Taliban LIVE: Women 'attacked with rifle butts' as furious protests erupt in Kabul

TALIBAN officials have declared China as their closest ally, describing the nation as their “principal partner” in the international community.

Taliban releases Jihadi training footage on state broadcaster

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Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed Beijing was “ready to invest in and reconstruct” Afghanistan as he gave the clearest indication to date of the group’s diplomatic priorities.

Mr Mujahid said the Chinese would revive Afghan copper mining and praised the One Belt One Road project despite criticism from western countries.

This comes after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab declared that Britain would not be “recognising the Taliban at any time in the foreseeable future”.

READ MORE: Joe Biden on brink as own staff ‘horrified’ and ‘appalled’

Protests have erupted in Kabul

Women are protesting in Kabul (Image: Express web art)

Taliban in Afghanistan

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab declared that Britain would not be “recognising the Taliban at any ti (Image: PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson echoed the message adding that if the Taliban wanted to engage with the West then “the first priority for them for us is safe passage for those who want to leave”.

Mr Raab also hinted that Kabul airport could open “in the near future” after talks with leaders in Qatar. 

FOLLOW BELOW FOR LIVE UPDATES.

UK won’t recognise Taliban government

Britain will not recognise the Taliban as the new government in Kabul, says Dominc Raab. 

Speaking today, Raab said we must deal with the new realities adding: “We do see the importance of being able to engage and having a direct line of communication.”

He also said it would not have been possible to evacuate about 15,000 people from Kabul without cooperation with the Taliban

Dominic Raab in Pakistan

Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, Dominic Raab said: “The takeover, I think it’s fair to say, was faster than anyone anticipated, not just the United Kingdom or Nato allies, but I was talking with our friends here.

“And I suspect the Taliban and ordinary Afghans were taken by surprise.

“I think there was a common widespread surprise at the speed with which the consolidation of power happened.”

Surprise at Taliban’s quick takeover

Dominic Raab has insisted there was “common widespread surprise” as the pace of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. 

He suggested that even the Taliban were ” taken by surprise” by the speed in which Kabul has fell. 

The Foreign Secretary is currently in Pakistan to help secure safe passage for vulnerable Afghans left behind. 

Good to see situation on the ground and understand whatu2019s happening at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Discussed safe passage for British Nationals, and those who have worked with UK in Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/ZX3C7bUVfc

u2014 Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) September 3, 2021

Committee to set up withdrawal inquiry

The Foreign Affairs Select Committee has announced its intention to launch an inquiry into Dominic Raab’s handing of the crisis.

The committee chairman Tom Tugendhat MP said, “big questions remain”. 

Mr Raab has faced strict criticism over his decision to stay on holiday as the Afghan government collaped, only returning to the UK after Kabul had fallen to the Taliban.

Women protest in Kabul

Protests by female activitists have turned violent.

The women were demanding their right from the Taliban but say they “returned home with gunshot wounds and lashes”. 

Women protesting in Kabul

Women protesting in Kabul (Image: Express)

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UEA flight arriving in Kabul

A tweet from a Taliban official has revealed that a UEA flight is due to arrive in Kabul. 

This will be the first international flight to arrive in the country since the Taliban took control on August 31. 

Flights to resume

Domestic flights in Afghanistan could resume later today, according to Ariana Afghan Airlines. 

Senior manager, Tamim Ahmadi told AFP: “We have received a green light from the Taliban and aviation authorities and plan to start flights today,” 

Kabul airport

Taliban members are seen at Kabul Hamid Karzai airport in Kabul (Image: PA)

Sam Stevenson

Taliban expected to announce administration as soon as this afternoon

The Taliban could announce a new administration after Friday afternoon prayers, sources told the AFP news agency.

The group has faced mounting pressure to announce a new government while it grapples to deflect an armed challenge from rebels in the Panjshir Valley region.

China to keep embassy

A Taliban spokesperson has said China promised to keep its embassy in Afghanistan open and to increase humanitarian aid to the war-ravaged country. 

The embassy currently remains opertaional.

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Abdul Salam Hanafi, Deputy Director, PO held a phone conversation with Wu Jianghao, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Peopleu2019s Republic of China. Both sides discussed the ongoing situation of the country and future relations. The Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister said that

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Raab to visit Pakistan to help refugees

Dominic Raab will visit Pakistan later to secure safe passage for Britons trying to leave Afghanistan. 

The Foreign Secretary will meet with his counterpart and other senior leaders after the UK announced £30m in aid to Pakistan to help refugees. 

They are expected to discuss how to encourage the Taliban to allow refugees to safely leave Afghanistan. 

Sam Stevenson

Calls to deport Taliban supporter

A Glasgow-based volunteer is facing calls to be deported after pleading his support for the Taliban and helping refugees settle in the Scottish city.

Waheed Totakhyl told Sky News that Afghanistan is now “safer than Europe”

But arriving refugees have called his support for the group “unacceptable” and are calling for the government to deport him.

Millions of pounds of UK military equipment could end up in hands of Taliban

The U.K. continued to send weapons to the country even after Donald Trump signed a withdrawal agreement in 2020.

The same year £22 million in export licenses was approved — the largest amount since 2008.

“There is a clear risk of high-tech equipment falling into the hands of the Taliban, or worse, ISIS-K and other terror groups,” said Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey.

Military vehicles on the street in Kandahar city, southern Afghanistan

Military vehicles on the street in Kandahar city, southern Afghanistan (Image: PA)

‘Extraordinary’ opportunity

Mr Mujahid told Italian newspaper La Repubblica “China is our prinicpal  partner and for us represents a fundamental and extraordinary opportunity because it’s ready to invest in and reconstruct our country.

Beyond that, we have rich copper mines which thanks to the Chinese can be brought back into production and modernised. China represents our passport towards the markets of the whole world.”

Taliban in Afghanistan

Taliban in Afghanistan (Image: PA)

China still in Afghanistan

China is one of the few countries not to have evacuated staff from its embassy in Kabul in the wake of the Taliban takeover. 

William Murphy

William Murphy

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