Global Review – 31st August

‘Afghanistan has gained complete independence’ say Taliban

After nearly 20 years, US troops have left Afghanistan. Celebrations by the Taliban, started as the last American troops withdrew, continued late into the night. They declared that they had made history, and celebratory gunfire rung out over Kabul. The shots came from the main Taliban checkpoints, while shouts of jubilation rose from positions in the former ‘green zone’. As the last US plane departed, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid announced, “Tonight, at exactly midnight, the last American soldiers left the airport of Kabul and our country has gained complete independence. Praise be to God”.

US announces the end of its longest war

The US military completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 31 after two decades of war, leaving the Taliban in charge. The chief of the US central command, General Frank McKenzie, who oversaw the pull-out, said America managed to evacuate some 123,000 civilians.

Gen McKenzie said this had been “the largest non-combatant evacuation mission in the US military’s history”. The cost of the mission had been high: it cost the lives of 2,500 US servicemen, nearly 50,000 Afghan civilians, 66,000 Afghan national military and police, 457 British armed forces personnel, and 50,000 Taliban and opposition fighters. It was a war overseen by four US presidents, fought by two generations of Americans, and came at a cost of an estimated $2 trillion.

UN asks Taliban “to keep its promises to let people leave”

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution emphasising that it expects the Taliban to keep its promises to let people leave, including Afghans who supported the war effort. The resolution by France, UK and the US requires that “the Afghan territory is not used to threaten or attack any country, to host or train terrorists, to plan or finance terrorist acts”.

CoE states must welcome Afghans

Council of Europe commissioner for human rights Dunja Mijatovic has said member states must honour their obligations in terms of welcoming those fleeing the dire situation in Afghanistan. “Many governments have suggested, announced, and taken measures to close the borders, limit asylum applications and reject them,” he said. UNHCR said by the end of the year, up to 500,000 Afghans could flee the country.

COVID-19 deaths exceed 4.5 million

The total number of deaths caused by the coronavirus world-wide has exceeded the threshold of 4.5 million. According to the Johns Hopkins University since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 4,523,766 deaths from a total of 217,901,675 cases. At 1,171,627, deaths in Europe are the highest.

Abu Mazen meets Benny Gantz

Palestinian President Abu Mazen and Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz met in Ramallah in the West Bank on Sunday night. The face-to-face meeting was the first in a decade at a high level between Palestinians and Israelis and follows the recent meeting between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Joe Biden in Washington.

New Michael Jackson music might be released

Michael Jackson’s brother Tito has revealed that the late pop star’s family could soon be releasing new music that he “left behind”. Tito disclosed that the Jackson family is planning to record a new track and a studio album featuring previously unheard material from the singer.

$50 billion spent on football players in 10 years

Football’s governing body FIFA has said that clubs around the world spent nearly $50 billion on buying players over the last decade. In research covering the period 2011 and 2020, FIFA found Manchester City topped the list of big spenders, followed by Chelsea and Barcellona.

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