An Afghan security guard has been killed in a firefight between unknown gunmen and Afghan forces at the north gate of Kabul airport, the German military said, as thousands thronged the airport, seeking to flee Taliban rule.
Three more people were injured in the gun battle on Monday morning that has also involved German and United States forces, the German military said on Twitter.
The airport has been the scene of chaos since the Taliban seized the Afghan capital on August 15 as US and international forces try to evacuate citizens and vulnerable Afghans. A NATO official has said that at least 20 people have died in and around the airport in the past week.
US President Joe Biden has stated that the “hard and painful” airlift of Americans and tens of thousands of others from Afghanistan’s capital is accelerating, but he would not rule out extending it beyond the August 31 deadline he set before the Taliban’s swift takeover.
Here are all the latest updates:
Qatar receives thousands of Afghan refugees
Qatar has evacuated thousands of people from Afghanistan and is hosting them before they are moved to other countries.
Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal has been to the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar where flights are arriving. He said the evacuees included mostly students.
“The pressure that has been put on the Qatari military as well as its allies here at Al Udeid has been huge, because the influx of the refugees coming in has been far greater than the capacity to house them. There were issues with where they would sleep, the air conditioning in the really harsh summer heat of Qatar,” he said.
“The authorities here at the air base from the American side said they have been able to relocate several hundred of these refugees to a location 15 minutes away from here.”
UK’s Johnson to push Biden for Afghan deadline extension
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will ask US President Joe Biden to extend the evacuation deadline from Afghanistan when Group of Seven leaders discuss the crisis on Tuesday, two UK ministers said.
James Heappey, minister for the armed forces, and James Cleverly, a foreign office minister, said Britain was pushing for the deadline to be pushed beyond August 31 to increase the number of people it can help who want to flee the Taliban.
Heappey told Sky News about 4,000 people who were eligible to come to the United Kingdom were still in Afghanistan and the government wanted to evacuate thousands more if it could.
Kabul evacuation brings 193 people to Belgium
A charter flight arrived at a Belgian air base outside Brussels, carrying 193 people escaping the chaos in Kabul.
The Air Belgium jet brought the escapees – including Belgians and Afghans who worked for international missions – from an Islamabad base acting as a staging post for Belgium’s military airlift from the Afghan capital.
Monday’s charter was the first evacuation back to Belgian soil. The arrivals were to be transferred from the Melsbroek base, home of Belgium’s 15th Air Transport Wing, to a military base in Peutie for health checks and security screening.
Firefight at Kabul Airport involving Afghan, US, German forces
A firefight broke out between Afghan security forces and unknown assailants at the north gate of Kabul airport, the German military says on Twitter.
One Afghan security force member was killed and three others were injured in the battle, which also involved US and German forces, the army said.
All German soldiers remained uninjured, it said.
Foreign forces have not sought to postpone exit: Taliban official
Foreign forces in Afghanistan have not sought to extend the August 31 deadline they have set for leaving the country, a Taliban official tells the Reuters news agency.
Japan to send military plane to repatriate citizens from Afghanistan
Japan will send a military plane later on Monday to Afghanistan to bring back its citizens, the top government spokesman says.
More military transport planes are expected to be dispatched to Afghanistan to repatriate not only its own citizens but also Afghans working at the Japanese embassy or with Japanese missions, Katsunobu Kato, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, told a press conference.
US seeks to boost Afghan airlift operations
A chaotic race to help tens of thousands of people escape Taliban-run Afghanistan was boosted on Monday with the US ordering its commercial airlines to help, though President Joe Biden flagged the evacuations could go beyond next week’s deadline.
Speaking at the White House, Biden acknowledged the searing scenes at the airport, which have included babies and children being passed to soldiers over razor-wire fences and men clinging to the outside of departing planes. But he said they were part of the cost of departure.
“There is no way to evacuate this many people without pain and loss and heartbreaking images you see,” he said.
In an effort to ramp up the airlift, the US government ordered six leading commercial airlines to fly back to the United States those who have been evacuated from Kabul to US bases in the Gulf and Europe.