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Female mayor in Afghanistan says she’s waiting for Taliban to ‘come … and kill me’

UK INDEPENDENT — One of Afghanistan’s first female mayors has said that she is waiting for the Taliban to find her and kill her.

Zarifa Ghafari, the 27-year-old former mayor of Maidan Shar in Wardak province, told the i newspaper: “I’m sitting here waiting for them to come. There is no one to help me or my family”.

“I’m just sitting with them and my husband. And they will come for people like me and kill me.

“I can’t leave my family,” she said. “And anyway, where would I go?”

Just three weeks ago, she told the i newspaper that she had hope for the future of her country.

“Younger people are aware of what’s happening,” she said. “They have social media. They communicate. I think they will continue fighting for progress and our rights. I think there is a future for this country.”

In 2018 Ms Ghafari was appointed mayor of Maidan Shar by president Ashraf Ghani, making her Afghanistan’s youngest mayor and the first woman to hold office in the conservative city.


Taliban plot next steps as U.S. retreat accelerates

THE WASHINGTON TIMES — A surge of American troops restored order and evacuation flights resumed from Afghanistan’s main international airport Tuesday, while Taliban representatives now ruling Kabul began a publicity blitz to plead for calm and convince the world the militant group has changed its ways since ruling over the Afghan capital with an iron Islamist fist two decades ago.

A top Taliban leader issued a statement ordering the group’s fighters not to enter the homes of ordinary Afghans, while spokesmen claimed they’ll honor women’s rights, as long as those rights fit within the group’s definition of Islamic law — an assurance that fell largely on deaf ears as men, women and children tied to the fallen U.S.-backed government continued to scramble for the exits in Kabul.

The scene at Hamid Karzai International Airport was, however, notably calmer Tuesday than it had been a day earlier when chaos reigned as throngs of people rushed the tarmac and seven Afghans were killed, including several who fell from the wheel well of an American military transport plane after it had left the runway.

Biden administration officials said more than 4,000 U.S. troops are now at the airport, arriving via waves of C-17 transport planes, several of which were later used to ferry U.S. citizens home. Thousands of Afghans are also being housed in third countries or in temporary holding facilities at American military bases.

Pentagon officials said the goal is to move as many as 9,000 passengers a day out of Kabul. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the Biden administration had set a deadline of Aug. 31 to complete the evacuation amid uncertainty over the extent to which the Taliban may seek to violently halt the operation.


Taliban Promise ‘No Discrimination Against Women’: ‘Our Sisters Have the Same Rights’

BREITBART — The Taliban, a jihadist terrorist organization, vowed during a press conference Tuesday to prevent “discrimination against women” now that it had taken over Afghanistan.

The promise, if kept, would be a major deviation from the extreme repression of women during the Taliban’s last tenure as the official government of the country and its consistent behavior in the 20 years thereafter.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid held his first televised press conference on Tuesday since Taliban leaders surrounded Kabul, the nation’s capital, prompting former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to flee the country. The jihadist organization launched a successful campaign to depose the Afghan government beginning in April, when President Joe Biden announced he would extend the Afghan War through September (he since changed his deadline to August 31). Prior to that announcement, U.S. troops were set to permanently leave the country by May 1 as per an agreement brokered between the Taliban and the administration of former President Donald Trump.

In four months, the Taliban captured more territory than it had controlled when in power prior to the 2001 American invasion. Taliban leaders declared the restoration of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” on Sunday night.

Mujahid, one of the most prolific Taliban representatives on Twitter, held a press conference Tuesday to address the nation and offer more detail into the Taliban’s plans for ruling the country. Addressing concerns that radical Islamists, and the Taliban in particular, had a horrific record of human rights atrocities against women, Mujahid insisted that the Taliban was “committed to the rights of women within the framework of sharia,” or the Islamic law.

“Our sisters … have the same rights, will be able to benefit from their rights,” Mujahid said, according to a translation by the U.K. Guardian. “They can have activities in different sectors and different areas on the basis of our rules and regulations, educational, health, and other areas.”


US General Won’t Respond to Reports of Taliban Capturing American Military Rifles, Weapons

THE EPOCH TIMES — A U.S. general said he won’t respond to reports of Taliban members capturing American military weapons and vehicles.

Photos and video footage over the past week showed large caches of weapons, including M-16 rifles and Humvees, being commandeered by the Taliban, considered by some governments to be a terrorist organization. Taliban members were seen holding American-made M-4 carbines and M-16 rifles that were discarded by Afghan military units.

When asked about the captured military equipment and weapons and whether American forces are attempting to prevent them from falling into the hands of the group, Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor responded: “I don’t have the answer to that question.”

The American rifles are more accurate and have a greater range than the AK-47-style rifles used by the Taliban, although AK-47s are easier to clean and are considered more durable. However, the 5.56mm NATO round that the American weapons use is plentiful and is available to private gun owners in the United States.

There were reports of Taliban members capturing military helicopters. One video appeared to show a Taliban-captured helicopter providing air support.

Q: “Is the U.S. taking any other sort of steps to prevent aircraft of other military equipment from falling into the hands of the Taliban?”

Major General Hank Taylor: “I don’t have the answer to that question.”

Full Pentagon briefing here:

— CSPAN (@cspan) August 16, 2021


Islamic State Attacks Iraqi Oil Field


An attack with an explosive device on an oil field in the northern Iraqi region of Kirkuk was blamed on Islamic State militants, according to an unnamed source who spoke to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.

No damage was done to the field, Bai Hassan, according to the source.

Earlier this year, suspected Islamic State militants blew up two oil wells at the Bai Hassan field, killing at least one security officer and setting the oil wells ablaze.

The Bai Hassan field that can produce around 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil has more than 120 oil wells. Based on these reports, it is an attractive target for the Islamic State, which despite international efforts, is alive and well in Iraq and Syria.

A recent report by VOA News cited intelligence agencies as saying that the terrorist group remained resilient and ready to spring back out when the U.S. implemented its plans to “recede deep into the background.”

“The group has evolved into an entrenched insurgency, exploiting weaknesses in local security to find safe havens and targeting forces engaged in counter-ISIL operations,” a report by the UN sanctions monitoring team said.

“Attacks in Baghdad in January and April 2021 underscore the group’s resilience despite heavy counter-terrorism pressure from Iraqi authorities,” the report also said. Islamic State “is likely to continue attacking civilians and other soft targets in the capital whenever possible to garner media attention and embarrass the Government of Iraq.”


US Embassy warns Americans in Kabul to take shelter, says airport reportedly UNDER FIRE amid hasty evacuation of western missions

RT — The US Embassy in Kabul has warned Americans heading for the city’s airport to shelter in place instead, stating that the airport was “taking fire.” The airport is packed with foreign workers hurrying out of Afghanistan.

“The security situation in Kabul is changing quickly, including at the airport,” read a security alert from the embassy on Sunday. “There are reports of the airport taking fire; therefore we are instructing US citizens to shelter in place.”

The embassy had for days been urging Americans in Afghanistan to leave the country, offering them assistance in purchasing plane tickets out. As the Taliban encircled the Afghan capital on Sunday, helicopters ferried embassy staff to the airport, where the US’ diplomatic mission would be rehoused.

American CH-47s over Kabul now, doing shuttle runs between US embassy and airport.— Kern Hendricks (@kernhendricks) August 15, 2021

The evacuation took place under the protection of thousands of American troops, ordered in by President Joe Biden as the Taliban advanced faster than the US could get its staff out. 

Several other nations have also moved their diplomatic corps to the airport, including France, which relocated on Sunday evening.

Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas said military aircraft will be sent to Afghanistan tonight to pick up remaining German nationals and Afghan support staff.

“The flights will go from Kabul to a neighboring country, for the subsequent transport to Germany we will provide civilian planes,” Maas told reporters. “A core team of the embassy will stay in Kabul at the airport to continue work there and support further evacuations.”

Another Saigon moment: chaotic scenes at Kabul International Airport. No security. None.— Saad Mohseni (@saadmohseni) August 15, 2021

For any Americans who failed to make it to the airport already, the future is uncertain. An alternately-worded alert seen by reporters states that “The US Embassy in Afghanistan has suspended consular operations effective immediately.” Americans are warned: “Do not come to the Embassy or airport at this time.”


US Terror Threat Concerns Rise as Taliban Hold Grows

NEWSMAX — America’s top general said the United States could now face a rise in terrorist threats from a Taliban-run Afghanistan. That warning comes as intelligence agencies charged with anticipating those threats face new questions after the U.S.-backed Afghan military collapsed with shocking speed.

Less than a week after a military assessment predicted Kabul could be surrounded by insurgents in 30 days, the world on Sunday watched stunning scenes of Taliban fighters standing in the Afghan president’s office and crowds of Afghans and foreigners frantically trying to board planes to escape the country.

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told senators on a briefing call Sunday that U.S. officials are expected to alter their earlier assessments about the pace of terrorist groups reconstituting in Afghanistan, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

In June, the Pentagon’s top leaders said an extremist group like al-Qaida may be able to regenerate in Afghanistan and pose a threat to the U.S. homeland within two years of the American military’s withdrawal from the country. Two decades after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan because the Taliban harbored al-Qaida leaders, experts say the Taliban and al-Qaida remain aligned, and other violent groups could also find safe haven under the new regime.

Based on the evolving situation, officials now believe terror groups like al-Qaida may be able to grow much faster than expected, according to the person, who had direct knowledge of the briefing but was not authorized to discuss the details of the call publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The Biden administration officials on the call with senators – among them were Milley, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin — said U.S. intelligence agencies are working on forming a new timeline based on the evolving threats, the person familiar with the matter said.


Thousands of Top al-Qaeda, ISIS Terrorists Freed As Taliban Takes Afghanistan

LEGAL INSURRECTION — As Taliban forces swept through Afghanistan, thousands of high-level Taliban, al-Qaeda, and Islamic State terrorists have been set free.  

Around 5,000 top terrorists fled when Afghan government forces surrendered Bagram Air Base, 40 miles from Kabul. The prison at the base housed some of the world’s most notorious jihadis besides the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention center. 

“Afghan forces at Bagram Air Base, home to a prison housing 5,000 inmates, surrendered to the Taliban, according to Bagram district chief Darwaish Raufi,” The Associated Press reported on Monday. “The prison at the former U.S. base held both Taliban and Islamic State group fighters.”

The Taliban released thousands more from the National Detention Facility in Kabul, the BBC and other media outlets reported

The Taliban claims it overran Bagram Air Base and freed prisoners. Many high value detainees were located there, including members of Al Qaeda. This will reverberate for years to come.— Bill Roggio (@billroggio) August 15, 2021

The Times of London reported the release of high-profile terrorists:

Thousands of Afghanistan’s most dangerous terrorism captives have been set free after the Taliban seized control of the former American base at Bagram and the prison known as Afghanistan’s Guantanamo Bay.

Bagram prison contained the 5,000 “highest value” Taliban, al-Qaeda and Islamic State fighters captured on the battlefield. A Taliban spokesman said they were “being evacuated to a safe place”.

The freeing of these high-level terror operatives will have sweeping consequences on the raging worldwide jihad. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the slain ISIS chief was a Camp Bucca inmate, a U.S. detention center in Iraq. Camp Bucca was nicknamed the  ‘Jihadist university,’ where the future ISIS leadership came from. “Camp Bucca became what has been described as a ‘university’ for the future leaders of IS, with inmates becoming radicalised and developing important contacts and networks,” the BBC noted.

Former inmates from Guantanamo Bay make up the current Taliban leadership, including the mujahedeen commander who took the presidential palace in Kabul. “The Al-Jazeera news channel livestreamed the press conference from inside the palace, which showed a group of Taliban fighters sitting at the President’s desk before a fighter claimed he was a former inmate of the US-controlled Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba,” UK’s Daily Mail reported.

The real tragedy of Afghanistan is that the former “inmates” will now run the horror show, creating an “Islamic Emirate,” the second Islamic State since the fall of the caliphate in Syria under President Donald Trump’s watch four years ago. 

The Taliban makes no secret of its intention to see a worldwide Islamic rule. Taliban commander Muhammed Arif Mustafa told CCN recently that “one day mujahedeen will have victory and Islamic law will come not just to Afghanistan, but all over the world. We are not in a hurry. We believe it will come one day. Jihad will not end until the last day,” — a reference to the Islamic end times. 


‘They are going to kill us’: Afghans terrorized as Kabul embassy tells Americans shelter in place

JUST THE NEWS — People in Kabul reported chaos in the streets Sunday as Afghans try to escape the encroaching Taliban while exit routes, including commercial air flights, increasingly are closed. 

“Things are manic,” one person told Just the News from inside Kabul on Sunday. “There is gunfire, and people are fleeing.”

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a security bulletin announcing a deteriorating situation at the last seemingly viable exit point, Hamid Karzai International Airport, just outside the city center.

“There are reports of the airport taking fire; therefore we are instructing U.S. citizens to shelter in place,” the embassy wrote in the Aug. 15 bulletin. Any U.S. citizens wanting help should register on the embassy website, the bulletin read. Afghans seeking visas should also register, even if they already have sent information to the embassy, the bulletin noted.

A video viewed by Just the News depicts the streets filled with cars blaring their horns, while ordinary citizens – men, women, and young children – hastily walk while talking on cell phones and carrying bags of belongings.

The scene unfolded rapidly amid a long-telegraphed Taliban advance on Kabul that nonetheless seemed to come as a surprise as it evolved in the overnight hours. The breakthrough came around 2:45 a.m. EDT, when contacts in Kabul reported that the city had been breached.

The breach spurred intense action among official and private networks, as Westerners scrambled to help their friends and co-workers exit the besieged country. It also spurred a furious exchange of information and rumors, including the story that one American company sent its workers home from the airport on the understanding that they would be evacuated, and now they are trapped inside the city. Just the News was not able to immediately reach the company for comment.


Joe Biden Blames Afghanistan Collapse On Donald Trump

NEWS PUNCH — Joe Biden is blaming former President Donald Trump for the Taliban taking over Afghanistan as the U.S. military withdraws.

Despite saying a Taliban takeover was ‘unlikely’ just a few weeks ago, Biden issued a statement on Saturday complaining that Trump had negotiated a deal “that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001.”

Breitbart reports: The president said he had the choice of either following through with Trump’s withdrawal plan or sending more troops back into Afghanistan to secure the country.

But Biden set a later date for withdrawal, choosing a new deadline of September 11th before walking it back to August 31.

“I was the fourth President to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan—two Republicans, two Democrats,” he said. “I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth.”

On Saturday, Biden announced his decision to surge 5,000 American troops into Afghanistan to help ensure the safe evacuation of American personal.

Despite the president blaming his predecessor, Biden signaled he was disillusioned by the Afghanistan conflict:

One more year, or five more years, of U.S. military presence, would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country. An endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me.

Biden’s remarks were sharply different from his tone just a month ago when he indicated the Taliban takeover of the country was not inevitable.

“So the question now is, where do they go from here?” Biden said in July about the Taliban’s failure to negotiate a deal with the Afghan government. “The jury is still out. But the likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.”

Biden said he would appoint Ambassador Tracey Jacobson to be in charge of relocating Afghanistan allies in the country to get them out of danger.

“Our hearts go out to the brave Afghan men and women who are now at risk,” he said. “We are working to evacuate thousands of those who helped our cause and their families.”

Trump himself criticized Biden’s handling of the withdrawal in Afghanistan in a statement on Thursday.