Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates: Explosion heard in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, reports local media

Afghanistan-Taliban Crisis LIVE Updates: The Taliban has condemned a US drone strike against Islamic State militants. The United States had launched the drone strike in eastern Afghanistan, said the military, a day after a suicide bombing at Kabul airport killed at least 92 people, including 13 US troops. ISIS-K claimed responsibility for the coordinated suicide bomb and gun assault, which came just

The Biden administration expects the Taliban to continue allowing safe passage for Americans and others to leave Afghanistan after the U.S. military withdrawal is completed next week, according to a top official. “The Taliban have both communicated privately and publicly that they will allow for safe passage,” said Jake Sullivan, U.S. President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, in a CBS TV interview set to be broadcast Sunday. U.S. forces are set to wind up their evacuation mission in Kabul before a Tuesday deadline set by Biden after the Taliban took control of much of the country. That effort has been complicated by the threat of more attacks like Thursday’s blast that killed scores of Afghans and 13 American troops. “After August 31st, we will make sure there is safe passage for any American citizen, any legal permanent resident,” Sullivan said, according to a transcript of CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “And yes, we will ensure the safe passage of those Afghans who helped us to continue coming out after the 31st of August.” Such safe passage would suggest some form of ongoing cooperation between Washington and the Taliban, which now controls a country it ran from 1996 to 2001, before being toppled by the United States in retaliation for providing safe haven to the al Qaeda militants who planned the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

U.S. forces were in the final phase of pulling out of Kabul, ending two decades of costly involvement in Afghanistan, as the country’s new Taliban rulers prepared to take control of the airport. Just over 1,000 civilians remained at the airport on Sunday to be flown out before the troops finally leave, a Western security official told Reuters. “We want to ensure that every foreign civilian and those who are at risk are evacuated today. Forces will start flying out once this process is over,” said the official, who is stationed at the airport. U.S. President Joe Biden has said he will stick by his deadline to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Tuesday. A U.S. official told Reuters on Saturday that fewer than 4,000 troops remained at the airport. U.S. and allied forces have mounted a massive two-week effort to ferry foreign nationals and tens of thousands of vulnerable Afghans out of the country. The airlift – one of the biggest such evacuation operations ever – marked the end of a 20-year Western mission in Afganistan that began when U.S.-led forces ousted a Taliban government that had provided safe haven for the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

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