Civilians, US troops among dozens killed in Kabul blasts

At least 60 civilians killed and dozens more wounded as Pentagon confirms 13 US service members died in two blasts.

At least 60 Afghans and 13 US troops have been killed and dozens of others wounded, medical sources and US officials have said, after two powerful explosions took place outside Kabul’s international airport amid a huge and chaotic evacuation effort from Afghanistan.

A “complex attack” on Thursday at the airport in Afghanistan’s capital caused a number of US and civilian casualties, the Pentagon said.

US President Joe Biden pledged to retaliate against the attack in Kabul, confirming that the bombings were carried out by Islamic State Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K) the ISIL’s (ISIS’s) group affiliate in Afghanistan.

“We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests in our people with every measure at my command.”

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said one blast occurred near the airport’s Abbey Gate and the other close to the nearby Baron Hotel. Two US officials said at least one of the explosions appeared to be from a suicide bombing.

Here are the latest updates:

Documents with details of Afghan staff left at UK embassy in Kabul: report

Staff of the United Kingdom’s embassy in Kabul, who hurriedly evacuated following the Taliban takeover on August 15, have left documents with contact details of Afghans working for them, as well as other identifying information such as job applications of Afghans, according to an exclusive report by The Times in the UK.

According to the report the documents were left scattered on the ground at the British embassy compound in Kabul that has been seized by the Taliban.

“Phone calls to the numbers on the documents revealed that some Afghan employees and their families remained stranded on the wrong side of the airport perimeter wall days after their details were left in the dirt in the haste of the embassy’s evacuation on August 15,” the report said.

US: Over 100,000 evacuated from Afghanistan since August 14

The US has announced that more than 100,000 people from Afghanistan have been evacuated since August 14, the eve of the Taliban’s return to power.

“Since August 14, the US has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 100,100 people,” the White House said in a statement issued on Thursday hours after a twin blast killed dozens of Afghans and at least 13 US troops, at one of the entrances at Kabul airport.

The Taliban has given the US until August 31 to withdraw its troops and evacuate its citizens as well as Afghans with documents to leave.

“A total of approximately 7,500 people were evacuated from Kabul,” over a 12-hour period on Thursday, the White House added.

US military’s toll in Kabul bombing rises to 13: Pentagon

The US Defense Department has announced that the number of US troops killed in the blasts at Kabul airport rose by one to 13 and the number of injured was 18.

“A thirteenth US service member has died from his wounds suffered as a result of the attack on Abbey Gate,” Central Command spokesman Captain Bill Urban said in a statement.

Not possible to evacuate all Afghans looking to leave: White House

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said it will be impossible for the United States to evacuate all Afghans looking to leave the country.

“It is not going to be possible for every single Afghan, millions potentially, who want to leave Afghanistan to be evacuated,” Psaki said.

She added that Washington remains committed to get American citizens and US allies out of the country, even after US troops pull out of Afghanistan completely on August 31.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki during the daily briefing at the White House, August 26 [Susan Walsh/AP]

Biden says US troops did not face attacks over past year because of withdrawal deal

President Joe Biden said the reason there had been no American combat fatalities in Afghanistan since February 2020 prior to Thursday’s attack was because of the deal his predecessor Donald Trump had signed with the Taliban.

“The reason why there were no attacks on Americans … was because the commitment was made by President Trump, ‘I will be out by May 1; in the meantime, you agree not to attack any Americans’,” Biden said.

“That was the deal. That’s why no American was attacked.”

The US president added at the conclusion of his speech, “Ladies and gentlemen, it was time to end a 20-year war.”

‘We will hunt you down,’ Biden warns attacker

President Joe Biden vowed to retaliate against the attack in Kabul, confirming that the bombings were carried out by ISKP, ISIL’s affiliate in Afghanistan.

“To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget,” Biden said.

“We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests in our people with every measure at my command.”

Third blast heard in Kabul, Taliban say US military destroying ammunition

A Taliban spokesperson confirmed that a third blast reported by local and international media around Kabul was from the US military destroying ammunitions.

Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride reporting from Kabul said the explosion sounded like a ” very large thud, a huge bang”.

Biden to speak on Kabul airport attack on Thursday: White House

President Joe Biden will speak on Thursday about the Kabul airport attack, which killed a dozen American troops, at the White House at 5pm local time (21:00 GMT), the White House said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki will hold her daily news briefing after the Biden remarks, the White House said.

ISIL claims responsibility for Kabul airport attack

ISIL claimed responsibility for an attack outside Kabul airport, the group’s Amaq News Agency said on its Telegram channel.

Kabul airport attack kills 60 Afghans, 12 US troops

Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport Thursday, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover.

At least 60 Afghans and 12 US troops were killed, Afghan and US officials said, AP news agency reported.

US coordinating with Taliban to address threat of attacks: Pentagon

General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the US Central Command, said US forces are coordinating with the Taliban to address the “extremely real” threat of attacks by ISKP, ISIL’s Afghanistan affiliate.

“We’re doing everything we can to be prepared for those attacks,” McKenzie said.

“That includes reaching out to the Taliban who are actually providing the outer security cordon around the airfield and make sure they know what we expect them to do to protect us.”

Injured people being carried to a hospital as unspecified number of casualties reported after two explosions outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021 [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

Not convinced Taliban let attack happen: McKenzie

Responding to a question, Pentagon General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the US Central Command told a news briefing he did not believe the Taliban let the deadly explosion happen.

“I don’t think there is anything to convince me that [the Taliban] let it happen,” he added.

Pentagon: US to continue “to execute the mission” in Afghanistan

Announcing the deaths of 12 US service members in Thursday’s dual suicide bombings outside of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the US Central Command, insisted the US will continue with its “mission” in Afghanistan.

“Let me be clear, while we’re saddened by the loss of life, both US and Afghan, we’re continuing to execute the mission,” McKenzie told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.

“Our mission is to evacuate US citizens or third-country nationals, especially immigrant visa holders, US embassy staff and Afghans at risk.

“We’re still committed to deploying people out” until the end of August, he added.

Twelve US troops killed in Afghan airport attack: Pentagon general

General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Central Command or CENTCOM told reporters that at least 12 US troops were killed in the Kabul blasts.

“It’s a hard day today,” he added.

McKenzie said the attack was carried out by “ISIS fighters”. He added that some 1,000 American citizens remain in Afghanistan.

Read more here.

US officials say 11 Marines and a Navy medic were killed in blasts: Associated Press

Two US officials say 11 Marines and a Navy medic were killed in the Afghanistan attacks, the AP news agency reported.

Separately, a US official told the Reuters news agency that at least 10 US marines were killed in the explosion.

Foreign soldiers stand guard at a tower inside the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, 26 August 2021 [Akhter Gulfam/EPA]

UN secretary-general invites veto powers to Afghan crisis meeting

In view of the chaotic and tense security situation in Afghanistan, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has invited the United Nations Security Council veto powers to a crisis meeting.

According to diplomatic sources, the ambassadors of the US, China, Russia, UK and France are to meet the UN chief in New York on Monday to exchange views on the situation.

There were no further details on the goals of the planned meeting. A spokesperson for the United Nations did not want to officially confirm the information.

UK will continue Kabul evacuation after attack near the airport

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government will continue with its evacuation operation in Afghanistan after suspected suicide bombers struck the crowded gates of Kabul airport, killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens more.

After Johnson chaired an emergency response meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, he said the UK’s airlift would continue “going up until the last moment”.

“We are able to continue with the programme in the way we have been running it, according to the timetable that we have got and that is what we are going to do,” Johnson said.

US senator urges Biden to reopen Bagram airbase

United States Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has urged the Biden administration to reopen the air base at Bagram to help evacuate Americans and “Afghan allies” amid the attack on Kabul airport.

“We have the capability to reestablish our presence at Bagram to continue to evacuate American citizens and our Afghan allies. The biggest mistake in this debacle is abandoning Bagram,” he tweeted.

‘Immoral and murderous act’: defence expert

David Desroches, professor at the National Defense University, Qatar, and a former pentagon director of Arabian Peninsula affairs, described the attack at Kabul airport as “extremely immoral and murderous act”.

“It’s calculated with a level of viciousness that is almost hard to comprehend,” Desroches told Al Jazeera.

“But this was what we saw at the Bataclan attacks in Paris and the foiled attack against the Stade de France and it’s not entirely dissimilar to what we saw at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.”

Airport now major focus of security: AJ correspondent

After the two explosions at Kabul airport, the site was now the major focus for security concerns, Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride reported from Kabul.

“That’s where all the chaos is. That’s where people have been trampled in stampedes. We’ve seen all of these scenes of chaos, it has been around the airport,” McBride said.

“The Taliban have blamed squarely and in their view fairly the Americans for this, for their continued presence. They don’t want to see them extend their operation past August 31. They blame the US for not allowing some of these crowds of people into the airport itself,” he added.

McBride said elsewhere in the capital the Taliban did seem to be in charge.

“You see their presence, they have a very high profile, they are at checkpoints around the streets. For the past week or more, we have seen a gradual increase in the presence of the Taliban. They have been manning roadblocks, they have been outside in the front of ministries.”

US service members killed in attack: Pentagon

Pentagon confirmed in a statement that “a number of US service members were killed” in the attack at the airport.

“A number of others are being treated for wounds. We also know that a number of Afghans fell victim to this heinous attack,” the statement said.

They were the first US service members to be killed in Afghanistan since Washington signed an agreement with the Taliban in February 2020 to withdraw from the country.

Taliban condemn blasts in ‘area where US forces are responsible’

The Taliban condemned deadly blasts outside Kabul airport on Thursday, in an area they said was under the control of US military.

“The Islamic Emirate strongly condemns the bombing targeting civilians at Kabul airport,” a statement released by the group’s spokesman on Twitter said.

“The explosion took place in an area where US forces are responsible for security.”

Presence of foreign forces to blame for Kabul airport attack, says Taliban official

A Taliban official said the attack on Afghanistan’s Kabul airport was an act of terrorism that should be condemned by the whole world, adding the presence of foreign forces in the country was to blame, a Turkish TV channel said.

“As soon as the airport situation is figured out and the foreign forces leave, we will not have such attacks anymore. It is because of the presence of foreign forces that such attacks take place,” said Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a member of the Taliban’s cultural commission, told Turkey’s Haberturk TV.

Airport not a soft target, processing civilians creating secuity concerns: defence expert

A defence expert at the National Defense University in Qatar said that while the airport area, where the explosion took place earlier, itself was not a soft target and fairly well defended – however, the presence of civilians trying to leave Afghanistan was creating security concerns.

“I used to go there … to buy cigars and things every day. But the problem is you’re trying to process civilians. So what you have is an interaction between desperate civilians who are in large numbers, who fear that if they stand behind another person, they might be left behind,” David Desroches told Al Jazeera from Doha.

“The fact that you had a suicide bombing looks like a suicide bombing, and a complex attack means that the soldiers now will be insisting upon a degree of standoff. That makes it almost impossible to process these civilians in an orderly fashion or civilians of course will grow increasingly desperate,” he added.

Medical staff bring an injured man to a hospital in an ambulance after two powerful explosions [Wakil Kohsar/ AFP]

UK warns airlines to avoid flying below 25,000 feet over Afghanistan after attack

The United Kingdom has issued a notice to airlines to avoid flying below 25,000 feet (7,620 metres) over Afghanistan after an attack near Kabul airport.

“Following the shocking scenes in Afghanistan today, I have issued a NOTAM (Notice to Aviation) further advising airlines to avoid Afghan airspace under 25,000ft,” said Grant Shapps, the transport minister.

“We will continue to keep this under review.”

Abdullah Abdullah condemns airport attack

Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Dr Abdullah Abdullah has condemned the bombings outside Kabul airport calling it a “terrorist attack”.

“I strongly condemn the terrorist attack at Kabul Airport which killed and wounded a large number of the civilians,” he posted on Twitter.

Impact of blast outside airport ‘huge’: NGO

The president of the Emergency NGO has said the impact of the blast outside Kabul airport has been ‘huge’, as 60 people were reported wounded by the group.

“What we are seeing is a disaster of war … we don’t know exactly what the influx [of patients] will be,” Rossella Miccio, speaking from Milan, Italy, told Al Jazeera.

“Our hospital in Kabul was already 80 percent full before the explosions. Now, we added extra beds to admit wounded people coming from the airport in life-threatening conditions,” she added.

US officials strongly believe Islamic State in Khorasan Province behind Kabul attack – source familiar with briefings

United States officials strongly believe the ISIL affiliate, known as Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K) was behind the attack on Thursday at Kabul’s airport, a source familiar with congressional briefings on Afghanistan said.

A second US government source familiar with intelligence activities said that while the US government is still investigating, the airport attack has “all the hallmarks” of an ISKP attack.

IN PICTURES: Deadly explosions outside Kabul airport

Two explosions went off outside Kabul’s airport, where thousands of people have flocked amid a huge evacuation effort as they try to flee the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

A “complex attack” Thursday at the airport in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, where an enormous international airlift has been under way, caused a number of US and civilian casualties, the Pentagon said.

See the gallery here.

Wounded women arrive at a hospital for treatment after two blasts, which killed at least five and wounded a dozen, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021 [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]
Medical and hospital staff bring an injured man on a stretcher for treatment after two powerful explosions, which killed at least six people, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021 [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

At least 52 people wounded: Taliban spokesman

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that 52 people had been wounded in two explosions near the Kabul airport, Al Jazeera’s correspondent Ali Latifi reported. Mujahid added that the exact figure is not yet not known.

Emergency Hospital in Kabul said 60 wounded came to their facility within 90 minutes of the attacks.

Medical and hospital staff bring an injured man on a stretcher for treatment after two powerful explosions, which killed at least six people, outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021 [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

Biden’s meeting with Israeli PM delayed due to Afghanistan situation

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s meeting with President Joe Biden on Thursday has been delayed, the White House and an Israeli official said, while Biden holds consultations on the deadly explosions in Afghanistan.

Bennett had been due to meet Biden in the Oval Office at 11:30am local time (15:30 GMT), with Iran’s nuclear programme high on the agenda. The Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the talks were still expected to be held later in the day but did not yet have a scheduled time.

Medical and hospital staff bring an injured man on a stretcher for treatment after two blasts outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021 [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

Dozens of cars, ambulances arrive with wounded people at hospital: AJ correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Ali M Latifi reported from Kabul that dozens of cars and ambulances have been arriving at the Emergency Hospital.

“Mohibullah is waiting outside the hospital. He got a call that his 21-year-old cousin was injured at the airport and to come to Emergency Hospital,” Latifi said.

“It wasn’t until he arrived at the Italian-run hospital that he realised it was an explosion. His cousin had been there since early morning and had been going for the last four days trying to go to the US.”

The hospital said at least 60 people had been wounded in the attack while six people were pronounced dead on arrival.

Second explosion outside airport confirmed: Pentagon

A second explosion has taken place near Kabul airport, the Pentagon spokesperson confirmed on social media.

“We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate. We will continue to update,” John Kirby posted on Twitter.

Explosion reportedly a suicide bombing: AJ correspondent

The explosion outside Kabul airport was a suspected suicide bombing, Al Jazeera’s correspondent Rob Mc Bride reported from the Afghanistan capital.

“We understand it was confirmed as a suicide bombing close to one of the gates – where many of the people as people have been trying to get onto flights,” he added.

McBride said there were reports that three US soldiers had been slightly wounded in the attack.

Germany has completed military evacuations from Kabul – security source

Germany has completed its military evacuation operation from Kabul airport, a security source told Reuters news agency.

The last German military aircraft have left Kabul, the source said, without giving details.

Unclear who set off explosion: AJ correspondent

Al Jazeera’s correspondent Charlotte Belis reported from Kabul that it was still unclear at the moment who may have set the explosion off outside the airport, that has reportedly killed at least 11 people.

“One Taliban contact told me that they believe that the Americans were destroying equipment at the time. In contrast to that, we understand the ISIL threat was quite high here,” Belis said.

“That’s one of the reasons that many countries have said they have stopped their evacuations. The Americans also put out an alert with the Taliban saying today that no one can come near the airport because the ISIL threat is high; because they are looking at doing specifically car bombings in and around the airport to inflict ‘maximum damage’, as a Taliban contact told me today. Whether or not this is ISIL (ISIS) or something else, it’s still unclear.”

At least 11 killed in explosion: Taliban official

A Taliban official has told Al Jazeera that at least 11 people have been killed in the blast outside Kabul airport.

First such explosion since Taliban takeover: AJ correspondent

Al Jazeera’s correspondent Ali M Latifi reported the explosion outside Kabul airport was the first such incident since the Taliban took over.

“They (Taliban) will have to rally any forces and support they have to respond to the situation and tend to any possible casualties,” he tweeted.

It was still unclear how many casualties there were.

UK says working urgently to establish details at Kabul airport

The UK’s defence ministry said it was working urgently to establish what had happened at Kabul airport following reports of an explosion.

“We are working urgently to establish what has happened in Kabul and its impact on the ongoing evacuation effort,” the defence ministry said on Twitter.

“Our primary concern remains the safety of our personnel, British citizens and the citizens of Afghanistan. We are in close contact with our US and other NATO allies at an operational level on the immediate response to this incident.”

Pictures of explosion outside airport shared on social media

Images of the explosion heard outside the airport were circulating on social media, with several users posting pictures on Twitter.

Explosion outside Kabul airport, casualties unclear: Pentagon

The US military confirmed Thursday that a large explosion occurred outside the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, as the US-led airlift of thousands continued inside the compound.

“We can confirm an explosion outside Kabul airport. Casualties are unclear at this time. We will provide additional details when we can,” said Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby.

US and allied officials have said they had intelligence that suicide bombers were threatening to attack the airport.

Canada ends Afghanistan evacuation operations: government

Canada said it had ended its evacuation operations in Afghanistan, where foreign governments are rushing to airlift out citizens and Afghan allies after a Taliban takeover and before a looming deadline.

“Over the last day, our evacuation operations have ceased,” Canadian defence ministry representative Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre told a news conference, adding that only a small team remained on the ground.

Canada was “among the last to cease evacuation operations,” he said, after other states with personnel in Afghanistan announced they were ceasing their own rescue operations before an August 31 cutoff date.

Evacuees termed Canadian Entitled Persons sit in a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) C-177 Globemaster III transport plane for their flight to Canada from Kabul, Afghanistan, August 23, 2021 [Canadian Armed Forces/Handout via Reuters]

Italy plane did not come under fire in Kabul -govt source

Afghan forces shot into the air to disperse crowds near Kabul airport on Thursday and did not fire at an Italian military transport plane, a government source said, quoting intelligence reports.

Earlier, a defence source said the C-130 transporter, carrying almost 100 Afghan civilians, had come under attack minutes after takeoff.

What will Afghanistan look like under Taliban rule (again)?

Watch an episode of The Stream here on the latest developments in Afghanistan and track the fate of Afghan refugees.

The guests include researcher Mohammad Ehsan Saadat, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Kabul Charlotte Bellis, and Camille Mackler. executive director of Immigrant Advocates Response Collaborative.

About 13,400 people airlifted from Kabul: White House

A total of about 13,400 people were evacuated from Afghanistan in the last 24 hours, according to the White House.

That includes about 5,100 people evacuated on 17 US military flights and about 8,300 airlifted on 74 coalition aircraft, it said.

“Since August 14, the US has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 95,700 people. Since the end of July, we have re-located approximately 101,300 people,” the statement said.

US soldiers stand in the airport as hundreds gather near an evacuation control checkpoint [Wali Sabawoon/AP]

Enormous humanitarian task will be left after evacuation: WHO

Dr Richard Brennan, regional emergency director for the Eastern Mediterranean at the WHO, told Al Jazeera from Cairo: “Once the evacuation is completed, we are going to be left with an enormous humanitarian need, with an enormous humanitarian task”.

“All humanitarian agencies have struggled to get aid in over the last couple of weeks … The hard work is just beginning for the humanitarian agencies,” he said, adding that the WHO will be using Mazar-i-Sharif airport to bring aid from Pakistan, but land borders are important for delivering aid.

“All the objectives that we have for the development and humanitarian issues will depend on a strong economy as well. So maintaining the operation of the borders is going to be vital for a whole bunch of reasons such as public health, economic, social, familial, security,” he said.

Hundreds of people gather, some holding documents, near an evacuation control checkpoint [Wali Sabawoon/AP]

Toymaker Lego to donate for vulnerable Afghans

The foundation created by toymaker Lego and its parent company says it will donate 100 million kroner ($16m) to support vulnerable children in Haiti and Afghanistan.

Based in Denmark, the Lego Foundation and parent company KIRKBI A/S said that they had partnered up with, among others, two UN agencies – UNICEF and UNHCR – as well as Education Cannot Wait, a global fund to transform the delivery of education in emergencies.

Will we talk to the Taliban? Why not, we always have: MSF

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) says it aims always to work with the agreement of all parties to a conflict.

Read more here.

Evacuated Turkish troops land in Ankara from Afghanistan

The first batch of Turkish troops evacuated from Afghanistan landed in the country’s capital on Thursday, according to flag carrier Turkish Airlines.

The group of 345 Turkish Armed Forces personnel initially travelled from Kabul to Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, via a Turkish Air Force transport plane, then proceeded to Ankara on a Turkish Airlines flight.

Two more evacuation flights are set to take off from Istanbul on Monday, depending on demand, according to the Anadolu news agency.

Qatar facilitates the evacuation of more than 40,000 people

In coordination with countries and parties on the ground, Qatar has facilitated the evacuation of more than 40,000 people safely from Kabul to Qatar, according to its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Most of the evacuees are transiting in Qatar, where they are hosted temporarily for a few days before departing to their onward destinations.

“As an impartial mediator, Qatar has been talking with all parties to facilitate aid and evacuation, while staying informed of the policies and actions taking place on the ground. Qatar will spare no effort in supporting the people of Afghanistan,” the statement said.

Most of the evacuees are transiting in Qatar [Courtesy of Qatar’s Government Communications Office]

France convicts Afghan days after evacuating him from Kabul

A French court has handed an Afghan man a 10-month suspended jail sentence for violating the terms of a surveillance order, days after France evacuated him from Kabul.

The man, Ahmat M, is one of five people who were placed under surveillance after their arrival in France as part of an investigation into possible Taliban links.

“This is not the case of a Taliban in France, it is the case of a man who fled his country with his wife and his three-month-old daughter” and who was arrested for “going to the supermarket”, said his lawyer Alice Ouaknine.

G20 must make sure Afghan women preserve rights: Draghi

Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi says the Group of 20 major economies must be committed to making sure women keep their fundamental freedoms and basic rights in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

“The G20 must do all it can to ensure that Afghan women preserve their fundamental freedoms and basic rights, especially the right to education,” Draghi said in opening remarks at the G20 Conference on Women’s Empowerment.

An Afghan woman looks at items to buy at a shop displaying used household goods at a market in Kabul [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

Kandahar airport reopens, receives first flight

Al Jazeera’s Charlotte Bellis, reporting from Kabul, said Kandahar airport has reopened for international flights.

“Today, the first flight arrived from Tajikistan with some Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) staff. They are the first people to receive stamps in their passports from the Islamic Emirate,” she said, referring to the name the Taliban calls Afghanistan.

“So even if Kabul airport is shut down or there is some interruption, there is a glimmer of hope that there will still be international flight possible through Kandahar airport.”

UN ready for air bridge between Islamabad and Kabul

WFP head David Beasley says the UN agency has repaired its damaged planes in Pakistan and is ready to establish a humanitarian air bridge between Islamabad and Kabul as well as other destinations in Afghanistan.

“This will allow us to scale up to meet the needs of the Afghan people,” he said in a video address posted on Twitter.

Afghan journalists begin uncertain chapter under Taliban rule

Journalists wonder if they should stay or leave after the Afghan Taliban – known for its curbs on media – sweeps to power.

Read more here.

Taliban fighters patrol in Kandahar [Stringer/EPA]

How an Afghan refugee crisis at sea transformed Australian policy

Twenty years ago, a Norwegian freighter rescued hundreds of Afghan asylum seekers off a sinking Indonesian vessel, triggering a crisis that ushered in Australia’s hardline immigration policies.

Read more here.

US tries new ways to get people to Kabul airport

Al Jazeera’s Charlotte Bellis, reporting from Kabul, said: “We know that about 1,500 US passport holders remain in Kabul, who are meant to be evacuated.”

“We understand that they are … are sending helicopters to try and retrieve these people and get them to the airport because of these threats.”

“They also have a new strategy we witnessed yesterday. They’re putting people on buses, essentially pre-vetting them, at different places around Kabul. They’re checking that they have all the documents they need to get through and taking those buses to streamline the process to get past the Taliban.”

“That had been working quite well yesterday but then we understand last night the Taliban started stopping some of those buses en route to the airport and checking people for documents. Some people said they didn’t get through after that.”

“The US and the Taliban have a deal. The Taliban are under strict instructions not to let anyone through without a passport, without a green card, without verified documents and there is confusion about what a verified document looks like.”

Afghanistan: US, allies warn of ‘terror threat’ at Kabul airport

The US, Australia and the UK have urged people to move away from Kabul airport due to the threat of an attack by the ISIL (ISIS) in Khorasan Province armed group, an ISIL offshoot.

Read more here.

Afghans try to reach the airport after the Taliban restricts access [Akhter Gulfam/EPA]

‘I was born here, I’ll be buried here’: In Afghanistan to stay

Why one Afghan woman refuses to leave her home – even in the face of fear and uncertainty, as the Taliban resumes control.

Listen to her story here.

Australia urges people to leave Kabul airport area over threat

There is a high threat of an attack near the airport in Kabul, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne says, as Canberra urged its citizens and those with a visa for Australia to evacuate the area.

Australia has been evacuating its citizens and visa holders for more than a week from Kabul airport, where Canberra had urged people to travel in order to be ready for transport.

Australia changed its advice to those in the area, which Payne said was based on heightened concerns of an attack. “There is an ongoing and very high threat of a terrorist attack,” Payne told reporters in Canberra.

Hundreds gather near an evacuation control checkpoint during evacuations at Kabul airport [AP Photo]

Baby born during evacuation named after the plane

A baby born on board a US military flight during the evacuation from Afghanistan has been named after the plane. The US Air Force Boeing C-17 planes often use the call sign “Reach” followed by a combination of numbers.

The baby girl, born at the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany, was named Reach, Tod Wolters, commander of US forces in Europe, told a Pentagon briefing.

“As you can well imagine, being an Air Force fighter pilot, it’s my dream to watch that young child called Reach grow up and be a US citizen and fly United States Air Force fighters in our Air Force,” Wolters said.

Hungary’s military planes leave Afghanistan

Hungary’s two military passenger planes and all its troops taking part in evacuations have left Afghanistan and returned safely to Hungary, the Hungarian defence ministry says.

Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Hungary’s evacuation flights were nearing an end after it airlifted more than 500 people from Kabul.

Macron discusses Afghan crisis with Tajik president

French President Emmanuel Macron has discussed the crisis in Afghanistan with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and will host Rahmon in France on October 13, a statement from Macron’s office says.

Tajikistan will not recognise an Afghan government that is not inclusive and representative of all of its ethnic groups, Rahmon said, accusing the Taliban of failing to fulfil its promise of inclusivity.

Credible threat of imminent Kabul airport attack: UK

There is “very, very credible” intelligence that an imminent attack is being planned on those gathering at Kabul airport, British armed forces minister James Heappey says.

“The Foreign Office advice was changed last night, that people should not come to Kabul Airport, they should move to a safe place and await further instructions,” Heappey told BBC radio.

“I can only say that the threat is severe… There is every chance that as further reporting comes in, we may be able to change the advice and process people anew, but there is no guarantee of that.”

Read the updates from August 25 here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies