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Lethal gunfire at airport; Taliban insist on US pullout date

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Lethal gunfire at airport; Taliban insist on US pullout date

KABUL, Afghanistan — A firefight out of doorways Kabul’s international airport killed an Afghan soldier early Monday, highlighting the perils of evacuation efforts as the Taliban warned that any attempt by U.S. troops to delay their withdrawal to present other folk beyond regular time to skim would “provoke a reaction.”

The shooting came as the Taliban moved to shore up their position and eliminate pockets of armed resistance to their lightning takeover earlier this month. The Taliban mentioned they retook three districts north of the capital seized by opponents the day earlier than and had surrounded Panjshir, the ultimate province that remains out of their control.

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Afghanistan’s security forces collapsed in the face of the Taliban advance, despite 20 years of Western coaching and assistance. Since then, tens of thousands of Afghans have sought to skim the country, fearing a return to the brutal rule the Taliban imposed the ultimate time they ran Afghanistan. That has resulted in chaos at the airport in Kabul, the important thing route out of the country.

Nonetheless Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, in an interview with Sky Information, mentioned Aug. 31 is a “red line” and that extending the American presence would “provoke a reaction.”

Gunfire broke out early Monday reach an entrance to the airport, the effect at least seven Afghans died a day earlier in a shy stampede of thousands of alternative folk.

Navy Capt. William Urban, a U.S. navy spokesman, mentioned an unknown assailant shot at Afghan security forces at the airport’s northern gate, leading Afghan, U.S. and allied troops to open fire in response. He mentioned an Afghan soldier was killed and just a few Afghans were wounded.

An Italian humanitarian organization that operates hospitals in Afghanistan mentioned it treated six patients with bullet wounds from the airport.

There was no comment from the Taliban, who in contemporary days have fired warning shots and lashed out with batons to envision out to control crowds swelling into the thousands out of doorways the airport.

The Taliban blame the chaotic evacuation on the U.S. navy and express there’s no need for any Afghans to skim. They have pledged to bring peace and security after a long time of struggle and express they won’t gawk revenge on these that labored with the U.S., NATO and the toppled Afghan authorities.

Addressing a conference of Muslim clerics, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid instructed them to push assist in opposition to Western “propaganda” in regards to the Taliban and mentioned the U.S. was undermining their rule by sending planes and offering Afghans asylum.

Nonetheless Mohammad Khalid, one other Taliban respectable addressing the same gathering, struck a extra ominous tone, announcing “history and Afghans will no longer forgive these that were trained in the U.S. and Europe and returned to slay their hang other folk.”

He mentioned foreign countries ought to not ever intervene in education, asking the clerics in the occasion that they would “tolerate a young woman sitting subsequent to a boy at college.” He additionally praised the function of suicide bombers in forcing the U.S. to withdraw.

The divergent messages raised doubts as to whether or no longer the Taliban are fully united at the assist of the extra moderate describe their management is projecting. There have additionally been reports in contemporary days of the Taliban making an attempt down their aged enemies.

German Protection Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer instructed the Bild newspaper that the important thing impediment to getting other folk out was the crowds out of doorways the airport.

Asked about Taliban assurances of safe passage to the airport, she mentioned: “To this level, I will be able to express that what we need is being granted; the hazard comes extra from these uncontrollable crowds of alternative folk.”

As the airlift continues, the U.S. authorities asked for 18 airplane from American commercial carriers to wait on in transporting Afghan refugees to their closing destinations after their preliminary evacuation.

Since Aug. 14, the U.S. has evacuated or facilitated the evacuation of some 37,000 other folk on navy and coalition flights. These efforts are accelerating: Within the 24 hours that ended early Monday, U.S. navy flights ferried about 10,400 other folk to security, an respectable mentioned.

Tens of thousands of alternative folk — People, diversified foreigners and Afghans who assisted in the struggle effort — are silent ready to join the airlift, which has been slowed by security disorders and U.S. forms hurdles.

U.S. particular operations forces retrieved 16 extra American residents from out of doorways the airport early Monday, in response to senior navy officials in Afghanistan.

Rescue missions that dawdle beyond the airport partitions require the approval of a four-well-known person officer and are handled on a case-by-case basis, mentioned the American officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity attributable to they weren’t authorized to communicate about ongoing navy operations publicly.

Within the period in-between, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin ordered five men who were evacuated from Afghanistan placed beneath surveillance in France for that you may perchance have of links to the Taliban.

“France is human nevertheless it is far additionally vigilant,” the minister tweeted Monday, along with a narrative by a French information agency quoting him in regards to the suspicions.

Amid the evacuations, there are additionally concerns that a neighborhood affiliate of the Islamic State community may perchance well additionally target the crowds out of doorways the airport with suicide bombers or fire missiles at U.S. airplane. Armed forces planes had been executing corkscrew landings, and diversified airplane have fired flares upon takeoff — both measures passe to book sure of missile attacks.

The Taliban and IS have diversified ideologies and have fought in contemporary years, nevertheless one concern in regards to the Taliban’s takeover is that they would additionally once more safe haven extremist groups. The Taliban harbored al-Qaida whereas it orchestrated the 9/11 attacks, leading to the U.S. invasion in 2001. The Taliban now express they won’t enable Afghanistan to be a cross for attacks on diversified countries.

In other places in Afghanistan, the Taliban have confronted restricted armed resistance from warring parties in Baghlan province, some 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Kabul. The anti-Taliban warring parties claimed to have seized three districts in the Andarab Valley on Sunday, nevertheless the Taliban mentioned Monday that they’d cleared them out in a single day.

Khair Mohammad Khairkhwa and Abdul Ghani Mahmood, commanders of the anti-Taliban forces, mentioned the hot combating had resulted in casualties on both side and displaced civilians.

Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, mentioned the community’s forces have additionally surrounded internal sight Panjshir, the only one of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces but to drop to the Taliban. Several Taliban opponents have gathered there, pledging to withstand any attempt to catch the province by pressure.

Mujahid mentioned there had been no combating in Panjshir but and that the Taliban are seeking a “gentle solution.”

Faiez reported from Istanbul and Krauss from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Tameem Akhgar in Istanbul, Geir Moulson in Berlin, Jill Lawless in London, Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and James LaPorta in Miami contributed to this chronicle.

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Lethal gunfire at airport; Taliban insist on US pullout date