after insurgents claimed control over half the provincial capitals in the country. 

The U.S. has invested $85 billion in the Afghan army, but that investment has failed to return dividends that officials had hoped for as the country’s situation continues to crumble. 

The troops will help evacuate thousands of Americans from the embassy as officials destroy sensitive documents ahead of the evacuation. 

The Pentagon has refused to call the operation a combat mission.  

Taliban seize province near capital, attack northern city

The Taliban seized a province just south of Afghanistan’s capital and launched a multi-pronged assault early Saturday on a major city in the north defended by powerful former warlords, Afghan officials said.

The insurgents have captured much of northern, western and southern Afghanistan in a breakneck offensive less than three weeks before the United States is set to withdraw its last troops, raising fears of a full militant takeover or another Afghan civil war.

The Taliban captured all of Logar and detained its provincial officials, Hoda Ahmadi, a lawmaker from the province, said Saturday.

She said the Taliban have reached the Char Asyab district, just 11 kilometers (7 miles) south of the capital, Kabul.The Taliban also attacked the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif from several directions, setting off heavy fighting on its outskirts, according to Munir Ahmad Farhad, a spokesman for the provincial governor. There was no immediate word on casualties.

Former Navy SEAL says US policy in Afghanistan has been ‘like a Star Trek cosplay convention’ since

Blackwater founder Erik Prince condemned the potential collapse of Afghanistan, following orders by the Biden administration for a troop withdrawal by the end of the month, saying the Taliban’s increasing resurgence is the product of 20 years of failed military policy.

Prince, a retired Navy SEAL who served in the Middle East, told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that “half-baked politicians” in Washington are to blame for what is happening in Afghanistan.

“It’s the same collection of national security elites in Washington that has failed for that entire 20 years. They took what was a brilliant victory by special operations and the CIA and the first six months after 9/11 and turned it into a massive failed nation-building exercise,” Prince said.

Read More.

The U.N. Security Council is mulling a statement that would condemn the Taliban’s offensive in Afghanistan and warn that it would not support a government imposed by force or the restoration of the Taliban’s failed state, which lasted from 1996 until the U.S. invasion after Sept. 11, 2001, according to the Associated Press, which obtained a draft of the document.

It follows a statement from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urging the Taliban to step off the battlefield and back to the negotiating table, even as the Islamist militants are sweeping through the country and seizing tracts of territory from government forces.

Sen. Joni Ernst, first female combat vet in Senate, laments Afghan collapse

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate, condemned the potential collapse of Afghanistan to the Taliban, as the insurgent group gains control of one provincial capital after another in short order ahead of President Biden’s August 31 troop withdrawal date.

Read more.

Pentagon pressed on whether Taliban has advantage in Afghanistan

The Afghan military needs to step up its efforts to counter the Taliban’s rapid expansion of territorial control in Afghanistan, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a news briefing Friday.

Read more.

US officials in Afghanistan are destroying sensitive docs at embassy in Kabul

As the Taliban closes in on the Afghan capital city of Kabul, sources have told Fox News that officials are destroying sensitive documents and equipment at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

Read more.

US military to help evacuate Americans from embassy in Kabul: officials

The U.S. military will help evacuate Americans from the embassy in Kabul as the security situation deteriorates across Afghanistan, two officials confirmed Thursday to Fox News. The plans to evacuate the Americans were briefed to President Biden earlier Thursday in order to get his approval, one official added. The military will evacuate “thousands” of American citizens and Afghan interpreters from Kabul. 

Read more.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby pushed back against comparisons between the current situation in Afghanistan to the fall of Saigon in 1975 during a news conference Friday.

“We’re not focused on the history of the Vietnam War,” he said.

He also said he had no “crystal ball” and could not predict whether the Afghan government would succumb to Taliban offensives tearing across the country. However, he vowed that the U.S. would ensure that a terrorist threat would not reemerge in the region.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said U.S. air support was still an option to fight Taliban and Al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan but that Afghan forces would be the determining factor as the Taliban sweeps across the country and the U.S. draws down its military presence.

“It’s indigenous forces that can make the difference on the ground,” he said in a Friday afternoon news briefing.

But later in the news conference, he added: “We have noted with great concern the speed with which they have been moving and the lack of resistance that they have faced.”

He also said the Taliban is trying to “isolate” Kabul, the Afghan capital, but the city is not under imminent threat at the moment as the U.S. military assists State Department personnel in getting out.

KT McFarland: Afghanistan embassy situation is ‘completely desperate’

The former deputy national security adviser discusses President Biden’s troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and the larger foreign policy ramifications.

Biden State Department official deletes tweet about Afghan women

A senior Biden administration State Department official quickly deleted a tweet she posted warning that Afghan women “stand to lose everything” as the Taliban surges toward Kabul.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Molly Montgomery posted a tweet early Friday morning as the Taliban continues to gain territory and power amid the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“Woke up with a heavy heart, thinking about all the Afghan women and girls I worked with during my time in Kabul,” Montgomery wrote. “They were the beneficiaries of many of the gains we made, and now they stand to lose everything.”

Montgomery deleted the tweet soon after posting it. A spokesperson for the State Department told Fox News in a Friday email statement that Montgomery “deleted the tweet on her own volition.”

Click here to read more on Fox News.

NATO leader speaks out about situation in Afghanistan

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, following a meeting with NATO ambassadors, told reporters Friday that the “allies are deeply concerned about the high levels of violence caused by the Taliban’s offensive, including attacks on civilians, targeted killings, and reports of other serious human rights abuses,” according to the Associated Press. 

He added that “the Taliban need to understand that they will not be recognized by the international community if they take the country by force,” and that NATO is “committed to supporting a political solution to the conflict.” 

Internally displaced Afghans from northern provinces, who fled their home due to fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security personnel, take refuge in a public park in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Friday.

Mike Pompeo: US needs to pivot to two things to make this work

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in an opinion column for, gives his thoughts on what the U.S. now needs to do in Afghanistan. 

“First, reduce the threat from radical Islamic terror in that country and make sure that we do all we can to prevent a repeat of the events, now almost exactly 20 years ago, that killed 3,000 people in the United States,” he says. “Second, get our brave young soldiers, airmen and Marines home and focus on terror all around the world and the great power struggle emanating from China. 

Click here to read more on Fox News.

U.S. Marines heading to Kabul while fighting reported to be taking place 30 miles outside of it

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson is reporting that the first of three infantry battalions (two Marine Corps, one Army) are now in the air heading to Kabul from their pre-staged base in Kuwait.

A total 3,000 Marines and soldiers will be landing at Kabul’s international airport in the coming hours. 

When asked how soon Kabul could fall, a U.S. defense official tells Fox News, “It could be tomorrow,” and then added, “or it could be a month.” Fierce fighting is now taking place 30 miles outside Kabul, the official added.

While there are no plans to close the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and evacuate all Americans right now, the U.S. military is preparing for that order to be given, the official said. 

A former U.S. military official with years of combat time in Afghanistan was more blunt in his assessment and recommended to Fox News the following: “I would pull every American out of Afghanistan and then level the U.S. embassy.”

Former CIA Station Chief weighs in on future of Afghanistan, Kabul

Former CIA Station Chief Dan Hoffman told “America’s Newsroom” Friday that Kabul will be under siege within days and that the Biden administration did not plan effectively. 

“Those major cities are falling like dominoes. Kabul is going to be under siege within days, probably, and so we have to factor in now the likelihood that Al Qaeda will homestead with even greater impunity on the territory that the Taliban controls,” he said. 

“We need to have a new plan for how we’re going to defend ourselves in the region, starting with our embassy and beyond here in the homeland from the attacks that Al Qaeda will plan on that ungoverned space,” he added. “There’s no question that the Biden administration did not plan effectively. The evidence of that is clear.” 

Click here to watch the interview. 

A Taliban fighter stands guard over surrendered Afghan security member forces in the city of Ghazni, southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Friday.

Germany reducing Kabul embassy staff while Denmark, Norway announce closures

A number of European countries are announcing changes to their current embassy operations in Kabul as the security situation is rapidly deteriorating in the Afghan capital. 

Germany’s foreign minister says a “crisis support team” is being sent to Kabul to ramp up security at their embassy there while its staffing will be curtailed to “the operationally necessary, absolute minimum,” according to the Associated Press. 

Denmark and Norway say their embassies will be closed, as all three countries are making plans to evacuate staff. 

Taliban make territorial gains while nearing Kabul

The capitals of Helmand, Zabul, Uruzgan and Ghor provinces are now reported to be under Taliban control Friday as the resurgent militant group’s blitz across Afghanistan appears to be showing no signs of slowing down. 

With these captures, the Taliban have taken over half of the war-torn country’s 34 provincial capitals, including Herat and Kandahar — the second and third largest cities in Afghanistan.  

The Taliban are now said to be within 50 miles of Kabul, the capital and largest city in Afghanistan. 

Click here to read more on Fox News. 

Gen. Keane: Biden’s ill-conceived Afghanistan withdrawal now an ’embarrassing retreat’

Fox News senior strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane is blaming the Biden administration’s “hasty withdrawal” from Afghanistan for the Taliban’s takeover of large swaths of the country, telling “Fox & Friends” Friday the “ill-conceived” agenda has become a foreign policy “embarrassment” for the White House.

Click here to watch the interview.


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