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Afghanistan news – Taliban thugs 'torture and massacre ethnic group, witnesses say as they 'burn down amusement park'

A HUMAN rights group claims the Taliban have tortrued and killed people from the Hazara minority group.

Amnesty International says witnesses gave heartwrenching accounts of the brutal slaying in Ghazni province.

Around nine Hazara men were killed between 4 and 6 July in Malistan district, after villagers fled to the mountains when fighting between the government and the Taliban intensified.

But they returned to their village they found the Taliban were waiting for them after ransacking their homes – before shooting six men, some of them in the head.

Three men were tortured to death. According to witness accounts, one was strangled with his own scarf and had his arm muscles sliced off, while another’s body was shot to pieces.

The Amnesty report, published yesterday, said the incident was a “horrifying indicator” of Taliban rule, despite the militant group’s more relaxed image in recent days.

Read our Afghanistan live blog below for the latest news & updates…

  • John Hall

    MILITARY CHIEF’S TALIBAN COMMENTS SHOULD BE VALUED, SAYS DEFENCE SECRETARY

    Ben Wallace has defended the head of the British armed forces for suggesting the Taliban may have “changed” in the last 20 years.

    The Defence Secretary said General Sir Nick Carter is “deeply experienced” and his remarks should be listened to and valued.

    Gen Sir Nick, Chief of the Defence Staff, said on Wednesday that the world needs to be patient and “hold its nerve” to see what Afghanistan’s future will look like under a Taliban-led government.

    During a round of broadcast interviews, he told the BBC it “may well be a Taliban that is more reasonable, less repressive and, if you look at the way it is governing Kabul at the moment, there are some indications that it is more reasonable”.

  • John Hall

    PLAID CYMRU SAYS RAAB ‘SHOULD RESIGN O BE REMOVED FROM HIS POST’

    Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts said: “The Foreign Secretary and the life-saving phone call he didn’t make: a failure of political judgment, a shoulder-shrug to duty and a callous lack of humanity. He failed to make the right call.

    “The Foreign Secretary no longer commands respect following his mishandling of duties during the Afghanistan emergency.

    “Dominic Raab should resign or be removed from post.”

  • John Hall

    BIDEN SAYS ‘MILITARY FORCE’ NOT THE WAY TO PROTECT WOMEN’S RIGHTS

    Joe Biden also told ABC that war is not the answer to growing fears for the human rights of women in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.

    “The idea that we’re able to deal with the rights of women around the world by military force is not rational,” Biden said in his first interview since the Taliban victory triggered a frantic final US withdrawal.

    Referring to the Uighur ethnic minority in China and other areas of the world facing extreme human rights abuses, Biden said “the way to deal with that is not with a military invasion.”

    “There are a lot of places where women are being subjugated,” he said. “The way to deal with that is putting economic, diplomatic and international pressure on them to change their behavior.”

    Biden told ABC that many women were trying to leave Afghanistan through the US evacuation at Kabul’s airport. The president said he told advisors to “get them out, get their families out.”

    “As many as we can get out we should,” he said.

  • Joseph Gamp

    TALIBAN 'TORTURED AND KILLED' MEN FROM HAZARA MINORITY IN BRUTAL AMBUSH – REPORT

    A human rights group claims the Taliban have tortrued and killed people from the Hazara minority group.

    Amnesty International says witnesses gave heartwrenching accounts of the brutal slaying in Ghazni province.

    Around nine Hazara men were killed between 4 and 6 July in Malistan district, after villagers fled to the mountains when fighting between the government and the Taliban intensified.

    But they returned to their village they found the Taliban were waiting for them after ransacking their homes – before shooting six men, some of them in the head.

    Three men were tortured to death. According to witness accounts, one was strangled with his own scarf and had his arm muscles sliced off, while another's body was shot to pieces.

    The Amnesty report, published yesterday, said the incident was a "horrifying indicator" of Taliban rule, despite the militant group's more relaxed image in recent days.

  • Joseph Gamp

    EXPLAINED: WHERE DOES THE TALIBAN GET ITS FUNDING FROM?

    The Taliban is said to hold a war chest worth $US1.6billion (£1.2billion) to fund its fight in Afghanistan.

    Money comes in from a variety of sources including drugs, real estate and donations.

    Afghanistan is the world’s largest opium exporter which provides most of the Taliban’s cash.

    Cesar Gudes, head of the Kabul office of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told Reuters: “The Taliban have counted on the Afghan opium trade as one of their main sources of income.

    “More production brings drugs with a cheaper and more attractive price, and therefore a wider accessibility.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    MINISTER CLAIMS TALIBAN BEING 'OFFICIOUS NOT MALICIOUS' AT EVACUATION AIRPORT

    The Taliban is being "officious rather than malicious" in stopping people reaching Kabul airport for evacuation flights, according to a defence minister.

    James Heappey also said he hopes the Taliban will be "different this time", amid widespread reports that its militants have used violence against Afghans – including preventing people reaching the airport to flee.

    A total of 963 people have been evacuated from Kabul on the RAF "air bridge" in the last 24 hours, according to the minister.

    But the former soldier, who fought in Afghanistan, added that he is kept "awake at night" by the knowledge the UK will not be able to get "absolutely everybody out".

  • Joseph Gamp

    MINSTER SAYS NOT GETTING EVERYONE OUTOF AFGHANISTAN 'KEEPING ME AWAKE AT NIGHT'

    Defence minister James Heappey said: "It keeps me awake at night, it keeps the Secretary of State (Ben Wallace) awake at night, it keeps absolutely everyone here at the Ministry of Defence awake at night – that reality that we won't get absolutely everybody out.

    "But what is in our gift is that, through the extraordinary professionalism of our armed forces, we can get as many people out as possible."

    Mr Heappey also said he hopes the Taliban has changed.

    He told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "I hope the Taliban is different this time, I hope that they will not want to be an international pariah and that they will behave differently as a consequence."

    He added: "We have our eyes wide open to what the Taliban could still be, but it's not a given that they will be that and I think we have to hope that that's not what they are."

  • Joseph Gamp

    BIDEN SAYS ‘MILITARY FORCE’ NOT THE WAY TO PROTECT WOMEN’S RIGHTS

    Joe Biden also told ABC that war is not the answer to growing fears for the human rights of women in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.

    “The idea that we’re able to deal with the rights of women around the world by military force is not rational,” Biden said in his first interview since the Taliban victory triggered a frantic final US withdrawal.

    Referring to the Uighur ethnic minority in China and other areas of the world facing extreme human rights abuses, Biden said “the way to deal with that is not with a military invasion.”

    “There are a lot of places where women are being subjugated,” he said. “The way to deal with that is putting economic, diplomatic and international pressure on them to change their behavior.”

    Biden told ABC that many women were trying to leave Afghanistan through the US evacuation at Kabul’s airport. The president said he told advisors to “get them out, get their families out.”

    “As many as we can get out we should,” he said.

  • Joseph Gamp

    'SIGNIFICANT FAILURE AND SETBACK'

    The UK and its allies attempting to rebuild Afghanistan rather than focusing on counter-terrorism resulted in "significant failure and setback", a former MI5 chief has said.

    Lord Jonathan Evans told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "My own personal view is that we should have focused very narrowly on counter-terrorism objectives in regard to Afghanistan.

    "I think it was very worthy and rather ambitious to think we could reshape the whole country whereas the reason we went in originally was for counter-terrorism reasons, and I think that might have been a more achievable task."

    He added: "I think right from the beginning there was a noble ambition that we would have been able to reshape the politics of that region and I think, in retrospect, that was over-ambitious.

    "It would have been a great thing to have achieved but we raised expectations that we were not able to follow through on and the overall effect of that has been a significant failure and setback for us."

  • Joseph Gamp

    AUSSIE PM THANKS BORIS JOHNSON FOR HELP IN EVACUATING AUSTRALIANS FROM AFGHANISTAN

    Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has thanked Boris Johnson for the UK’s help in evacuating Australians from Afghanistan.

    Downing Street said the Prime Minister spoke to his Australian counterpart on Thursday morning.

    A spokesperson said: “The leaders agreed the immediate priority was to evacuate their nationals and former employees from Afghanistan, and to continue working together to achieve this. Prime Minister Morrison thanked the Prime Minister for the UK’s help evacuating 76 Australians on an RAF flight yesterday.

    “The Prime Minister stressed the need for a concerted international effort to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, including through increasing aid to the region and the resettlement of refugees.

    “The Prime Minister and Prime Minister Morrison updated one another on the work the UK and Australia are doing to this effect.

    “Finally, looking ahead to the UK-hosted Cop26 Summit, the Prime Minister underlined the importance of global action on climate change. This includes setting ambitious targets for reaching net zero and increasing climate financing.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    DESPERATE FAMILIES WITH ONE BAG EACH PACK INTO US PLANE TO FLEE AFGHANISTAN AS TALIBAN ‘BEGINS DOOR-TO-DOOR MANHUNTS’

    It comes as the Taliban have begun door-to-door manhunts for people who worked with UK, US and Nato forces, according to reports.

    Shocking photos of inside the plane show the distressing reality for Afghans who are seeking a better life away from the radical Islamists.

    It is the latest in the chilling scenes from the days of chaos at Kabul airport as Afghan people desperately try to escape and the West attempt to evacuate their citizens.

    While thousands flee, the gun-toting insurgents are currently going door-to-door to threaten relatives of civil servants, interpreters and other consular staff.

    A UN dossier leaked to The New York Times has said the Taliban are “arresting and/or threatening to kill or arrest family members of target individuals unless they surrender themselves to the Taliban.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    DOMINIC RAAB FACES NEW CALLS TO QUIT OVER 'UNFORGIVEABLE FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP'

    Dominic Raab is facing mounting pressure to resign over his handling of the Afghanistan crisis as Labour warned there had been an "unforgiveable failure of leadership" by the Government.

    The party has demanded details about the Government's handling of the situation in Afghanistan and the Foreign Secretary's holiday to the Greek island of Crete while Kabul fell to the Taliban.

    It has set out a list of 18 urgent questions for the Foreign Secretary to answer about his trip and his department's handling of the crisis.

    Mr Raab, who rejected calls to resign on Thursday, was reportedly "unavailable" when officials in his department suggested he "urgently" call Afghan foreign minister Hanif Atmar on August 13 – two days before the Taliban marched on Kabul – to arrange help for those who supported British troops.

    It was reported on Thursday that the Afghan foreign ministry refused to arrange a call with a junior minister, pushing it back to the next day.

  • Joseph Gamp

    RAAB UNDER FRESH PRESSURE AFTER IT EMERGES CALL TO ASSIST INTERPRETERS NOT MADE

    Dominic Raab faces mounting pressure to resign after it emerged a phone call requested by his officials to help interpreters flee Afghanistan was not made.

    The Foreign Secretary was reportedly "unavailable" when officials in his department suggested he "urgently" call Afghan foreign minister Hanif Atmar on August 13 – two days before the Taliban marched on Kabul – to arrange help for those who supported British troops.

    It was initially reported the Afghan Foreign Ministry refused to arrange a call with a junior minister, pushing it back to the next day.

    But a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson later said: "Given the rapidly changing situation, it was not possible to arrange a call before the Afghan government collapsed."

    Mr Raab was holidaying on the Greek island of Crete and said to be staying at the five-star "luxury" Amirandes Hotel when the request for the call was made.

  • Joseph Gamp

    NEGOTIATING WITH TALIBAN ‘ONLY CHOICE’ FOR THE WEST, TRAPPED VETERAN SAYS

    A former Royal Marine turned charity director trapped in Afghanistan has said Britain and America have “no choice” but to negotiate with the Taliban if they want to prevent a humanitarian disaster.

    Paul Farthing, known as “Pen”, has been battling to get all of his 25 staff from animal welfare charity Nowzad and their families out of the country as the Taliban complete their takeover. He is also faced with the prospect of having to put down all of the 140 dogs in his care, and potentially the 60 cats when the final evacuation flights have left.

    Mr Farthing told the PA news agency he has had no communication from the Foreign Office or Ministry of Defence since the Afghan government collapsed. So far, only his wife and a heavily pregnant member of staff have made it into the airfield, but they are still waiting to be admitted on to a flight.

    He told the PA news agency that he saw no path out of the “hell on earth” brewing at the airport other than bargaining with the Taliban and opening up flows of aid to the country.

    “There is no choice, is there? The Taliban are in charge and I think the sooner Joe Biden and Boris Johnson and the rest of the western countries admit that, then maybe, just maybe we have a chance at supporting this country and moving forward.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    EXPLAINED: WHERE DOES THE TALIBAN GET ITS FUNDING FROM?

    The Taliban is said to hold a war chest worth $US1.6billion (£1.2billion) to fund its fight in Afghanistan.

    Money comes in from a variety of sources including drugs, real estate and donations.

    Afghanistan is the world’s largest opium exporter which provides most of the Taliban’s cash.

    Cesar Gudes, head of the Kabul office of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told Reuters: “The Taliban have counted on the Afghan opium trade as one of their main sources of income.

    “More production brings drugs with a cheaper and more attractive price, and therefore a wider accessibility.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    MILITARY CHIEF’S TALIBAN COMMENTS SHOULD BE VALUED, SAYS DEFENCE SECRETARY

    Ben Wallace has defended the head of the British armed forces for suggesting the Taliban may have “changed” in the last 20 years.

    The Defence Secretary said General Sir Nick Carter is “deeply experienced” and his remarks should be listened to and valued.

    Gen Sir Nick, Chief of the Defence Staff, said on Wednesday that the world needs to be patient and “hold its nerve” to see what Afghanistan’s future will look like under a Taliban-led government.

    During a round of broadcast interviews, he told the BBC it “may well be a Taliban that is more reasonable, less repressive and, if you look at the way it is governing Kabul at the moment, there are some indications that it is more reasonable”.

  • Joseph Gamp

    PLAID CYMRU SAYS RAAB ‘SHOULD RESIGN O BE REMOVED FROM HIS POST’

    Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts said: “The Foreign Secretary and the life-saving phone call he didn’t make: a failure of political judgment, a shoulder-shrug to duty and a callous lack of humanity. He failed to make the right call.

    “The Foreign Secretary no longer commands respect following his mishandling of duties during the Afghanistan emergency.

    “Dominic Raab should resign or be removed from post.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    BIDEN SAYS ‘MILITARY FORCE’ NOT THE WAY TO PROTECT WOMEN’S RIGHTS

    Joe Biden also told ABC that war is not the answer to growing fears for the human rights of women in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.

    “The idea that we’re able to deal with the rights of women around the world by military force is not rational,” Biden said in his first interview since the Taliban victory triggered a frantic final US withdrawal.

    Referring to the Uighur ethnic minority in China and other areas of the world facing extreme human rights abuses, Biden said “the way to deal with that is not with a military invasion.”

    “There are a lot of places where women are being subjugated,” he said. “The way to deal with that is putting economic, diplomatic and international pressure on them to change their behavior.”

    Biden told ABC that many women were trying to leave Afghanistan through the US evacuation at Kabul’s airport. The president said he told advisors to “get them out, get their families out.”

    “As many as we can get out we should,” he said.

  • Joseph Gamp

    PLAID CYMRU SAYS RAAB ‘SHOULD RESIGN O BE REMOVED FROM HIS POST’

    Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts said: “The Foreign Secretary and the life-saving phone call he didn’t make: a failure of political judgment, a shoulder-shrug to duty and a callous lack of humanity. He failed to make the right call.

    “The Foreign Secretary no longer commands respect following his mishandling of duties during the Afghanistan emergency.

    “Dominic Raab should resign or be removed from post.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    MILITARY CHIEF’S TALIBAN COMMENTS SHOULD BE VALUED, SAYS DEFENCE SECRETARY

    Ben Wallace has defended the head of the British armed forces for suggesting the Taliban may have “changed” in the last 20 years.

    The Defence Secretary said General Sir Nick Carter is “deeply experienced” and his remarks should be listened to and valued.

    Gen Sir Nick, Chief of the Defence Staff, said on Wednesday that the world needs to be patient and “hold its nerve” to see what Afghanistan’s future will look like under a Taliban-led government.

    During a round of broadcast interviews, he told the BBC it “may well be a Taliban that is more reasonable, less repressive and, if you look at the way it is governing Kabul at the moment, there are some indications that it is more reasonable”.

  • Joseph Gamp

    EXPLAINED: WHERE DOES THE TALIBAN GET ITS FUNDING FROM?

    The Taliban is said to hold a war chest worth $US1.6billion (£1.2billion) to fund its fight in Afghanistan.

    Money comes in from a variety of sources including drugs, real estate and donations.

    Afghanistan is the world’s largest opium exporter which provides most of the Taliban’s cash.

    Cesar Gudes, head of the Kabul office of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told Reuters: “The Taliban have counted on the Afghan opium trade as one of their main sources of income.

    “More production brings drugs with a cheaper and more attractive price, and therefore a wider accessibility.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    NEGOTIATING WITH TALIBAN ‘ONLY CHOICE’ FOR THE WEST, TRAPPED VETERAN SAYS

    A former Royal Marine turned charity director trapped in Afghanistan has said Britain and America have “no choice” but to negotiate with the Taliban if they want to prevent a humanitarian disaster.

    Paul Farthing, known as “Pen”, has been battling to get all of his 25 staff from animal welfare charity Nowzad and their families out of the country as the Taliban complete their takeover. He is also faced with the prospect of having to put down all of the 140 dogs in his care, and potentially the 60 cats when the final evacuation flights have left.

    Mr Farthing told the PA news agency he has had no communication from the Foreign Office or Ministry of Defence since the Afghan government collapsed. So far, only his wife and a heavily pregnant member of staff have made it into the airfield, but they are still waiting to be admitted on to a flight.

    He told the PA news agency that he saw no path out of the “hell on earth” brewing at the airport other than bargaining with the Taliban and opening up flows of aid to the country.

    “There is no choice, is there? The Taliban are in charge and I think the sooner Joe Biden and Boris Johnson and the rest of the western countries admit that, then maybe, just maybe we have a chance at supporting this country and moving forward.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    DOMINIC RAAB WON’T RESIGN

    Dominic Raab, asked if he was going to resign as Foreign Secretary, told reporters in Downing Street: “No.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    AUSSIE PM THANKS BORIS JOHNSON FOR HELP IN EVACUATING AUSTRALIANS FROM AFGHANISTAN

    Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has thanked Boris Johnson for the UK’s help in evacuating Australians from Afghanistan.

    Downing Street said the Prime Minister spoke to his Australian counterpart on Thursday morning.

    A spokesperson said: “The leaders agreed the immediate priority was to evacuate their nationals and former employees from Afghanistan, and to continue working together to achieve this. Prime Minister Morrison thanked the Prime Minister for the UK’s help evacuating 76 Australians on an RAF flight yesterday.

    “The Prime Minister stressed the need for a concerted international effort to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, including through increasing aid to the region and the resettlement of refugees.

    “The Prime Minister and Prime Minister Morrison updated one another on the work the UK and Australia are doing to this effect.

    “Finally, looking ahead to the UK-hosted Cop26 Summit, the Prime Minister underlined the importance of global action on climate change. This includes setting ambitious targets for reaching net zero and increasing climate financing.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    KEIR STARMER COMMENTS ON CLAIMS DOMINIC RAAB WAS ‘UNABLE TO MAKE A PHONE CALL’ TO AFGHAN COUNTERPART WHILE ON HOLIDAY

    Responding to claims Dominic Raab was “unavailable” to make a phone call to his Afghan counterpart while on holiday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “Who wouldn’t make a phone call if they were told it could save somebody’s life?”

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