The death toll from a suicide bombing at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan has risen to 170.
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On Thursday, victims of the assaults at Kabul’s airport arrived at a hospital. Credit… The New York Times’ Victor J. Blue
On Friday, the death toll from the explosion near Kabul’s airport jumped dramatically, with local health authorities reporting that up to 170 people were killed and at least 200 more were injured. Crowds flocked to the airport again on Friday, less than a day after the assault, their desire to escape the Taliban mixing with sorrow at the magnitude of the carnage.
Interviews with hospital authorities backed up health officials’ estimate of the number of bombing casualties, which did not include the 13 US military men killed and 15 injured. Some of the deceased civilians were Afghan Americans with U.S. citizenship, according to medical authorities, who sought anonymity because the Taliban had ordered them not to talk with the media.
According to the new estimates, the assault on Thursday was one of the bloodiest in the almost two decades since the US-led invasion. “Another terror incident in Kabul is likely,” according to American authorities, according to Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary. “The danger is still there and aggressive. The safety of our soldiers is still in jeopardy.”
The US military and the Taliban attempted to impose whatever control they could at the airport and in the streets. Militants armed with Kalashnikov weapons pushed people back from the airport’s entry gates, manning checkpoints with vehicles and at least one Humvee parked on the side of the road. Despite the assaults, American military evacuation planes continued, and the White House said early Friday that 12,500 people had been evacuated from Afghanistan in the previous 24 hours.
The throngs, many of whom were standing outside buses with bags at their sides, were in the hundreds rather than the thousands seen in previous days. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans remain trapped in the nation, eager to flee the Taliban’s control, but few seemed to be making it to the airport gates on Friday.
The airport looked to be mostly, if not completely, shut down. Taliban guards stationed at the airport’s southern and eastern entrances informed a reporter that no one was permitted near the airport and that all entry gates had been blocked. According to the Pentagon, around 5,400 people were still trapped inside, awaiting evacuation.
The gruesome images from Thursday, when children were among those murdered in the throng, demonstrated the grave danger that anyone brave enough to go to the airport face.
“We do not think that there was a second explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, that it was one suicide bomber,” Maj. Gen. William Taylor of the Joint Staff said on Friday, revising his description of what occurred at the airport the day before. However, several witnesses claimed to have heard two explosions.
Afghans are rushing to find a route out of the country with four days before an August 31 deadline for the US departure, a date that President Biden has said he wants to maintain despite local and international demand to prolong the evacuation operations.
The job is getting more challenging.
Mr. Biden promised retaliation against ISIS-K, the Islamic State’s Afghan branch, which claimed responsibility for the assaults on behalf of its Afghan supporters. However, there was no information on how the assaults might impact urgent rescue efforts, which had accelerated in recent days but were still on track to fall short of providing an escape for everyone who wanted to flee.
Mohammad, a Khost resident, said he had planned to leave on Friday but was “trapped.” He was unable to enter the airport and said that the Taliban were searching for former troops and journalists.
He said, “I don’t feel secure here anymore.”
Since Kabul fell to the Taliban this month, General Taylor said 111,000 individuals — American citizens, Afghan allies, and foreign nationals — had been evacuated from the country.
Taliban fighters at a roadblock in Kabul last week. Credit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek
Former Afghan government officials claim Taliban militants have continued to hunt for former government officials, creating anxiety among Kabul citizens, even after the organization announced a broad amnesty for those previously in authority when they seized the city almost two weeks ago.
“This is the sixth time the Taliban have been to my house in Kabul, looked for me, seized my personal car, and personally threatened my children,” Halim Fidai, a former presidential advisor and governor of eastern Khost Province, wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
Thousands of Afghan government workers, translators for US and NATO troops, civil society activists, and journalists, fearing retaliation from the Taliban, have crowded Kabul’s airport in recent days with their families in a desperate effort to leave the country. The United States and other Western nations have evacuated tens of thousands of people, but the region around the airport has become more dangerous, with a terrorist assault killing scores on Thursday.
The deputy of the Taliban’s cultural council, Ahmadullah Waseq, denied that the Taliban had performed house-to-house inspections in Kabul. He said that Mr. Fidai’s “allegation” will be examined.
Mr. Waseq said that the Taliban’s reclusive commander, Haibatullah Akhundzada, had issued a sweeping amnesty decree. “We guarantee all members of the security forces and previous authorities that they may remain in their homes and are safe,” he added.
He said that criminals posing as Taliban members had carried out searches and armed robberies, and that the Taliban had arrested some of them.
People on the ground, on the other hand, tell a different tale.
Bismillah Taban, the director of President Ashraf Ghani’s Interior Ministry’s police criminal investigation section, claimed his assistant had turned over all of his equipment and weapons to the Taliban a day after they invaded Kabul.
However, the Taliban are still on the lookout for him.
In a phone conversation from an unknown location, he stated, “The Taliban arrested my old assistant in Kabul, kept him for five hours, tortured him to compel him to divulge my hiding spot.” “I am skeptical about their pledge of broad amnesty. After seizing power, they assassinated one of my colleagues. If they discover me, they’ll murder me as well.”
Former government officials and others who worked with the US and NATO partners are still concerned, despite the Taliban’s attempts to convince Afghans that the organization has matured and would not rule with the brutality that characterized its period in power in the 1990s. Many people have been hiding or attempting to leave the country.
Taliban assaults on journalists have also been reported, including one on Monday in which Tolo News journalists and administrators recounted how the Taliban assaulted one of the channel’s reporters in Kabul.
Mr. Waseq said that the combatant who assaulted the journalist had been identified and that a criminal complaint against him had been filed. “He will be tried soon,” he added.
Rylee McCollum, a 20-year-old Wyoming Marine, married soon before his first deployment abroad, and his wife is expected to give birth to their first child next month, according to his father. He was looking forward to becoming a parent and meeting his family once again.
However, he was one of 13 US military men murdered in a suicide assault at Kabul’s airport on Thursday, which also killed over 100 Afghans. It was the greatest number of Americans killed in Afghanistan in a single event in ten years.
His death was verified by his father and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon, making him one of the first American victims to be officially named.
Rylee McCollum’s unit was sent to Afghanistan to offer security and assist with evacuations, according to his father, Jim McCollum, who spoke to the media via phone on Friday. When the bomb tore through the main gate, he was manning a checkpoint where hundreds of people had been begging to flee the country’s new Taliban authorities.
Mr. McCollum, who lives in Wyoming, described him as a “wonderful spirit.”
Regi Stone/Rylee McCollum/Rylee McCollum/Rylee McCollum/Rylee McCol
Mr. McCollum had been watching his phone for a tiny green dot in the days since his son arrived in Afghanistan with his Marine unit. He hadn’t been able to communicate with Rylee, but was pleased to see a dot next to her name on a texting app. It indicated he was connected to the internet. That he was still alive and well.
Mr. McCollum double-checked after the assault. “Hey dude, how you doing?” he texted his kid. However, the green dot had vanished. Rylee remained silent.
Mr. McCollum said, “I knew in my heart yesterday afternoon.”
When two Marines came on the door of the family’s house at 3:30 a.m. to give the news that Rylee McCollum, who had dreamt of becoming a Marine since he was three years old, had been murdered, his worries were realized.
The identities of the victims started to circulate on Friday, thanks to family and friend postings on social media and sad statements from the high schools where they had played football or wrestled only a few years before. When the US attacked Afghanistan, some of them, including Rylee, who was born in February 2001, were still infants. They are now among the last victims of America’s longest conflict.
Rylee McCollum grew raised in the mountains and couldn’t wait to join the Marines, according to his father. He could not tolerate injustice since he was a child and would defend bullied peers. So, on his 18th birthday, he called his father’s number from his Jackson Hole high school and asked him to come sign his enlistment paperwork.
Mr. McCollum said, “He wanted to get in there as fast as he could.” “He wanted to assist others in his heart of hearts.”
Mr. McCollum said his son was extremely patriotic and had enjoyed attending to July 4 and Memorial Day parades and learning about the rituals around the American flag since he was a child. According to school authorities, he was a talented wrestler who graduated from Jackson Hole High School in 2019.
Mr. McCollum described him as “the most patriotic child you could find.” “I admired America and the military. “As tough as nails with a golden heart.”
Rylee McCollum was characterized as passionately loyal by Regi Stone, a pastor whose son was one of his closest friends. Whether it was during campfire parties in the Wyoming wilderness or their choice to join in the Marines around the same time, the two young men always had one other’s backs.
Mr. Stone said, “He wouldn’t back down from anything.”
After so many years of American military presence and so many fatalities, Mr. McCollum said it was heartbreaking to see the anarchy emerge in Afghanistan.
“It hurts and bothers me that we spent 20 years there, and that so many lives, including my son’s, were lost there. And now we’re back at square one,” he said.
He said he took some solace in the knowledge that his son died serving others — or, as Rylee would put it, “doing good things.”
Mr. McCollum remarked, “I couldn’t be more proud of him.” “He’s a hero,” says the speaker.
On Friday, a gunshot victim was brought to the Emergency NGO hospital in Kabul. Credit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek
The explosion outside Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday resulted in an almost uncontrollable influx of casualties to Kabul’s Emergency Non-Governmental Organization Hospital.
In an interview with The New York Times on Friday, Alberto Zanin, the hospital’s medical coordinator, stated, “Last night was a catastrophe.” “We’re not accustomed to such high casualty rates. Our hospital is now overburdened. We needed to build more beds.”
According to him, the hospital received 62 patients from the assault, 14 of them were already dead when they arrived. Two more died nearly as soon as they arrived, and four more perished the next day. Thirty-four people were hospitalized for treatment, and the situation was made worse by injuries from another explosion southwest of the airport in Kote Sangi, a heavily populated area.
Dr. Zanin said, “One fatality came in, and one of the nurses working in the tent at the entry, the first patient reception, recognized it was a relative of his.” “There was a lot of fear and shouting when it occurred. That was tough to handle.”
Dr. Zanin stated this was the worst assault he had seen in the four years he had served at the Kabul hospital.
He added of the victims, “A majority of them suffered brain injuries.” “There was also something about the way the individuals that came were dressed. They seemed surprised. Nobody was there, no one was listening, no one was able to respond.”
The hospital’s employees and people of the community banded together in the aftermath of the disaster. When the assault occurred, several workers had gone home for the night, but returned to the hospital without being asked, according to Dr. Zanin. At 5 a.m. on Friday, the last operation of the night was done.
“A large number of individuals arrived to our gate seeking information about relatives. He described the situation as “chaos.” “However, there were also indications of humanism and community. Many people came to give blood. The Taliban had come to give blood.”
Asadullah Hossaini, a 31-year-old medical practitioner who had been standing near the U.S. Marines slain when the bomb occurred, was among the injured.
When the Taliban took over Kabul, Mr. Hossaini and his family — a total of 15 people — fled approximately 90 miles west to Behsud, where they are from. They are Hazaras, a people that were cruelly persecuted when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan a decade ago.
They returned, however, when a relative phoned to claim he had an American visa and could get the family through the airport.
“I had a passport, and my cousin had a visa to enter the United States,” he said. “He intended to send us to America because the situation here had grown intolerable. Taliban militants are requesting young ladies to marry them, according to a post on Facebook. This is just inappropriate. In our family, there are a lot of young women.”
Mr. Hossaini claimed the family traveled to the airport on Wednesday but had to spend the night outdoors due to the crowds. They were getting closer to the airport entrance on Thursday. He said that even before the explosion, they were crammed so close together that a lady died of asphyxia.
He replied, “I watched her die with my own eyes.”
He was struck unconscious when the bomb went off. Two others loaded him into a wheelbarrow and pushed him to the main airport entrance, where he was driven to the hospital in a vehicle. His leg and back were both operated on.
He replied, “I don’t know what happened to my family.” “I’m aware that my wife and daughter are not in the hospital. But I have no idea what happened to the others.”
On Wednesday, Afghan migrants crossed the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman. Credit: Getty Images/Agence France-Presse
Pakistan has said unequivocally that it would not take any more Afghan refugees. In any case, the refugees are on their way.
Since the Taliban seized control of Kabul two weeks ago, tens of thousands of Afghans have poured into Pakistan via a key southern border crossing. While the evacuations from Kabul airport have garnered international notice, huge crowds of civilians attempting to leave the country have gathered daily at Spin Boldak-Chaman, the only authorized — and open — border crossing for refugees.
In normal times, 4,000 to 8,000 individuals cross the border there. According to Pakistani authorities and tribal elders, the number of Afghans entering Pakistan has increased thrice since the Taliban took Kabul. They are concerned that the recent terrorist strikes at Kabul’s airport would encourage even more people to utilize the border crossing instead.
Other border crossings have been blocked, including as the one at Torkham, some 140 miles east of Kabul. The southern crossing of Spin Boldak, some 70 miles southeast of Kandahar, is the only option.
Ali, a native of Parwan Province north of Kabul, went via Spin Boldak with his family. They landed in Karachi, Pakistan’s port city, on Monday.
Mr. Ali said, “Uncertainty and unemployment in Afghanistan have forced us to leave the country.”
There are no official data on how many individuals have lately entered Pakistan. Only Pakistani nationals, Afghan patients seeking medical care, and those with evidence of a claim to asylum are allowed, according to an official at a ministry monitoring the influx of migrants.
Pakistan has had a tense relationship with Afghanistan over their shared, porous border for a long time. For example, the Taliban have been crossing back and forth for a long time. However, Pakistan’s leadership is becoming concerned about the influx of migrants from its unstable western border.
It has constructed a 1,600-mile barrier with Afghanistan in recent years, mostly to regulate cross-border traffic. It identified particular locations, such as Spin Boldak, where crossings were permitted.
In recent days, photos and videos of crowds at the Spin Boldak border crossing have surfaced. But, according to the government source, who sought anonymity because he was not allowed to talk with the media, crowds were already a regular occurrence. People cross the border on a regular basis, according to the official, for employment, commerce, medical treatment, or to see relatives on the opposite side of the border.
As the number of refugees rises, the Pakistani government may be forced to take further measures. Officials have said repeatedly that no new migrants would be allowed to enter Pakistani cities. Instead, the government intends to build refugee camps within Afghanistan’s borders along the border.
Pakistan is home to about 1.4 million Afghan refugees, making it one of the world’s biggest refugee populations. According to a spokesman for the United Nations Human Rights Council, there may be another one million people living there.
In August 2011, Chief Warrant Officer David R. Carter of the Army National Guard was taken to a waiting vehicle at Buckley Air Force Base in Denver. He was one of 30 soldiers killed in Afghanistan when a Chinook chopper was shot down. Credit… Associated Press/Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post
The US military suffered its worst single-day loss of life in its two-decade battle in Afghanistan only three months after Osama bin Laden was killed. Insurgents shot down a transport chopper on Aug. 6, 2011, killing 30 Americans and eight Afghans.
The Taliban, who claimed credit for the assault, had identified an elite target: 22 of the deceased were Navy Seal operatives, including members of Seal Team 6, according to US authorities. In May of that year, other commandos from the squad carried out the operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that killed Bin Laden.
The helicopter, which was on a night-raid operation in Wardak Province, west of Kabul, was most likely brought down by a rocket-propelled grenade, according to an officer at the time. Insurgents shot down the helicopter for the second time in two weeks.
The deadly attack, which occurred during a spike in violence that coincided with the start of a troop withdrawal by the United States and NATO from Afghanistan, demonstrated how entrenched the insurgency remained even far from its main strongholds in southern Afghanistan and along the Afghan-Pakistani border in the east.
The Tangi Valley runs between Wardak and Logar Provinces, a region where security has deteriorated over time, bringing the conflict closer to Kabul. It was one of many inaccessible locations that rebels used as safe havens.
At the moment, President Barack Obama expressed his sympathies to the families of those killed in the assault, both Americans and Afghans. “Their deaths serve as a stark reminder of the tremendous sacrifices made by our military personnel and their families,” he added.
Following an assault by Islamic State Khorasan that murdered 13 US military men, Vice President Biden reiterated President Obama’s remarks.
“The lives we lost today were lives sacrificed in the service of liberty, security, and others,” stated Vice President Joe Biden.
After the Kabul bombings, Biden vows, “We Will Hunt You Down.”
President Biden denounced a terrorist assault at Kabul airport that killed dozens of people, including at least 13 American military members, and promised to act against the perpetrators while continuing evacuations.
Know this: Those who perpetrated this atrocity, as well as everyone who wants America harm, will not be forgiven. We are not going to forget. We’ll track you down and hold you accountable. These American military men who sacrificed their lives were heroes – an overused term, but one that fits well here. Heroes who have gone on a perilous, selfless quest to rescue others’ lives. They’re a part of an unprecedented airlift and evacuation operation. Terrorists will have no effect on us. We’re not going to allow them put a halt to our quest. We’ll keep moving forward with the evacuation. I’ve also given my commanders orders to devise operational strategies for attacking ISIS-K assets, leadership, and facilities. We will react with force and accuracy when it is convenient for us, at the location of our choice, and at the time of our choosing. What you need to know is that these ISIS terrorists will lose. We’ll get the Americans out of there. Our mission will continue after we have gotten our Afghan friends out. The United States of America will not be intimidated.
President Biden denounced a terrorist assault at Kabul airport that killed dozens of people, including at least 13 American military members, and promised to act against the perpetrators while continuing evacuations. CreditCredit… The New York Times/David Mills
President Biden’s decision to terminate America’s longest war was motivated by his desire not to sacrifice another member of the military in the name of an endeavor that he had long felt was no longer in the country’s best interests.
The departure from Afghanistan, however, cost the lives of 13 US soldiers and dozens of Afghan civilians on Thursday, the first American fatalities in 18 months and the bloodiest day for the US military in Afghanistan since 2011.
Mr. Biden promised to “hunt down” the terrorists who claimed responsibility for the attack in a fiery speech from the White House East Room.
“To those who carried out this assault, as well as anybody who wants America harm, know this: We will not forgive,” Mr. Biden declared, echoing President George W. Bush’s remarks after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Mr. Biden’s popularity ratings have been driven down by America’s turbulent withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the attack on Thursday will almost certainly expose him to political criticism. However, as he leaves a conflict that most Americans also want out of, it is uncertain how much harm his administration will suffer in the long run.
Last week, a lemonade vendor at a Kabul bazaar. Credit… The New York Times’ Victor J. Blue
Even as he meets with Taliban leaders to attempt to push them toward a more “inclusive” administration, Omar Zakhilwal, a former Afghan finance minister, continues to go to his office in central Kabul every day.
Both activities have proven to be difficult. There is an unnerving quiet on his daily stroll through the usually busy and loud Shar-e Naw area, which was previously filled with street merchants and jostling people. And thus far, his meetings with the Taliban haven’t produced the desired outcomes.
In a phone conversation from Kabul on Friday, he added, “It’s very quiet.” “It’s really peaceful. There aren’t many ladies out there. It’s nothing near the typical figure. And the stock market seems to be in a downward spiral. People aren’t seen shopping. In Shar-e Naw, there are juice vendors, but there aren’t many people drinking juice.”
“We are in an extremely depressed economic situation,” said Dr. Zakhilwal, an economist who had been harshly critical of President Ashraf Ghani’s administration in the days leading up to its fall.
So far, Dr. Zakhilwal says, the Taliban’s greatest worries seem to have proven unfounded. “For the most part, their handling of the people is not as terrible as one would expect,” he added. “They aren’t very noticeable. They don’t have a strong presence in the city.”
But, he added, “the mental stability isn’t there.”
He has met with Taliban leaders with other Afghan officials from past administrations. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai is one of the officials. Everyone is hopeful that the Taliban’s administration would include former officials. So far, the indications aren’t promising.
“Now that they control the entire thing,” Dr. Zakhilwal added, “there may be incentives inside them not to go for the kind of inclusive governance that would emerge from a political settlement.”
He noted that the Taliban’s pick for interim head of the central bank, Haji Mohammad Idris, is a member of the movement, and that a few selections so far indicate that the Taliban are more interested in selecting from among their ranks than naming “professionals.” According to news sources, Mr. Idris has no formal financial training.
In these interim positions, they haven’t demonstrated inclusiveness, according to Dr. Zakhilwal.
A military cargo aircraft, the C-17, takes off from Kabul’s international airport. Credit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek
A senior US general revealed this week that the Afghan parents of a baby born aboard a C-17 plane transporting people to Germany named their daughter after the plane’s call sign.
“They called the young girl Reach since the C-17 aircraft that transported them from Qatar to Ramstein had the call sign Reach,” said Gen. Tod Wolters, the head of US European Command, during a Pentagon press conference on Wednesday.
On a trip from a facility in Qatar to Ramstein Air Base in southern Germany on Saturday, the Afghan mother went into labor and started having difficulties, according to the US Air Force.
The C-17 — code-named Reach 828 in radio communication – dropped in altitude to raise air pressure inside the plane, “helping stabilize and preserve the mother’s life,” according to the Air Force.
Medics boarded the aircraft when it landed and assisted in the delivery of the baby in the cargo area. Capt. Erin Brymer, a nurse who assisted in the delivery of the infant, told CNN that a group of ladies had shielded the mother’s privacy with their shawls.
The lady had “beyond the point of no return” by the time they arrived, she claimed. “That baby was going to be born before we could move her to a different facility.”
The lady was seen being taken off the plane to a nearby medical facility soon after her daughter was born, according to photos provided by the US Air Force.
General Wolters said the infant was one among three delivered to mothers who boarded evacuation planes out of Afghanistan, all of whom were in excellent health. Two more were born in the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in southern Germany, a military hospital.
“It’s my goal to see that little kid, Reach, grow up to be a US citizen and fly US Air Force fighter jets in our air force,” General Wolters told reporters.
Following the assault near the airport, several arrived to a Kabul hospital for treatment on Thursday. Credit… The New York Times’ Jim Huylebroek
The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan does not imply that they have authority over all terrorists in the nation.
The Islamic State branch in Afghanistan, known as Islamic State Khorasan or ISIS-K, on the other hand, is a fierce, though much smaller, competitor that has carried out dozens of assaults in Afghanistan this year against civilians, authorities, and even the Taliban.
According to a United Nations study released in June, approximately 8,000 to 10,000 Islamist militants from Central Asia, Russia’s North Caucasus area, Pakistan, and western China’s Xinjiang province have flooded into Afghanistan in recent months as US troops have left.
Most are affiliated with the Taliban or Al Qaeda, which are closely connected, while some are tied to ISIS-K, posing a serious threat to the Taliban’s claim of peace and security.
While many terrorism analysts believe that ISIS militants in Afghanistan lack the capability to launch large-scale operations against the West, many others believe that the Islamic State is now more dangerous than Al Qaeda in many areas of the globe.
ISIS-K, which was founded six years ago by disgruntled Pakistani Taliban militants, has significantly accelerated the tempo of its assaults this year, according to a United Nations study.
Before U.S. bombings and Afghan commando operations killed many of the group’s commanders, the group’s numbers had plummeted to about 1,500 to 2,000 militants, almost half of what they had been in 2016.
However, since June 2023, the organization has been headed by Shahab al-Muhajir, an ambitious leader who is attempting to attract disgruntled Taliban members and other militants. According to the UN assessment, ISIS-K “remains active and dangerous.”
In Afghanistan, the Islamic State has mostly been hostile to the Taliban. Both organizations have battled over territory in the past, especially in eastern Afghanistan, and ISIS recently condemned the Taliban’s control of the nation. According to some experts, Taliban members have deserted to ISIS in Afghanistan, bolstering the group’s numbers with more experienced fighters.
According to Hassan Hassan, co-author of a book on the Islamic State and editor in chief of Newlines Magazine, Al Qaeda did not retain the same operational control over its affiliates as the Islamic State, which may have provided the latter an edge.
“It’s like establishing a Domino’s franchise and sending someone out for quality control,” he added of Al Qaeda. On the other hand, the Islamic State would “go a step farther and select a manager from the original organization.”
Last year, displaced Afghan families in Kandahar received food from the World Food Program. Credit… EPA/M Sadiq via Shutterstock
Humanitarian groups that supply life-saving assistance to millions of Afghans are looking for new ways to keep supplies flowing into a nation in crisis.
Desperate to keep routes into the nation open, some have searched for alternatives to Kabul’s airport, where supplies have been hindered by the fatal assault on Thursday and continuing evacuations.
The World Health Organization is collaborating with Pakistan to allow a medical supply airlift to Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. The goal is to avoid the security and logistical issues that have previously blocked delivery to Kabul’s airport.
According to Richard Brennan, the World Health Organization’s regional emergencies director, the majority of Afghanistan’s 2,200 health institutions remain operational. However, supplies of trauma kits and other medical supplies have depleted to only a few days’ worth.
On Friday, he told reporters via video connection from Cairo that “Kabul airport is not a possibility for sending in humanitarian supplies at this stage.” “As a result, we’re probably going to utilize Mazar-i-Sharif airport, with our first flight leaving in a few days.”
Although Afghanistan’s Civil Aviation Authority is down, Pakistan International Airlines is coordinating with colleagues in Mazar-i-Sharif to guarantee cargo planes may arrive. On each trip, the W.H.O. planned to bring in 20 to 30 tons of supplies, he said.
However, a new problem has emerged. Mr. Brennan said that insurance costs for bringing a plane into Afghanistan have “skyrocketed to prices we have never seen before” in the hours following the terrorist attack outside Kabul’s airport, but that he expected the problem to be resolved and aircraft dispatched in the next two to three days.
According to Mr. Brennan, the World Food Program plans to begin an emergency airlift of food supplies to Afghanistan in the coming days. As it deals with the new realities of need on the ground, it warned this week that it may run out of supplies by September.
In a statement, Anthea Webb, the organization’s regional deputy director for Asia and the Pacific, stated, “Humanitarian disaster awaits the people of Afghanistan this winter unless the global community makes their lives a priority.”
Food supplies are usually being stored in warehouses throughout Afghanistan at this time of year so that they may be delivered later when winter snows render certain routes inaccessible.
Limited financing and increasing demand, according to Ms. Webb, means that certain supplies may run out.
On Sunday, Taliban flags were purchased outside the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Credit… The New York Times’ Victor J. Blue
The Taliban’s flag was flying high over a major mosque in Pakistan’s capital only days after they seized Kabul. It was an obnoxious gesture meant to chastise the vanquished Americans — and a symbol of the Afghan war’s true winners.
In the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, Pakistan was purportedly America’s partner. But it was a partnership built on deception and conflicting goals from the outset, after 9/11. Throughout the conflict, Pakistan’s intelligence agency fostered and safeguarded Taliban assets inside the country.
Pakistan, along with Russia and China, is already assisting in filling the void left by the Americans. Since the Taliban took Kabul, the three countries’ embassies have remained open.
However, former C.I.A. station head in Pakistan Robert L. Grenier cautioned Pakistan to be cautious what it wishes for.
“Pakistan would find itself tied to the Afghan Taliban if they become leaders of a pariah state, which is very likely,” he added.
The presence of a Taliban-run state on Pakistan’s border would undoubtedly encourage Taliban and other Islamist terrorists inside the country. Apart from ensuring the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, the US now has little reason to engage with the country.
So, for Pakistan, the issue is: what will it do with the shattered nation that is its prize?
A group of Afghan migrants in Bialystok, Poland, close to the Belarusian border. Credit… Getty Images/Wojtek Radwanski/Agence France-Presse
BRUSSELS, BELGIAN REPUBLICAN REPUBLICAN REPU About 37 Afghan asylum seekers who fled their country before the Taliban took control earlier this month have been detained for two weeks at the Belarus-Poland border, with no easy access to food, water, or restrooms, underscoring the European Union’s migration struggles.
With Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party emphasizing its strong stance on immigration, the government has sent soldiers to the region and is erecting a variety of border barriers. Belarus, which gave the asylum seekers visas in the first place, would not let them to cross the border.
Various opposition leaders in Poland, some of whom have visited the refugees, have condemned the government’s inhumane stance while avoiding seeming to support an open-borders policy.
On Tuesday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees urged Poland to uphold its international responsibilities.
However, as member nations of the European Union worry about a fresh influx of Afghan asylum seekers, they accuse Belarus, which is not a member, of weaponizing migrants to destabilize the union by pushing them to cross the border.
Belarus President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko’s critics claim he did the same thing on the Lithuanian and Latvian borders, ostensibly in retaliation for the European Union’s increasingly severe sanctions on him and his regime for rigged elections and a ruthless crackdown on the opposition.
Belarus has disputed that migrants are being used as a weapon against the EU.
Following their evacuation from Afghanistan, Sayed, right, was reunited with his wife, Kebria, and 6-month-old baby, Mustafa, at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Va. Credit… The New York Times/Sarahbeth Maney
People gathered at another airport in the United States hours after a fatal blast outside the Kabul airport on Thursday, eagerly anticipating the arrival of their loved ones from Afghanistan.
Many people voiced their sorrow over the assault, which claimed the lives of at least 13 US military personnel and injured dozens more, and worried what would happen to their relatives who were still in Afghanistan.
Baryalai, 31, traveled from Brooklyn to Northern Virginia for six hours to assist a buddy in picking up his wife and three children at Dulles International Airport. On Thursday, the two men arrived around 1:30 a.m. and were still waiting for the family to be freed from the processing facility at 2:00 p.m.
Baryalai expressed his sadness at the incident and his concern for his mother and brother, who are still in Afghanistan.
“They’ve arrived. He said, “I can’t send them to the airport since the weather is so terrible.” “I’m not willing to take the chance.”
Joe, a 35-year-old hospitality worker from Prince William County, Va., arrived at Dulles on Wednesday morning to pick up his wife and two children, who had traveled to Afghanistan for a wedding on Aug. 15, the day the Taliban seized control of Kabul.
On Thursday evening, he was still waiting after spending the night at a café and roaming about the airport. Despite the fact that they had arrived at 4:30 p.m. the day before, they were not allowed to leave the tarmac until 8 a.m. on Thursday.
Joe described the assault as “devastating,” but said that he was not shocked it took place.
He replied, “The writing was on the wall.” “They’ve basically been publicizing it, that threats are active and present.”
Joe, holding a bouquet of flowers and two balloons, expressed relief at having gotten his wife and children out before the assault, but expressed concern for his wife’s two sisters, who had not yet chosen whether to risk their lives attempting to get inside the airport.
He said, “They haven’t left the home yet.” “They are ready to go, yet they are unable to do so.”
In March 2010, Lt. Gen. John A. Bradley, who retired from the military in 2008, was seen with his wife, Jan, visiting a displaced people camp in Kabul. Credit… Shah Mahboob
Lt. Gen. John A. Bradley, a former Air Force commander, and his wife, Jan, have spent almost every waking minute since the Taliban seized Kabul on Aug. 15 filing reams of paperwork to different government offices in order to assist approximately 500 Afghans attempting to flee the country.
So far, just one of the families they’ve assisted has survived.
On Thursday, Ms. Bradley said, “Nothing is working.” “It’s a broken system that breaks my heart.”
The couple’s concerns mirror larger issues confronting those who previously aided Americans and those who are now attempting to assist them. Many Afghans are eager to go as President Biden’s August 31 departure deadline approaches.
The Bradleys established the Lamia Afghan Foundation, a non-profit organization, in 2008 to aid Afghans. It has evolved into an emergency refugee resettlement group due to need.
General Bradley spent more than four decades in the Air Force before founding the organization, which he claims has constructed seven schools for females and delivered 3.5 million pounds of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan. General Bradley met a young lady at Bagram Air Base while still in the military, and the charity is named for her.
General Bradley said, “I believe she is under danger because her name is on our foundation.”
Lamia’s family is still in Afghanistan, and the Bradleys are attempting to assist many others.
On the best of days, that is never easy, but Thursday was not one of those days, particularly in Kabul.
General Bradley received a call in the morning from a young Afghan American lady in Virginia whose family had been involved with the organization. She informed him that her brother had gone to the Kabul airport that day with his wife and three children to attempt to get a flight out of the country, despite the fact that they had not yet been authorized.
The Bradleys had requested a noncombatant evacuation for their family via the Defense Department. They also sent the young Afghan guy copies of General Bradley’s redacted passport and driver’s license, as well as a letter written on his military letterhead that he could show to airport security.
The whole family was gathered near the Abbey Gate, the main entrance to the international airport, on Thursday when an explosion ripped through the throng. The terrorist assault resulted in the deaths of dozens of people and the injuries of many more.
According to the Bradleys, the young lady, who refused to be interviewed, originally believed that her brother’s whole family had been murdered.
But, with the couple’s assistance, she discovered later in the day that her brother and his wife had originally survived the explosion. The woman, however, had died in the hospital by Thursday night in the United States, and the family had not located their two younger children.
“We have no information on their condition: whether they were injured, dead, or taken away to be helped,” General Bradley stated.
General Bradley expressed optimism that his charity would be able to restart activities as soon as the situation on the ground improved. And, as futile as it may seem, he vowed he will keep trying to get people out.
He also said that although he understands the US reason for leaving Afghanistan, he disagrees with how the Biden administration has carried it out.
General Bradley stated of the evacuation, “I don’t know why it wasn’t begun sooner.” “That is the perplexing issue to me, and I would want to have an explanation to it someday.”