The Latest: US helped family escape Afghanistan overland

World

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks during a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan Monday, Sept. 6, 2021.(AP Photo/Muhammad Farooq)

WASHINGTON — The United States is confirming for the first time that it has helped a U.S. citizen and family members to escape Afghanistan through an overland route to a neighboring country.

A U.S. official says Monday that the citizen and the citizen’s children “successfully departed Afghanistan using an overland route” and were met by U.S. Embassy staff at the border. The official would not speak to details of the evacuation or to the country in which they arrived, citing security reasons and the need to preserve the viability of the route for possible future efforts.

The evacuation is the first overland extraction the U.S. government has confirmed since it ended its air evacuation effort last week with the final withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.

— By Matthew Lee

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MORE ON AFGHANISTAN:

— Taliban say they took Panjshir, last holdout Afghan province

— Over 24 hours in Kabul, brutality, trauma, moments of grace

— US: Afghan evacuees who fail initial screening Kosovo-bound

— Rescue groups: US tally misses hundreds left in Afghanistan

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— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/afghanistan

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s powerful army chief is urging Afghanistan’s leadership to try to amicably resolve all issues related to forming a stable and representative government.

Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa commented Monday in a televised speech at a ceremony marking Defense Day of Pakistan, the day on which Pakistan claims its forces repulsed a 1965 Indian attack.

He spoke hours after the Taliban said they had taken control of Panjshir, the last holdout province located north of Kabul, the Afghan capital.

Bajwa also urged the United Nations and the international community to play positive roles for peace in Afghanistan.

“We also expect that the world will not abandon the Afghan people at this difficult time,” Bajwa said.

He said Pakistan wants human rights, including the rights of women, to be respected in Afghanistan, and that Afghan soil not be used to launch attacks against other countries.

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MOSCOW — Russia’s foreign minister says officials from his country could attend a swearing-in ceremony for a new Afghanistan government if it is inclusive of all the country’s ethnic groups.

Sergey Lavrov says Monday: “We want to support the government-forming process if this government reflects the whole spectrum of the Afghan society, including the Taliban and other ethnic groups, not just Pashtuns, such as Uzbeks, Hazaras and Tajiks.”

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PRISTINA, Kosovo — Kosovo’s prime minister said he had a telephone call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, who thanked his country for housing Afghans during their transition.

Kosovo has temporarily sheltered up to 700 Afghans since the first arrivals Aug. 29, accommodating them at a former camp of a road construction company and at the nearby U.S. Camp Bondsteel in the south.

“Our alliance with the U.S. is unwavering and our friendship is growing stronger,” Prime Minister Albin Kurti tweeted Monday.

State Department spokesperon Ned Price, said Blinken thanked Kurti for Kosovo’s “early generous agreement to temporarily host at-risk individuals from Afghanistan.”

“Kosovo’s steadfast humanitarian support during this transition is a testament to its willingness and capacity to contribute to global peace and security,” said a statement from Price.

Kosovo has said it may temporarily shelter up to 2,000 Afghans while they process documentation on their final destination to the United States.

A U.S. official said last weekend that Kosovo had agreed to take in Afghanistan evacuees who fail to clear initial rounds of screening and host them for up to a year. That helps Washington to fix one of the security problems of the frantic U.S. evacuation from the Kabul airport.

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KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban say they have taken control of Panjshir province north of Kabul, the Afghan capital.

The province was the last holdout of anti-Taliban forces in the country and the only province the Taliban had not seized during their sweep of Afghanistan last month.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a statement Monday, saying Panjshir was now under control of Taliban fighters.

Thousands of Taliban fighters overran eight districts of Panjshir overnight, according to witnesses from the area. The anti-Taliban fighters had been led by the former vice president and the son of the iconic anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was killed by a suicide bomber just days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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