United States winds down Kabul mission: After 20 years the longest war in US history has come to an end. Gen. Frank McKenzie, the chief of US Central Command, announced Monday that the last C-17s took off from Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport around 3:29 p.m. Washington, D.C., time, leaving that facility and the country in the Taliban’s possession. While some of the US military’s equipment was removed from Afghanistan in recent days and weeks, other systems were in operation through the final moments of the mission, McKenzie said. Those systems were „demilitarized,“ said McKenzie, including up to 70 MRAPs, 27 Humvees and 73 aircraft. About 122,300 people have been evacuated since the end of July, including about 5,500 US citizens and their families.
France will keep troops in Iraq to contain terrorism: Speaking at a regional summit in Iraq, French President Emmanuel Macron said his country would continue to deploy troops there to battle terrorism even if the US were to withdraw. “No matter what choices the Americans make, we will maintain our presence in Iraq to fight against terrorism,” he told a news conference on Saturday. „We all know that we must not lower our guard, because Daesh (the Islamic State group) remains a threat, and I know that the fight against these terrorist groups is a priority of your government,“ Macron said earlier after a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi. The French president considers Iraq „essential“ to stability in the Middle East.
North Korean nuclear reactor used for plutonium production appears active, IAEA says: North Korea appears to have restarted operations at a power plant capable of producing plutonium for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations‘ nuclear watchdog. The International Atomic Energy Agency said that clues, such as the discharge of cooling water, observed in early July indicated the plant is active. No such evidence had been observed since December 2018, the IAEA said. A satellite image obtained by NBC News shows water flowing out of a North Korean reactor. The commercial satellite photo, dated August 25, suggests the regime intends to add to its nuclear arsenal and is making no effort to conceal its activity at the Yongbyon plutonium reactor, said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
Israel bombs Hamas sites in Gaza over fire balloons: Israeli aircraft struck Hamas sites in Gaza early on Sunday in response to incendiary balloons launched from the Palestinian enclave, the military said, as a recent rise in cross-border violence tests a fragile truce that ended fierce fighting in May. There were no reports from the Gaza Strip of any casualties caused by the Israeli strikes. Speaking in Washington, where he had met with US President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he held Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas responsible for any unrest from the Palestinian enclave.
At least 30 killed in Houthi strikes on Yemen base: At least 30 soldiers were killed and 60 wounded on Sunday in Houthi strikes on a military base belonging to forces of the Saudi-led coalition in southwest Yemen, a spokesman for the southern forces and medical sources said. The Houthis have not yet commented on the reports, but they have attacked the same airbase in the past. Yemen has been devastated by a conflict that escalated in 2015, when the Houthis seized control of large parts of the country and a Saudi-led coalition launched an operation to restore President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi’s rule.
US has options if Iran diplomacy fails, Biden tells Israel’s Bennett france24.com
Military carries out strike in Kabul as slain service members are returned to US washingtonpost.com
Macron says France, Britain to propose Kabul safe zone to UN reuters.com
Germany has flown 138 local forces out of Afghanistan so far tagesschau.de
Germany announces end to its Kabul evacuations pbs.org
NUMBER OF THE WEEK
In the current legislative period, the German government has so far approved arms shipments worth 22.5 billion euros. The main recipients were Hungary (2.66 billion euros) and the US (2.36 billion).
War propaganda in Ethiopia – No peace in sight: The war in Ethiopia is increasingly escalating. Brutal human rights crimes hardly find their way into the news because there are no journalists left in the conflict area. Nine months ago, the dispute between the so-called People’s Liberation Front of Tigray, TPLF, and the new government around Abiy Ahmed escalated into war. Now Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has called for the mobilization of the entire adult population. After an initial defeat, the TDLF has been on the move again for several weeks, recapturing Tigray and invading the neighboring regions of Afar and Amhara. The conflict now threatens to expand even further. Mobilization is taking place on both sides. The multiethnic state of Ethiopia was controlled by the TPLF from Tigray for about a quarter of a century – it was the all-dominant force in a formally ruling coalition of parties. The TPLF regime was draconian, with critics disappearing into prison by the hundreds, and democracy was little more than a facade. When Abiy Ahmed finally came to power in April 2018, there was great jubilation. After only a short time, he caused a stir by succeeding in concluding a peace treaty with neighboring Eritrea after 20 years of hostility. For this he received the Nobel Peace Prize a year later. He was at the peak of his international recognition in 2019. However, the peace deal has also continued the conflict with the old rulers of the TPLF, as they were not drafted into the decision and still see Eritrea as their arch-enemy. Political disputes with the TPLF continue to escalate.
What is the situation in Afghanistan? The US met its deadline and left Afghanistan on August 31. In the past few days, the US and its allies have evacuated about 120,000 people from Kabul, according to the White House. Tens of thousands, however, are still in Afghanistan: translators, advisers, US embassy and military personnel. According to statistics published by the New York Times, there are about 200,000 Afghans still in the country who would be eligible for visas to the United States. However, a joint statement released Sunday by more than 20 countries, including the United States and Germany, said assurances have been received from the Taliban that „all foreign nationals and all Afghan nationals with travel authorization from our countries will be allowed to travel in a safe and orderly manner to departure points as well as out of the country.“ With a resolution to that effect, the UN Security Council is now ramping up the pressure, saying it „expects the Taliban to comply with these and all other commitments.“ Whether the Taliban will comply remains to be seen in the coming weeks. After taking power, the Taliban, 20 years after the US ended its rule once before, present themselves as more modern, more open to the world, more willing to talk.
German Left rejects commitment to NATO: The Left Party has rejected a commitment to NATO, which was demanded by the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens. Nevertheless, it too wants to govern after the parliamentary elections. The head of the Left Party, Susanne Hennig-Wellsow, on the other hand, demands that the SPD and the Greens, as supporters of the Afghanistan mission, rather „think about how they want to reorient their own foreign and security policy“. She believes that confrontation and intervention have not led to success. The focus, she said, must be on peace and security policy. She went on to say that everyone can demand commitments. However, it is questionable whether these are useful in politics.
„We will do everything we can to get you out of Kabul in the next few days and the next few weeks and months.“
After the return of German soldiers from Afghanistan, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer emphasized that those who stayed behind will also be brought back to Germany.
82-year-old senior citizen causes explosion while boiling jam: In Hoyerswerda, Saxony, an 82-year-old woman caused an explosion while boiling down jam. Late on Friday afternoon, the senior citizen had used a propane gas stove in an outbuilding to boil her jam. For reasons still unknown, gas then escaped uncontrollably after the woman had left the room. The roof truss of an outbuilding was severely damaged by the explosion. There was no fire or injuries.