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UNSC to convene emergency meeting on Afghanistan today

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Envoys of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) will hold an emergency meeting today (Monday) to discuss the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan following the US drawdown and Taliban takeover of the war-ravished country, according to Radio Pakistan.

The state broadcaster reported that France and Britain are expected to submit a resolution in the meeting, proposing the establishment of a safe zone in Kabul for the protection of those trying to leave Afghanistan and continuing humanitarian operations in the country.

Meanwhile, the US will also host a virtual meeting of foreign ministers for several countries to discuss the future strategy in Afghanistan, according to Radio Pakistan.

The state broadcaster quoted the US State Department as saying that as the evacuation from Kabul would enter its final day, the US would hold a meeting with key partners in Afghanistan.

It said representatives from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Qatar, the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) would attend the meeting.

The meetings have been scheduled as the deadline for evacuations from Kabul looms, with the Taliban maintaining the US must complete the evacuation of its people from Afghanistan by the August 31 date.

They also follow a deadly attack at Kabul airport, which claimed over 100 lives, including 13 US troops.

ISIS-Khorasan, affiliate of Islamic State in Afghanistan, claimed the responsibility for the attack, leading US President Joe Biden to order American military commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K) assets, leadership and facilities.

Amid rising fears pertaining to the threat posed by the ISIS-K in an anticipated security vacuum in Afghanistan, the US claimed the next day to have killed one of the planners of the Kabul airport attack in a drone strike.

A day later, American forces claimed they had targeted a suicide bomber in a vehicle, who was aiming to attack the airport, in yet another drone strike.

This followed reports of rockets hitting a neighbourhood near Kabul’s international airport today morning (Monday).

While reports suggest that the newfound threat in Afghanistan has paved the way for the US and Taliban to enter a new era of cooperation, so as to put up a united front against the ISIS-K, uncertainties remain.

Western countries are still wary that the Taliban, who once sheltered Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda, will allow Afghanistan to turn again into a haven for militants, even when the Taliban say they will not let the country be used by terrorists.

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