Update (1400ET): The AP reports that 7 Afghan civilians were killed Monday outside the airport in Kabul as the mayhem reached the 1-week point. It cited the British military as its source, continuing a trend of information about goings-on at the Kabul airport filtering through to the American press via foreign sources.
The AP also reported on the situationin Panjshir, which the Taliban claims is slowly being brought to heel by its fighters.
Anti-Taliban fighters claimed to have seized three mountainous districts, and a prominent militia commander in the only province not yet under Taliban control pledged to fight back if attacked.
Western soldiers tried to control the scene of the airport, but also sprayed the exhausted and overheating crowd with water, and handed out water bottles as well.
The AP added that it’s unclear whether "Taliban leaders are saying one thing and doing another, or if fighters are taking matters into their own hands."
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Update (1155ET): German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned the press Monday that the situation outside the airport in Kabul has grown even more chaotic on Monday after a member of the Afghan national forces who was working as a guard outside the airport was killed, while several others were wounded.
After the Taliban assured there would be no extension of the airlift deadline, UK PM Boris Johnson has nevertheless called for a virtual meeting of G-7 leaders on Tuesday to discuss the crisis, and the possibility of an extension. The US managed to evacuate more than 10K people over the past 24 hours, the administration confirmed Monday.
Meanwhile, on the ground in Kabul, some militants wanted by Islamabad have been freed from jail in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s interior minister said. The militants are from Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a group that has previously carried out attacks in Pakistan. The Taliban are also asking Iran to step up exports of fuel.
Circling back to the latest word out of Germany, Maas said the government in Berlin is holding talks with the US and Turkey to plan for extending civilian operations at Kabul airport after the departure of US troops to enable further evacuations. This includes current negotiations with the Taliban. Mass also said the early-Monday firefight showed how dangerous the situation is.
"The situation at the airport has only grown more chaotic over the last few hours,” Maas told reporters in Berlin on Monday. "The situation remains dangerous."
Outside Afghanistan, Kamala Harris is doing her best not to talk about the situation during her trip to Singapore.
Heading into Monday afternoon in the US, new videos of a fire blazing at the airport are circulating on social media.
Meanwhile, the US is relying on Qatar to get American citizens safely through the morass of human misery that has formed outside Hamid Karzai International Airport.
New: The US evacuation is getting a key assist from Qatar, which has a longstanding rapport with the Taliban. The Qatari ambassador in Kabul is escorting groups of Americans outside the wire past Taliban checkpoints to the airport, per our Gulf and US sources. pic.twitter.com/c8GMbuRpvL— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) August 22, 2021
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Another guard was killed Monday outside the International Airport in Kabul when a firefight broke out, leaving one member of the Afghan National Army dead, and three others wounded. Some members of the now-dissolved Afghan military are helping to guard the airport.
News of the killing was revealed by the Germany military, which announced it via twitter early Monday morning in the US. No German soldiers were harmed in the skirmish, fortunately. It doesn't appear that any other NATO forces were harmed either. The firefight was instigated by unidentified gunmen.
The withdrawal from the US-led NATO mission in Afghanistan has been a disaster, with polls showing a majority of Americans no longer see him as "competent or effective".
AFP reports that at least 8 people have been killed in gunfire outside the airport during the chaotic scenes that have emerged since Kabul fell to the Taliban on Aug. 15.
VIDEO: @AFP on the ground at Kabul airport.— AFP News Agency (@AFP) August 23, 2021
Terrified Afghans continue to try to flee the country after the Taliban takeover, overwhelming the evacuation operation at the airport and leading to tragic scenes in which at least eight people have died pic.twitter.com/ZZCjy2M7ab
Of course, it's not only Americans who are leaving the country via airlift, as the AFP reminds us with what appears to be the first full accounting of post-takeover evacuations. NATO forces have evacuated about 30K people in total.
As he insisted during a press conference on Sunday, Biden, who has redeployed thousands back to Afghanistan to oversee the evacuations, insists that he wants to end the US military presence and the airlifts by Aug. 31 (a timeline that has been dictated by the Taliban). The EU and Britain have said completing the airlift in that time would be impossible, leaving Biden with a difficult choice to make. Talks are reportedly underway about the possibility of extending the deadline.
Meanwhile, the last pockets of resistance inside Afghanistan have continued to gather in the Panjshir Valley, historically a hotbed of anti-Taliban resistance. The Taliban said Monday that their fighters had surrounded resistance forces holed up in the valley, but were looking to negotiate rather than take the fight to them. Taliban fighters "are stationed near Panjshir", said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid via tweet, adding that the Taliban had the area surrounded on three sides.
An AFP photographer managed to snap photos of members of the ragtag "resistance" forces.
The announcement about the encirclement of Panjshir follows scattered reports of clashes overnight. Afghanistan's former vice president Amrullah Saleh told the press that resistance forces were holding strong.
One of the leaders of the movement in Panjshir (which goes by the National Resistance Front) is the son of famed anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud.
While the NRF says it's prepared for a "long-term conflict", it's first and foremost seeking to negotiate with the Taliban about the possibility of an "inclusive" government.