Latest: British, German leaders call Pakistan


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Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry says British Prime Minister and German Chancellor have called on their Pakistani counterpart on the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan – ISLAMABAD – The British prime minister and German chancellor called on their Pakistani counterpart to discuss the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan, the foreign ministry said overnight.

It was their first contact with Imran Khan since the Taliban took control of the country on Sunday.

According to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry, Khan told German Angela Merkel that “an inclusive political solution is the best way forward” for resolving the conflict in Afghanistan.

In a separate statement, the ministry said Khan had received an invitation from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as well, and Khan conveyed a similar message.

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KABUL, Afghanistan – The Taliban blew up a statue of a Shiite militia leader who fought against them during Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990s.

The statue depicts a militia leader killed by the Taliban in 1996, when Islamic militants took power from rival military leaders.

Abdul Ali Mazari was the leader of the Afghan ethnic minority of the Khazars, Shiites who were persecuted under the earlier rule of the Sunni Taliban.

The statue stood in the central province of Bamyan, where the Taliban infamously blew up two massive 1,500-year-old Buddha statues carved into a mountain in 2001. The Taliban claimed the Buddha violated an Islamic ban on idolatry.

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CANBERRA, Australia – Australia has evacuated the first 26 people, including Australian and Afghan nationals, from Kabul since the Taliban took over the Afghan capital, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday.

A C-130 Hercules airliner landed at an Australian military base in the United Arab Emirates with 26, including a foreign official working for an international agency, Morrison said. The rest were Australians and Afghans.

“This was the first of many flights, depending on the approval and weather conditions, but we note that some unfavorable weather forecast is expected at the end of this week,” Morrison said.

Two Hercules planes and two larger C-17A Globemaster transport planes will perform further evacuation flights.

Australia plans to evacuate 130 Australians and their families, as well as an unknown number of Afghans who worked for Australian soldiers and diplomats as interpreters.

According to media reports, Australia’s goal is to evacuate 600 people. Morrison did not give a number. “Our goal is as much as we can, as safely and as quickly as we can,” he said.

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MORE ABOUT THE CRISIS IN AFGHANISTAN:

The Taliban are announcing an “amnesty”, inviting women to join the government

– Taliban meeting Afghan cities have been rebuilt in their absence

U.S. agencies browse websites to protect the Afghans left behind

– Taliban take over Afghanistan: What do we know and what’s next

Biden: Afghan chaos “breaks guts” but remains withdrew

Billions spent on the Afghan army eventually used by the Taliban

– For more access point coverage, see https://apnews.com/hub/afghanistan

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