Global Review – 20th August

‘Taliban carrying out door-to door manhunt’ – UN report

A UN document has warned that the Taliban have stepped up their search for people who worked for NATO forces or the previous Afghan government. It said militants have been going door-to-door to find targets and threatening their family members: unless they give themselves in, the Taliban will arrest and prosecute, interrogate and punish family members on behalf of those individuals. The warning that the group was targeting “collaborators” came in a confidential document by the Norwegian Centre for Global Analyses, which provides intelligence to the UN.

‘US diplomats had warned about Kabul falling’ – WSJ

The Wall Street Journal writes that 20 State Department executives at the US embassy in Kabul had warned to Secretary of State Antony Blinken of the rapid advance of the Taliban a month ago and provided advice on how to speed up evacuations.

UK’s Raab “hanging by a thread”

Some of Friday’s London newspapers focus on the future of UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, following claims he should have personally intervened to help evacuate Afghan interpreters, rather than let a junior minister make the phone call. “Bad call, minister” is the headline in the Daily Mail. It claims that the crucial phone call “never took place” and suggested Mr Raab’s job was “hanging by a thread”.

In other developments:

  • More anti-Taliban protests have taken place in several cities. In Kabul, demonstrators waved the national flag while there were reportedly casualties among protesters in Asadabad.
  • Foreign powers are continuing their efforts to get their nationals out of Afghanistan. The US says it has evacuated 7,000 people since 14 August.
  • Outside Kabul airport the situation remains chaotic. The Taliban has been blocking Afghans trying to flee. One video showed a desperate mother handing her child to a US soldier, pleading, “Save my child!”.
  • “The Taliban must guarantee the safety of those who intend to leave Afghanistan.” This was underlined by the G7 foreign ministers in the final declaration of a video summit on the Afghan crisis convened by the British presidency.
  • US Predsident Joe Biden has told ABC the Taliban must decide if they want to be recognised by the international community. However he did not think they had changed their fundamental beliefs.
  • EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson has urged EU member states to welcome Afghans who are “in immediate danger”, calling on them to “speed up” their operations to take in refugees.
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear Turkey has no intention of becoming the “migrant repository of Europe”.
  • US officials told Reuters the Taliban now control thousands of US-made armoured vehicles, between 30 and 40 aircraft and a large number of small arms.
  • One of those who died falling from a US plane leaving Kabul has been identified as 19-year-old Zaki Anwari, who played for Afghanistan’s national youth football team.

Man arrested over bomb threat near US Capitol

A man has been arrested after making a bomb threat near the Congress building in Washington DC. The man, identified as Floyd Ray Roseberry, 49, surrendered hours after the threat was made. US Capitol Police had been negotiating with the driver who had parked a pick-up truck near the Library of Congress, across the street from the Capitol building and Supreme Court. Roseberry invokes Donald Trump claiming that he will return to being president after the ouster of Joe Biden.

Prince Harry donates $1.5 million to African children

Prince Harry has donated $1.5 million to projects in favour of poor children in Africa and entrusted to a charity which he himself recently co-founded with his wife Meghan and others. The sum of money is taken from the advance of the rights guaranteed to the Duke of Sussex by the publisher who is preparing to publish his autobiography in the coming months.


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