Tag: taliban

Memorial service honors Marine Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui in Riverside County

A Southern California Marine killed in a bombing during the evacuation at Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul last month will be laid to rest Saturday.

Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui, 20, of Norco, was one of four California Marines killed in the attack during the airport evacuation operation in Kabul. He was one of 13 U.S. service members, including four from California, killed in the bombing. 

Thousands lined the streets from the Ontario Airport to a Riverside funeral home on Friday, as a procession was held through the Inland Empire in Nikoui's honor.

Another 2,000-3,000 people are expected to attend Nikoui’s memorial service Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Harvest Christian Fellowship’s Riverside campus. The memorial is open to the public.

Megan Telles reports for the KTLA 5 Morning News on Sept. 18, 2021.

Several San Diego Students, Families Trapped In Afghanistan Get Out Before Deadline

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Six families from the San Diego County city of El Cajon have now made it safely out of Afghanistan after they went to the country earlier this summer to visit relatives and got stuck there amid the chaos following the Taliban’s takeover, officials said Monday.

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of two other families from El Cajon, east of San Diego, remained unclear. One family may have gotten on one of the last U.S. flights out of Afghanistan on Monday, while authorities were working to help the other family, which was still in the country, the Cajon Valley Union School District said.

Taliban supporters with Taliban flags as they march along a street in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Aug. 31, 2021. (Getty Images)

The last U.S. planes departed around midnight Monday, marking the end of a massive airlift in which tens of thousands of people fled Afghanistan, fearful of the return of Taliban rule after it seized power earlier this month.

“We are still holding out hope” that the families can get out, said Howard Shen, spokesman for the Cajon Valley Union School District.

The district learned on Aug. 16 that eight families who have children enrolled in the district were stranded in Afghanistan after a relative of one of the families alerted school officials that their children would be missing the first day of the school year, which began Aug. 17.

El Cajon has a large refugee population, and the families had gone to Afghanistan in May and early June, weeks before the crisis unfolded. They were not part of an organized trip and traveled separately.

Three of the families were able to get out last week and make it back to El Cajon. Several of their children returned to school on Monday to the open arms of their teachers and classmates, the district said.

Three more families also made it safely out but were still on their way back to the United States, according to the district.

(© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

OC Board Approves Resolution Seeking 37,500 Increase In Refugee Admissions Amid Afghanistan Takeover

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – A resolution encouraging the federal government to accept more refugees in response to the mass exodus from Afghanistan after its takeover by Taliban militants was approved Tuesday by the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

“There is enough room to bring in all of the Afghan refugees that might qualify,” Supervisor Doug Chaffee said. “We want to increase the availability to the annual immigrant quota.”

Chaffee said the county intends “to help out if some of them wind up in Orange County.”

A family of four from Afghanistan has arrived in the county with help from an Anaheim-based charity, Chaffee said.

“There is a possibility of welcoming them officially sometime by the end of the week,” Chaffee said.

Do was a refugee from Vietnam. He and his family were airlifted from Saigon on April 29, 1975, as part of Operation Frequent Wind.

“What I have learned over the last 46 years living in the U.S. is America’s opportunity is our greatest weapon against totalitarianism and oppression,” Do said in a news release. “We remain the beacon that inspires and motivates people around the world to have hope, aspire and fight for basic human rights.

“That’s why I urge the United States Congress and President Biden to act swiftly to create an orderly process to admit Afghan refugees and establish opportunities for resettlement in the United States.”

Refugee admissions are capped at 62,500 per year, the supervisors noted.

The three-step plan approved by the board at Tuesday’s meeting encourages the county’s lobbyists to advocate for an increase in the cap on refugees to 100,000 Afghanis, increases resources to process immigration applications and to partner with private organizations and nonprofit organizations to help the refugees resettle here.

Chaffee and board Chairman Andrew Do will hold a news conference Wednesday to discuss a three-step process to help Afghan refugees.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

U.S. Troops Deployed To Afghanistan

UNITED STATES—On Friday, August 13, it was announced that the Pentagon is moving U.S. troops including 3,000 Marines to Afghanistan. An additional 4,000 U.S. Troops have been deployed to the region to evacuate thousands of U.S. citizens and Afghan interpreters.

U.S. officials are reportedly destroying sensitive documents and equipment while the Taliban closes in on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

Military officials have reported that as the Biden administration braces for a possible collapse of the Afghan government within the next month.

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According to reports from Afghanistan, the Taliban has seized; Kandahar, Lashkar Gah, and Herat. The Taliban is now reportedly in control of 65 percent of Afghanistan after Afghan forces were taken by surprise.

Multiple news reports indicate that the Pentagon notified military commanders prior to Joe Biden’s inauguration to prepare for withdrawal. This was reportedly in keeping with President Trump’s campaign promise to “end long wars and bring our soldiers home.”

The Removal Of International Forces

On April 14, President Biden announced from the Roosevelt-Treaty room at the White House, that the U.S. would not be meeting the deadline set under the U.S.-Taliban agreement to withdraw all troops by May 1.

President Biden made the following remarks:

“I believed that our presence in Afghanistan should be focused on the reason we went in the first place: to ensure Afghanistan would not be used as a base from which to attack our homeland again. We did that. We accomplished that objective,” Biden stated.

“We will not conduct a hasty rush to the exit. We’ll do it—responsibly, deliberately, and safely. And we will do it in full coordination with our allies and partners, who now have more forces in Afghanistan than we do,” Biden continued.

On July 8, Biden made the following statement:

“Earlier today, I was briefed by our senior military and national security leaders on the status of the drawdown of the U.S. forces and allied forces in Afghanistan…..Our military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31st.”

The post U.S. Troops Deployed To Afghanistan appeared first on Canyon News.

U.S. moves forward with peace deal, begins withdrawing troops from Afghanistan

The United States began withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, the U.S. military said Tuesday, taking a step forward on its peace deal with the Taliban while also praising Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s promise to start releasing Taliban prisoners after he had delayed for over a week.

The U.S.-Taliban deal signed Feb. 29 was touted as Washington’s effort to end 18 years of war in Afghanistan. The next crucial step was to be intra-Afghan talks in which all factions including the Taliban would negotiate a road map for their country’s future.

But Ghani and his main political rival, Abdullah Abdullah, were each sworn in as president in separate ceremonies Monday. Abdallah and the elections complaints commission had charged fraud in last year’s vote. The dueling inaugurations have thrown plans for talks with the Taliban into chaos, although Ghani said Tuesday that he’d start putting together a negotiating team.

The disarray on the Afghan government side is indicative of the uphill task facing Washington’s peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad as he tries to get Afghanistan’s bickering leadership to come together. In an early Tuesday tweet, Khalilzad said he hoped the two leaders can “come to an agreement on an inclusive and broadly accepted government. We will continue to assist.”

U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan Sonny Leggett said in a statement Tuesday the military had begun its “conditions-based reduction of forces to 8,600 over 135 days.”

Currently the U.S. has about 13,000 soldiers in Afghanistan — 8,000 of whom are involved in training and advising Afghanistan’s National Security Forces, while about 5,000 are involved in anti-terror operations and militarily supporting the Afghan army when they are requested.

Ghani had been dragging his feet on releasing some 5,000 Taliban prisoners, something agreed to in the U.S.-Taliban deal. Ghani promised Monday to announce a decree to free the prisoners after the U.S. and a number of foreign dignitaries appeared to back his claim to the presidency by sending their representatives to his inauguration.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement Monday saying, “We also welcome President Ghani’s announcement that he will issue a decree March 10 on Taliban prisoner release.”

Taliban officials said late Monday that a flurry of biometric identifications were being conducted on Taliban prisoners, hinting at a mass release, according to prisoners currently in lockup. The Taliban officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk to the media.

Sohail Shaheen the Taliban’s spokesman in Doha where the insurgent group maintains an office, tweeted Tuesday the names of the 5,000 prisoners are with an “American delegation and the list cannot be manipulated,” without elaborating.

In his tweet, Shaheen said any prisoners handed over will be verified before being accepted. The Associated Press contacted a Taliban prisoner in Afghanistan’s Pul-e-Charkhi Jail on the outskirts of Kabul who said four Taliban had been released Monday and another three Tuesday. The seven had completed their sentence, said Maulvi Niaz Mohammad in a telephone interview.

They were not part of the 5,000 on the Taliban prisoner list, he said. Mohammad, who had also been interviewed by The AP in the prison in December, is in telephone contact with the Taliban’s Prisoners Commission, which is headed by Maulvi Nooruddin Turani, a former Taliban justice minister and a violent enforcer of the Taliban’s strict code of conduct.

Meanwhile, Pompeo said he “strongly opposed” the establishment of a parallel government in Kabul, despite early signs of one emerging. Abdullah had quickly sent his vice presidents to occupy the official offices Monday, ahead of Ghani’s plan to send his vice presidents to their offices Tuesday.

Pompeo warned against “any use of force to resolve political differences.” Both candidates — but particularly Abdullah — are backed by warlords with heavily armed militias, underscoring fears they could use force to back their candidate.

The U.S. has said its partial troop withdrawal over an 18-month period provided for in the deal will be linked to the Taliban keeping their promises to help fight terror in Afghanistan, but not to the success of talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Over the weekend, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said the insurgent group was committed to its agreement with the U.S. and called on Washington to do its part to make sure its prisoners were freed.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a rocket attack that took place during Ghani’s inauguration ceremony. IS also claimed a brutal attack last week on a gathering of minority Shiites that killed 32 and injured scores more. The U.S. in reaching its deal with the Taliban said it expected the Taliban, which has been battling Afghanistan’s IS affiliate, to further aid in the effort to defeat IS.