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What We Know: Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan

Migrants, mainly from Afghanistan, are seen after they were detained by Turkish security forces during an operation in the border city of Van
Migrants, mainly from Afghanistan, are seen after they were detained by Turkish security forces during an operation in the border city of Van

Here are the latest developments following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan on August 15.

Saturday, August 21

* Taliban leaders are still conducting internal talks and meeting with former rivals on forming what they have promised will be an “inclusive Islamic government.”

* Taliban officials said on Saturday they expect to announce the framework for the formation of the new government soon.

* Insurgent group’s spokesman, quoting senior leader Shahabuddin Dilawar, said the Taliban want a “strong central system that respects the rule of law, is free from corruption and every citizen has the opportunity to serve his country and people.”

* As the Taliban take control of the Afghan government, women say they are fearful for their future, with many skeptical of the Islamist group's pledges to respect women’s rights.

* The U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a security warning Saturday, advising Americans not to go to the airport without “individual instructions from a U.S. government representative,” noting possible security threats posed by the Islamic State outside the airport gates.

* The German Embassy issued a similar warning, saying Taliban forces were conducting increasingly strict controls in the area.

* The security threats have prompted the U.S. military to come up with ways to get evacuees to the airport, a U.S. official said Saturday, according to The Associated Press.

* One possible solution would involve small groups gathering at specific points where the U.S. military would pick them up, the source said.

* Afghans who fled their country this week have spoken about their despair at leaving loved ones behind and the uncertain future ahead of them after the Taliban's rapid takeover.

* "The most disturbing part is that there is not a lot of hope for the future," said one man, who arrived in Doha this week with his wife, three children, parents and two sisters.

* The Qatari government is hosting thousands of evacuees until they can enter a third country.

* The Taliban advance has led to a mass evacuation of Afghans and foreigners amid fears of reprisals and a return to a harsh interpretation of Islamic law.

Friday, August 20

* Despite earlier reports that Turkey had dropped plans to secure Kabul’s international airport, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that Turkey is ready to talk with the Taliban about what role, if any, Turkey would play in Afghanistan.

* U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, who both deployed in Afghanistan, said the scenes unfolding in Afghanistan, as citizens frantically tried to get out of the country and escape the new Taliban rule, were tough for them, and other veterans, to watch.

* “All of this is very personal for me. 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,” Austin said.

* “As the secretary [Austin] said, for both he and I, this is personal. And I know it's personal for each and every one of you,” Milley said.