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Live Reporting

Edited by Tiffany Wertheimer

All times stated are UK

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  1. We're pausing our live coverage now

    A member of the Taliban forces points his gun at protesters in Kabul. Photo: 7 September 2021

    We're now pausing our live coverage of the latest developments in and around Afghanistan - thanks for staying with us.

    Just to recap, here are the main headlines in the past 24 hours:

    • The Taliban are becoming increasingly violent against protesters in Afghanistan, the UN warns
    • The second flight to carry civilians since the US withdrawal leaves Kabul airport for Qatar
    • Millions of Afghans could lose access to essential healthcare as more than 2,000 facilities in the country are at risk of closing, the World Health Organization warns
    • In the UK, the chief of the MI5 security agency says the Taliban's takeover is likely to have "emboldened" home terrorists
    • The 20-year conflict in Afghanistan was a result of the 9/11 attacks in the US. Tomorrow, the world is marking the 20th anniversary so be sure to keep across all our platforms for the coverage

    You can still follow all the latest developments on major news stories on the BBC News website.

  2. Why I joined the US army after 9/11 - Chris's story

    BBC OS

    A US flag is seen posted in the rubble of the World Trade Center in New York
    Image caption: A US flag is seen posted in the rubble of the World Trade Center in New York, two days after the attack there

    The BBC is covering the 20th anniversary of the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US, which led to the 20-year conflict in Afghanistan.

    This is the story of Chris Cruz, who explains in an interview to BBC's OS programme why he decided to join the US army.

    "My mother was heading to work on a normal 11 September day. As soon as she exited the subway, she was told to start running as the buildings were coming down. She literally saw them coming down and described people jumping out of the windows," says Chris.

    "When she finally made it home, I - as an 11-year-old boy at the time - had to tell her that she had burn marks and blood spots on the back of her legs. She was in a state of shock.

    "As I grew up, I realised... I had the ability to be part of an organisation that could defend and prevent these atrocities for all Americans.

    "9/11 played a role, but not in a way of revenge. I didn't want to join out of bloodlust. I served two tours in Afghanistan. Both of those times I volunteered to go.

    "I don't think our mission would have succeeded without our Afghan partners. I agree we couldn't be there forever, but we made a promise to keep our partners safe and that we wouldn't turn our backs on them, and that's exactly what we've done."

    Chris adds: "I do think the way we pulled out, the way we left it, was completely wrong. There needed to be a better exit strategy."

  3. Taliban control 'infuriating' on 9/11 anniversary

    New York Republican representative Lee Zeldin says it is “infuriating” that the Taliban are “back in control” of Afghanistan two decades after the September 11 attacks.

    In an interview with Fox News, Zeldin, 41 - who joined the US Army in 2003 and later deployed to Iraq - said he “couldn’t get on active duty fast enough” following the attacks.

    “I vividly remember the sounds, the visuals, the motions, the yellow ribbons on all the trees on the streets, the flags going up from home to home – a sense of patriotism and unity I had never experienced at any other point in my life,” he said.

    Zeldin said he believed the US withdrawal from Afghanistan would create a “path towards leaving our nation more domestically vulnerable to threats”.

    “Creating a nation as a safe haven of terrorism, and likely allowing the rise of groups like al-Qaeda and IS, that has ramifications beyond Afghanistan’s borders,” he said.

  4. WFP says 90% of Afghan households have food shortages

    Nine out of 10 households in Afghanistan are not getting enough to eat, the World Food Programme has warned.

    Regional director Anthea Webb said that after the Taliban took power on 15 August, "the portion of families resorting to extreme coping mechanisms, like skipping meals or preferring to give food to children instead of adults or limiting portion sizes had almost doubled".

    The findings were based on phone calls to 1,600 random households between 17 June and 5 September.

    An international conference on aid to Afghanistan is due to take place on Monday and Webb called on donors to respond to an appeal for $200m.

    Food prices had risen sharply even before the Taliban takeover due a drought.

    Afghanistan is in an acute economic situation after Western powers suspended foreign aid, and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also halted payments.

    Pakistan aircraft delivering aid to Afghanistan, 9 September 2021
    Image caption: Pakistan has been delivering aid
  5. US withdrawal 'pulled plumbing' out of Afghan forces

    A former US Ambassador to Afghanistan has told BBC News the "stunning" retreat of US forces "pulled the plumbing" out of Afghan security forces.

    Karl Eikenberry described the situation as "a house of cards militarily and politically", and said the way the Afghan army had been developed by the United States had left it dependent on US intelligence, technology and firepower, which contributed to the rapid collapse in control.

    Video content

    Video caption: Karl Eikenberry described the collapse of Afghanistan's government as a "house of cards"
  6. Plea not to shun Afghan cricket over Taliban view on women's sport

    Women playing cricket in Herat in 2015
    Image caption: Women playing cricket in Herat in 2015

    Afghanistan Cricket Board chief Hamid Shinwari has pleaded with Australia not to cancel an upcoming match in Hobart over the Taliban's attitude to women in sport.

    Taliban officials have suggested they could ban women playing sport.

    Cricket Australia said it would have to cancel a men's test against Afghanistan in Hobart on 27 November if women were banned.

    Mr Shinwari issued a statement saying that "cricket diplomacy" was preferable to a "knee-jerk" reaction.

    And he suggested that Taliban comments on the participation of women in cricket were not substantially different from the "cultural and religious environment" under the previous Ghani and Karzai governments.

    Mr Shinwari called on "Cricket Australia and the whole cricketing world to keep the door open for us".

    A Taliban official earlier told Australia's SBS news that sport was "not necessary" and "in cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered".

  7. 'The Taliban would have killed me'

    Video content

    Video caption: Former member of Afghan parliament: 'The Taliban would've killed me if they found me'

    Former member of the Afghan parliament, Naheed Farid, left Afghanistan because she feared the Taliban could kill her, and she worried about the safety of her children.

    Ms Farid said she still felt part of Afghanistan and wanted to "stand for the freedom of women".

    She spoke to the BBC's Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet.

  8. BreakingSecond charter flight leaves Kabul

    Second charter evacuation flight takes off from Kabul, 10 September 2021

    A second international civilian charter flight has just taken off from Kabul airport, headed for Doha.

    It is currently unclear how many people are on the flight, or their nationalities.

    It comes after more than 100 people, including US and UK nationals, were flown out of Afghanistan on Thursday.

    Qatari officials, who have been assisting the Taliban to reopen the airport, say it is up and running again.

    The Taliban say regular commercial flights will resume soon.

  9. Panjshir Valley residents flee to the mountains - report

    As we've reported, the Taliban has declared victory in the Panjshir Valley, the final pocket of territory which remained outside their rule.

    However anti-Taliban resistance fighters have denied that, and said they were still present in "all strategic positions" in the province.

    Caught in the middle of the fighting are the citizens of Panjshir - some of whom are reported to have fled into the surrounding mountains to escape the violence, according to Afghanistan's Tolo News agency who quote Panjshir residents in Kabul.

    One family who lost a son during the fighting has warned of a humanitarian crisis in the region, but the Taliban has denied that, and described the conditions in Panjshir as "normal".

    Read more on why the Panjshir Valley is so significant

    Video content

    Video caption: Afghanistan: Taliban fighters raise flag in Panjshir
  10. Traditional clothing sales on the rise in Kabul

    A boy is measured for clothing

    Traditional clothes sellers in Kabul have said the new Taliban government is proving to be a boost for their income.

    "Our business has changed now," seller Abdul Hameed told Reuters news agency.

    "People are not going for jeans and T-shirts, they want traditional clothes and waistcoats. People do not have money to buy much, but still, they are coming to us more than before."

    However shops selling jeans, suits and eye-catching dresses have said their profits are drying up.

    Sayed Numan Sadat told Reuters people are not daring to venture into his shop, which specialises in glitzy women's dresses.

    "For now, the Islamic Emirate has permitted us to run our business. If things get better, we will continue. If not, we will shut our business and we will start a new type of work to feed ourselves."

    Women's clothing on shop manequins
    Image caption: While sales have boomed at traditional clothing stores, they have dropped significantly at other businesses, like this women's clothing shop
  11. Millions of Afghans could slide into poverty - report

    A woman holds her child as she walks along a street in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo: September 2021

    Aid workers are warning that almost the entire population of Afghanistan could slide into poverty within the next few months, reports the Wall Street Journal.

    It says that even before the Taliban takeover, half of the country’s roughly 40 million people already needed humanitarian assistance, according to the UN.

    Now, aid organisations are looking for ways to help the Afghan people without strengthening the Taliban's new administration.

    Afghanistan has been cut off from the international financial system and foreign aid since August, with more than $9bn (£6.5bn) in the Afghanistan central bank’s assets frozen in the West.

    Meanwhile, the World Health Organization warned this week that more than 2,000 health facilities in Afghanistan were now at risk of closing because funding was halted, meaning millions of vulnerable Afghans could lose access to essential healthcare.

  12. Afghan robotics team recounts escape from Kabul

    Afghan robotics team
    Image caption: The team became a symbol for the progress of Afghan women (File image)

    Members of the famed all-girls Afghan robotics team who faced an agonising wait before managing to escape Kabul have spoken to the BBC about their ordeal - and why they fear for the future for Afghan women.

    For 17-year-old Ayda and 18-year-old Somaya, the chaotic scenes of Kabul's fall to the Taliban will forever be etched into their memory.

    "We tried to get a visa out, but couldn't. We were trying to go to the airport for three days. But we couldn't. There were thousands of people trying," Ayda says of her harrowing escape from Afghanistan.

    "We were in the streets and so many children were crying. They couldn't find their families."

    On the third day, however, they managed to get on a flight organised by Qatar's government, flying to Doha alongside seven other team members, all without their families.

    But even as they begin their new lives in Doha, the pair both say their minds drift back to those still in Afghanistan.

    Read more here.

  13. UN's fears echoed by MI5 boss

    As we have been reporting, the director general of MI5 has warned that the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban is likely to have "emboldened" UK terrorists.

    Ken McCallum told the BBC that while the terror threat would not change overnight, there could be a "morale boost" for extremists.

    Fears over the link between the Taliban takeover and terrorism have also been expressed by UN chief Antonio Guterres.

    In an interview with AFP news agency, he was asked about the risks of an Afghanistan-like scenario happening in West Africa's Sahel region, where Islamist groups are waging insurgencies.

    Guterres said there was a "real danger" that some "terrorist groups may feel enthusiastic about what happened and have ambitions beyond what they thought a few months ago".

    He said he was worried about fanatical groups where death "is desirable", and that it was "essential to reinforce security mechanisms in the Sahel".

    Click here to read more about what the Taliban takeover means for Africa's jihadists

    U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
    Image caption: Guterres also warned of extremists feeling emboldened
  14. If you’re just joining us…

    Welcome to our live coverage of the latest developments in Afghanistan. The BBC will also be reflecting on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the US, and how they defined the 20-year conflict.

    Our correspondents will be reporting from New York, Kabul, Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.

    Here are some of the biggest updates we've been covering on Friday:

    • The UN rights office says the Taliban have been "increasingly violent" against protesters, using live ammunition, batons and whips
    • Another special flight is scheduled to fly from Afghanistan to Qatar on Friday after about 113 people including UK and US citizens flew out on Thursday
    • The Taliban say commercial flights will restart soon, but for that to happen there will need to be clarity on who will handle the security of the airport
    • The director general of MI5 has told the BBC that the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban is likely to have "emboldened" so-called lone wolf terrorists in the UK
    • Russia has said it will not take part "in any way" in the Taliban government's inauguration ceremony in Afghanistan
  15. In pictures: First civilian flight out of Kabul since US pullout

    As we reported earlier, the first civilian charter flight from Afghanistan since the US pullout from the country arrived in Doha on Thursday night.

    Qatar Airways flew more than 100 foreign nationals from Kabul to Doha. They included 13 Britons and up to 30 Americans.

    The US said the Taliban had shown flexibility, and been "business-like and professional" in facilitating the departure of American citizens.

    A woman carries her child as they and other passengers leave a Qatar Airways plane that arrived from Kabul
    Image caption: More than 100 people were on the flight headed to Doha and included families with children
    An immigration member of staff checks the passports of passengers arriving on a Qatar Airways plane from Kabul, Afghanistan, the first international commercial flight since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, in Doha, Qatar, on 9 September 2021
    Passengers look on in an airport bus after disembarking a Qatar Airways plane that landed from Kabul, Afghanistan in Doha, Qatar, on 9 September 2021
    Image caption: This is the first commercial international flight to leave Kabul since the airlift was suspended at the end of August
    Passengers disembark a Qatar Airways plane arriving from Kabul, Afghanistan, in Doha, Qatar, on 9 September 2021
    Image caption: Some international flights have been in and out before, but largely carrying aid and technicians who were part of the team helping to get Kabul's airport operational again
  16. Russia will not attend Taliban government inauguration

    Russia will not take part "in any way" in the Taliban government's inauguration ceremony in Afghanistan, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

    "We do not know how this situation will develop. That is why we say that it is important for us to understand what the first and subsequent steps of the current leadership of Afghanistan will be," he said.

    Earlier in the week, the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament said Russia would be represented at the inauguration by ambassador-level officials, the RIA news agency had reported.

    On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin said Russia was in talks with the Taliban to facilitate the evacuation from Afghanistan of nationals of other countries.

    "Many are asking us to help bring out of Afghanistan nationals of third countries, as well as some Afghans. We are not doing this covertly; we too are in talks with Taliban leaders in relation to certain categories of people and we are doing this," he told a news conference in Moscow.

  17. What's behind MI5's concerns?

    Gordon Corera

    Security correspondent, BBC News

    For the past two decades, terrorism has dominated MI5's work. But with significant shifts over time.

    It took the attacks of 7 July 2005 for it to fully understand the threat came from within as well as abroad. By the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the sense was that the threat from al-Qaeda might be receding and MI5 could turn to other issues of concern, such as state espionage.

    But then the Islamic State group emerged out of Iraq and Syria and a new wave started - less sophisticated and organised but still deadly.

    Once again, in the last couple of years, there was a hope that this jihadist threat might be slowing as MI5 took on extreme-right wing activity and focused more on Russia and China.

    But recent events have raised concerns that the jihadist threat could evolve once again, with Afghanistan inspiring people to act, or by the Western withdrawal creating a new safe haven for groups to operate in and plan more sophisticated attacks, as they did in the years around 9/11.

    MI5 boss warns of Afghanistan 'morale boost' for extremists

  18. Live rounds, batons, whips. Taliban violence rising, says UN

    The UN rights office says the Taliban have been "increasingly violent" against protesters, using live ammunition, batons and whips.

    Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told a briefing in Geneva that the agency had received credible reports that at least four people had been killed at protests in recent days.

    Protesters have also been beaten and detained.

    In addition to violence against protesters, the UN said the Taliban had been increasingly using force against those reporting on the demonstrations.

    Earlier this week, the Taliban issued an order prohibiting "unauthorised assemblies".

    "Rather than banning peaceful protests, the Taliban should cease the use of force and ensure the freedom of peaceful assembly and expression, including as a means for people to voice their concerns and exercise their right to participate in public affairs," the UN rights office said.

    Click here to read more about how journalists have been beaten, detained and flogged by the Taliban when attempting to cover protests

  19. Refugees who reach Australia tell of anguish

    A family, part of more than 90 Australian citizens and Afghan nationals who were evacuated from Afghanistan, steps off a bus as they arrive at a hotel to begin quarantine in Perth

    Some of the Afghans evacuated to Australia who have now left hotel quarantine say they are grateful for their escape, but worry about those left behind.

    "We have seen a few children who have come with heavy trauma," aid worker Assadullah Khurrami told Reuters.

    "The evacuees are very grateful... but at the same time there is a lot of desperation, a lot of sadness in these families, in these individuals, because they still have loved ones and family members left in Afghanistan."

    One such refugee is Amena - a member of the Hazara ethnic group which has been persecuted by extremists - who managed to escape on one of the last evacuation flights, but was forced to leave her family behind at Kabul airport.

    “They caught my brothers, my parents and stopped them from moving beyond the gate. I was on one side of the gate, they were on the other. The Taliban had guns, they were hitting people,” she told SBS News.

    While Amena had a visa to Australia, the rest of her family didn't. They're now in hiding in Kabul, unable to return home to rural Afghanistan because it has been taken by the Taliban.

    Australia managed to evacuate a total of 4,100 people from Kabul after it fell to the Taliban.

  20. Pakistan in plea to avoid Afghan humanitarian crisis

    Pakistan's role in the recent events has been much disputed.

    It has led to anti-Pakistan protests in the Afghan capital.

    On the other hand, some Western powers seeking to influence the new Taliban government, are hoping that Pakistan could play a role as a mediator.

    Pakistan's foreign minister on Friday said he wanted peace and prosperity in Afghanistan, while calling for a humanitarian crisis there to be averted.

    In a statement reported by local media, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan was committed to helping Afghanistan, despite having limited resources.

    He said Pakistan had sent medicine and food to Kabul on Thursday, and urged other countries to take action too.

    And he added: "We should encourage the Taliban not to allow their land to be used against any other country."

    Anti-Pakistan protests have been held in Kabul this week, with many Afghans believing the country supports the Taliban.

    Claims have emerged that in recent days Pakistani drones have been used to help the Taliban, by targeting anti-Taliban positions.

    The claims have been dismissed by Pakistan, as well as by the Taliban.

    A spokesman for the Pakistani armed forces, Gen Babar Iftikhar, told the BBC they were "complete lies".

    Click here to read about what the rise of the Taliban means for Pakistan