Escape from Kabul: ‘clear and present danger’ of ISIS attacks
United States and British intelligence networks have warned that there is a high and “specific” risk of ISIS attacks on evacuation operations at Kabul airport. They have both advised people not to travel to the airport and those already there have been advised “to leave immediately” to a safe location and “wait for further advice”. The intelligence reports warned suicide attacks against soldiers and civilians still at the airport are feared in particular. “There is an influx of potential suicide bombers in the city,” they said.
In other developments:
- The number of people evacuated so far from Afghanistan has risen to at least 82,300. In the last 24 hours, the US military has taken out nearly 20,000 displaced people, while the UK, second in the number of rescues, has reached a total of 10,000. The people considered most at risk – foreigners excluded – are however calculated at around 300,000 just by counting the former Afghan collaborators of the NATO mission. And taking them all out by the withdrawal deadline confirmed yesterday for August 31 will be impossible.
- NBC News reports several American and world judges are working hard to get 250 female magistrates and their families out of Afghanistan after hearing that the Taliban are looking for them. Many of the judges were trained in the US and issued harsh sentences on Taliban fighters during the war in Afghanistan, but most are not entitled to special visas because they have never been on the American payroll.
- According to the UN Office in Afghanistan, almost 60% of the Afghans who have been forced to leave their homes this year are children. Since May, more than 400,000 people were registered as “newly displaced” due to intensified fighting across the country. In total, nearly 550,000 Afghans have been displaced this year.
- Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanged views on Afghanistan on Wednesday, Chinese state media said, but did not echo the G7’s call for the Taliban to allow people to flee the country after August 31. Xi reiterated China’s position of non-interference and of respecting Afghanistan’s sovereignty and independence, while Putin told Xi he shares China’s position and interests in Afghanistan and was willing to work with China to “prevent foreign forces from interfering and destroying” Afghanistan.
Court rejects request to stop COVID vaccines
The European Court of Human Rights has rejected a request from 672 French professional and volunteer firefighters opposed to the vaccine obligation against COVID-19. The seven court judges said these requests were outside the scope of its rules. The firefighters had invoked the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights relating to the “right to life” and the “right to respect for private and family life”.
Demonstrations on the Israeli-Gaza border
About a thousand Palestinian demonstrators from Gaza gathered along the demarcation line with Israel and tried to break through the fences. Members of the Israeli army used tear gas and fired rubber bullets as the demonstrators set fire to tyres and threw fireballs at the nearby Israeli agricultural fields. Between 10 and 20 Palestinians were injured.
Italian TV presenter on ‘rape drug’ charges
TV presenter and actor Ciro Di Maio was arrested yesterday in Milan for drug dealing after importing a litre of the so called ‘rape drug’ from the Netherlands. Since 2009, Di Maio has been the face of the Marcopolo channel for which he hosts the successful TV programme ‘Diario Di Viaggio’.
Asteroid to zip past Earth this weekend
A large asteroid that could be taller than the Golden Gate Bridge is set to zip past Earth on Saturday, according to NASA. It will come within around three million miles of our planet, which is equivalent to around 12 times the average distance between the Earth and the moon. The asteroid will be traveling at some 16,200 miles per hour – about eight times as fast as a rifle bullet.