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WHO: Afghan Medical Facilities Functioning; Concerns About COVID Spread

FILE - Afghan students wait to receives a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in Kabul University, Afghanistan.
FILE - Afghan students wait to receives a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in Kabul University, Afghanistan.

The Taliban swept through Afghanistan, taking most of the country's 34 provincial capitals in about nine days. The insurgent group reached Kabul on Sunday.

Here is the latest:

Aug.21 - The World Health Organization reports that most of Afghanistan’s major health facilities are functioning. However, there has been a jump in the reporting of various diseases and illnesses in places where people have fled, including Kabul. The international organization says it is working to ensure that women have access to female health workers. WHO says concerns about COVID-19 spreading during Afghanistan’s political upheaval are growing.

Aug. 20 - U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told The Associated Press that watching the scenes coming out of Afghanistan is “very personal for me.” He said, “This is a war that I fought in and led. I know the country, I know the people, and I know those who fought alongside me.” The retired four-star Army general said, “We have a moral obligation to help those who helped us. And I feel the urgency deeply.”

Aug. 20 — Opposition fighters loyal to Afghanistan's ousted government retake three northern districts from the Taliban just days after the Islamist group reestablished its control over most of the country.

Aug. 20 — U.S. President Joe Biden pledges to evacuate any U.S. citizen in Afghanistan who wants to come home and says the United States is "committed" to rescuing Afghans who assisted the U.S. war effort against the Taliban.

Aug. 20 — U.S. defense officials say American military planes resumed evacuation flights from the Kabul airport after being stopped for more than six hours because of a backup at a transit point for the refugees in Qatar.

Aug. 20 — Amnesty International says the Taliban are responsible for the torture and killing of several members of the Hazara community last month in Ghazni province.

Aug. 19 – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn announce they have taken measures to secure the identities of their Afghan customers as the Taliban tighten their grip on Afghanistan.

Aug. 19 – A high-profile Afghan national police officer, who worked with the U.S. military for years, was rescued this week in a daring operation entitled Operation Promise Kept, it was announced Thursday. Khalid Wardak, his wife and four sons had trouble getting to a rendezvous site, but all efforts came together Wednesday, and Wardak and his family were helicoptered out of Afghanistan's capital.

Aug. 19 – It was reported Thursday that a 17-year-old soccer player, desperate to exit Afghanistan, died after falling from a U.S. military airplane. Zaki Anwari was one of several people who clung to the outside of the aircraft as it was departing from Kabul.

Aug. 19 — UNESCO called Thursday for the protection and preservation of Afghanistan's cultural heritage, warning that harming it could only have adverse consequences on lasting peace.

Aug. 19 — Pentagon officials said that they have evacuated roughly 7,000 people in recent days and that 6,000 more had been processed and cleared to evacuate as soon as possible.

Aug. 19 — The Taliban place security for Kabul in the hands of senior members of the Haqqani Network, which has close ties with foreign jihadi groups, including a longstanding association with al-Qaida.

Aug. 18 — U.S. President Joe Biden says U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan until all Americans are evacuated, even if that means they are in the country beyond the August 31 deadline for withdrawing forces. "If there's American citizens left, we're going to stay there until we get them all out," Biden told ABC News.

Aug. 18 — The U.S. State Department says it expects the Taliban to allow everyone who wishes to leave Afghanistan "to do so safely and without harassment."

Aug. 18 — The U.N. food agency director in Afghanistan warns of humanitarian crisis, with 14 million people facing severe hunger.

Aug. 17 — Taliban co-founder and deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar returns to Afghanistan.

Aug. 17 — U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan says the international community will be watching and "verifying" whether the Taliban meet obligations to uphold human rights.

Aug. 17 — The Taliban vow to respect women's rights "within Islamic law" and form an "inclusive Islamic" government. They also announce general "amnesty" and urge people to return to work.

Aug. 17 — Flights resume Tuesday at Kabul's international airport after crowds Monday forced a pause in evacuations of diplomats and civilians.

Aug. 17 — India evacuates its embassy in Kabul, sending 140 personnel on flight home Tuesday.

Aug. 16 — In a nationally televised speech from the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden says he stands "squarely behind" his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, adding that "American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves."

Aug. 16 — Thousands of civilians gather at Kabul's international airport. U.S. soldiers fire warning shots as people seeking to escape the Taliban run across the tarmac. Video from the airport shared on social media shows Afghans clinging to the sides of a U.S. military aircraft, while another video shows what appears to be a person falling from a U.S. military plane after takeoff.

Aug. 15 — More than 60 countries call for all parties in Afghanistan to allow any Afghans or foreign nationals to leave the country if they wish to do so.

Aug. 15 — Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a deputy chief and co-founder of the Taliban, says late Sunday, "I am here to announce that we are responsible for your lives and all that pertain to everyday living, and to convince you that we will provide everything to make your lives better."

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