Global Review – 22nd August

 ‘Taliban may have US planes and helicopters left in the field

According to reports from CNN, the Taliban may have taken possession of several Black Hawk helicopters and about 20 A-29 Tucano fighter jets. This, apart from American small arms, such as assault rifles and machine guns, and of Humvee armoured vehicles, as shown by several images, but also other heavy weapons and millions of ammunition. The Pentagon and US national security said they were taking stock of the lost military equipment.

ISIS threat forces US changes to Kabul evacuations

Potential Islamic State threats against Americans in Afghanistan have forced the US military to develop new ways to get evacuees to the airport in Kabul. A senior US official said small groups of Americans, and possibly other civilians, will be given specific instructions on what to do, including movement to transit points where they could be gathered up by the military. The changes come as the US Embassy issued a new security warning telling citizens not to travel to the Kabul airport without individual instruction from a US government representative. Officials declined to provide more specifics about the ISIS threat but described it as “significant”. In the airport tension remains high, with at least four women dead due to the crowd of people seeking to escape. The Wall Street Journalsays President Joe Biden could order American airlines to help transport evacuated people from Afghanistan.

Mullah Baradar arrives in Kabul

To neutralise a potential exodus from the country, the general staff of the Taliban is speeding up the time to form a new government, “inclusive” of all the souls of Afghanistan, which guarantees order and reassures the population. A senior Islamist official said Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who co-founded the Taliban, arrived in Kabul with the aim of “meeting jihadist and political leaders for the establishment of an inclusive government”.

In other news…

  • The maxi-concert taking place in New York’s Central Park was interrupted due to the worsening weather conditions, linked to the arrival on the northeastern coast of the USA of Hurricane Henri. The crowd of tens of thousands at the event was invited to leave the park immediately. Before the start of the concert, Mayor Bill de Blasio had declared a state of emergency, but at the same time gave the green light to the event.
  • Hurricane Grace lashed eastern Mexico with heavy rain and strong winds on Saturday, leaving eight people dead and causing flooding, power blackouts and damage to homes as it gradually lost strength over the mountainous interior. Television images showed the streets of Tecolutla, home to about 24,000 people, littered with fallen trees, signs and roof panels as dawn broke.
  • Australian police arrested hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters in Melbourne and Sydney and seven officers were hospitalised as a result of clashes. Mounted police used pepper spray in Melbourne to break up crowds of more than 4,000 surging towards police lines, while smaller groups of protesters were prevented from congregating in Sydney by a large contingent of riot police. Victoria state police said that they arrested 218 people in Melbourne, issued 236 fines and kept three people in custody for assaulting police.
  • Tens of thousands of people also demonstrated in the streets of France again against the government’s COVID-19 vaccination policies amid concern from rights groups about anti-Semitic sentiment in the protest movement. Saturday’s marches were called for the sixth weekend in a row to denounce a “health pass” system announced by President Emmanuel Macron that they see as unfairly restricting the rights of the unvaccinated.
  • Israel struck Gaza on Saturday, just hours after its troops attacked Palestinians protesters leaving dozens injured, including a 13-year-old Palestinian boy. Hamas said 41 civilians were wounded. The Israeli army said “hundreds of rioters” had tried to climb the Gaza Strip’s northern border fence, hurling “explosive devices”, with some trying to wrest a rifle off a soldier. An officer was wounded when protesters opened fire.
  • Angela Merkel’s party kicked off its election campaign in the hopes of continuing to lead the country even as the chancellor steps down. But poll numbers for the CDU have decreased in recent weeks, with the party polling just a few points ahead of the Social Democrats and the Green Party. Armin Laschet, who now leads Merkel’s centre-right party, said he would “fight with everything” he can to win the September 26 election.
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