Afghans crowd airport gates as evacuation efforts wind down

Flights from Kabul resume with fresh urgency amid fears of further terrorist attacks after Thursday’s bombing

Afghanistan withdrawal – live updates

Anxious crowds of Afghans still hoping to join the western evacuation airlift from Kabul have crowded airport gates less than a day after scores were killed in a devastating Islamic State suicide bombing.

As flights from Afghanistan resumed with fresh urgency on Friday, amid fears that the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) affiliate could attack again, more countries announced they had completed their evacuations with only days to go before the deadline for withdrawal by US-led troops.

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The west has to ask itself: if IS is the enemy, does that make the Taliban our friends? | Jason Burke

Afghanistan’s new rulers are far better equipped than the US and its allies to take the fight to the Kabul airport bombers

After the bloodshed at Kabul airport, the grim reality for those who want to prevent Islamic State’s affiliate causing further murder and mayhem in Afghanistan is that in practice their best partner for this complex and difficult battle would be the Taliban.

Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) – the name is borrowed from that used by early Islamic empires to describe much of modern Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan – was founded six years ago. Until this week it had been something of a failure. Though the group made early gains, these were rapidly lost as the Taliban fought back hard: they were not going to allow an upstart newcomer, particularly one largely composed of disaffected former Taliban commanders, Pakistanis and Uzbeks, to take over.

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Andrew Quilty documents 12 days of chaos in Kabul – in pictures

The Australian photojournalist has been working in the Afghan capital as troops from the US, UK and Australia withdraw. A period culminating in two suicide bombings, which tore through crowds trying to enter Hamid Karzai international airport

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Biden is facing his biggest crisis yet. And he will survive it | Ben Davis

The majority of Americans support the withdrawal from Afghanistan. That’s why his approval ratings will bounce back in the long-run

President Biden’s decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, and the country’s nearly immediate fall to the Taliban, has created the first major public relations crisis of his presidency. This crisis further deteriorated on Thursday, with the Islamic State bombing at Kabul airport, which claimed the lives of at least 12 American soldiers.

Elite opinion in both parties has been decidedly against his decision to withdraw and he has received intense and sustained negative media coverage for the first time as president. The airport blast will only make this worse. As a result, Biden’s formerly stable approval rating has dropped precipitously and now sits just barely above water. Biden has hit a crisis that looks like it could sink his presidency, but he is right to dismiss his critics and stay the course, both morally and politically.

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‘We weren’t able to bring everyone’: Jacinda Ardern ends New Zealand flights from Afghanistan

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced New Zealand was ending further flights into Kabul, due to the continuing threat of terrorist attacks. The announcement followed an attack at the airport on Thursday that killed least 60 Afghans and 13 US soldiers.

Ardern said she did not know how many visa holders from Afghanistan remained in the country, nor how many of those registered on SafeTravel managed to get out, but said New Zealand had not given up on trying to bring visa-holders home

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UK evacuation from Kabul to end in ‘a matter of hours’

Defence secretary says up to 1,100 eligible Afghans to be left behind, as UK stops taking people into Kabul airport

The UK has stopped taking people into Kabul airport to remove them from Afghanistan, the defence secretary, Ben Wallace has said, and the evacuation process will end in “a matter of hours”.

Accepting that there would be Afghan translators or others who worked with UK forces who would not get out, Wallace said these people would be advised to seek access to third countries or offered advice on “how they can look after themselves” under Taliban rule.

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As Afghan refugees arrive in the UK, what can you do to help?

Charities need clothing, baby items, smartphones and cash donations, plus spare rooms or your time

About 10,000 Afghans are forecast to be flown to the UK this year for resettlement under two schemes after fleeing the Taliban takeover, , but the true number could be higher.

Half worked for the British army or other UK institutions and qualify for the Afghan relocations and assistance policy (Arap). The others will arrive on the new Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme, which prioritises other vulnerable people.

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Hundreds of Britons offer to host Afghan refugees after fall of Kabul

Many have signed up with charities that connect refugees and asylum seekers with hosts around UK

Hundreds of Britons have offered to host Afghan refugees in their homes since the UK government started evacuation flights after the fall of Kabul.

In August, 998 people have signed up to be hosts with Rooms for Refugees, a Glasgow-based community housing network which has 10,000 hosts on its books across the UK. Another 824 people have offered up their spare rooms to Afghans via another charity, Refugees at Home, in the last two weeks.

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China bans celebrity rankings in bid to ‘rectify chaos in the fan community’

Authorities increase regulation of fame and fan culture that they say will tackle online bullying and protect children

Chinese authorities have banned online lists ranking celebrities by popularity, as regulators continue a drive to “clean up” fame and fandom culture.

According to regulations published in state media, all existing lists that rank Chinese stars must also be removed from the internet.

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New Zealand Covid update: national lockdown extended after 70 new cases

Auckland and the neighbouring region of Northland are likely to stay in level 4 lockdown for another two weeks

New Zealand will remain in a full lockdown until midnight on Tuesday, with regions south of Auckland moving to level 3 after then, the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has announced.

The update came after 70 new cases of coronavirus were reported in the community, bringing the total number in New Zealand’s outbreak to 347.

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New Zealand police break up one-person anti-lockdown protest in Auckland

An Instagram account had called on people to get involved in the Queen Street demonstration

A one-person anti-lockdown protest in central Auckland has been shut down, after the police were alerted to discussions of a potential gathering on social media.

New Zealand police said officers were on Queen Street on Friday after hearing a protest was being planned, but only one person arrived with the intention of protesting, Newshub reported.

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Kabul airport atrocity offers a glimpse of the chaos to come in Afghanistan

Joe Biden left with no good options after deadliest day for US troops in Afghanistan in more than a decade

The tempting comparison between the withdrawals of US forces from Kabul in 2021 and Saigon in 1975 has offered diminishing returns over the past 12 days.

Whereas about 7,000 people were evacuated from Vietnam (5,500 Vietnamese civilians and about 1,500 Americans), more than 95,000 people have left Afghanistan in a historic airlift since 14 August, the day before the capital fell to the Taliban.

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