Information Minister Hasan Mahmud has said BNP wants to hold their December 10 rally in front of party’s Nayapaltan office fearing poor turnout of people and aiming to create chaos. Hasan Mahmud made the remark while replying to journalists’ questions at the secretariat on Thursday. Read more: Govt helping BNP to make Dhaka rally a success: Info Minister He said BNP already knows that not more than 30 to 50 thousand people will attend their rally. “Even if that’s not the issue they shouldn’t hold a rally blocking a busy road,”he added. The number of people will not exceed 50,000 if they sit one the one kilometer of Nayapaltan road, said Hasan. Read more: Country can’t be handed over to the patron of terrorists: Info Minister The government can give permission for a rally but it cannot permit holding of a rally planned to create chaos, he said.
Disruption in power supply led to a chaotic situation in petrol pumps in Dhaka on Tuesday. According to petrol pump operators, soon after the national grid failed at 2.05 pm, many residents rushed to the petrol pumps to collect diesel to operate their generators. Read: Power supply could be restored in Dhaka by 8pm, Ctg by 9pm: Palak “But due to high demand of diesel, the sales of the petroleum finished within hours and many buyers failed to collect it”, Nazmul Haque, president of the Bangladesh Petrol Pump Owners Association, told UNB. He also said that only 25 percent of about 40 pumps in Dhaka city sell diesel while the remaining 75 percent don’t as they sell only octane and petrol. “It’s a chaos everywhere”, he said. Read: Power supply may fully be restored by 7pm today, Nasrul Hamid hopes He also said that many pumps could not collect adequate quantity of diesel from depots as some of their employees are on leave for Durga Puja. As a result, those pumps which sell diesel also failed to cope with the extra pressure, Nazmul said. Meanwhile, residents at Gulshan, Banani and Niketon areas alleged that they went to many re-fueling stations to collect diesel, but had to come back empty as the pump owners said they have no diesel in their stock.
Thousands of Afghans rushed into Kabul’s main airport Monday, some so desperate to escape the Taliban that they held onto a military jet as it took off and plunged to their deaths. At least seven people died in the chaos, U.S. officials said, as America’s longest war ended with its enemy the victor. The crowds came while the Taliban enforced their rule over the capital of 5 million people after a lightning advance across the country that took just over a week to dethrone the country’s Western-backed government. There were no major reports of abuses or fighting, but many residents stayed home and remained fearful after the insurgents’ advance saw prisons emptied and armories looted. Across the nation, the International Committee of the Red Cross warned that thousands had been wounded in fighting. Elsewhere, security forces and politicians handed over their provinces and bases without a fight, likely believing the two-decade Western experiment to remake Afghanistan would not survival the resurgent Taliban. The last American troops had planned to withdraw at the end of the month. READ: Australia sends jets to fly personnel from Kabul “The world is following events in Afghanistan with a heavy heart and deep disquiet about what lies ahead,” warned United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. As the U.S. military and others continued evacuation flights, Afghans swarmed over the international airport’s tarmac. Some climbed into aircraft parked on the taxiway, while others dangled precariously off a jet bridge. U.S. troops took positions to guard the active runway, but the crowd stormed past them and their armored vehicles. Gunshots rang out. As one U.S. Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III tried to take off, a helicopter did low runs in front of it to try to drive people off the runway. Videos showed a group of Afghans hanging onto the plane just before takeoff and several falling through the air as the airplane rapidly gained altitude over the city. Senior American military officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing operation, told The Associated Press that the chaos left seven dead, including several who fell from the flight. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said U.S. forces killed two people he described as carrying weapons in the melee. He said 1,000 more U.S. troops would be deployed to secure the airfield and back up the 2,500 already there. All flights at the airport — both military and civilian — were halted until Afghan civilians can be cleared from the runway, Kirby added. Late Monday night, hundreds of people remained trapped between American forces trying to push them out of the airport and Taliban forces trying to keep them in, witnesses said. An Associated Press journalist also saw what appeared to be an airstrike target two vehicles near the airport. Shafi Arifi, who had a ticket to travel to Uzbekistan on Sunday, was unable to board his plane because it was packed with people who had raced across the tarmac and climbed aboard, with no police or airport staff in sight. “There was no room for us to stand,” said the 24-year-old. “Children were crying, women were shouting, young and old men were so angry and upset, no one could hear each other. There was no oxygen to breathe.” After a woman fainted and was carried off the plane, Arifi gave up and returned home. Other Afghans, like Rakhmatula Kuyash, are also trying to leave through land border crossings, all of which are now controlled by the Taliban. “I’m lost and I don’t know what to do,” said Kuyash, who crossed into Uzbekistan on Sunday after leaving his children and relatives in Afghanistan. “I left everything behind.” Others were not so lucky. Uzbekistan air defenses shot down an Afghan military aircraft that tried to enter the country without permission. The two pilots were reportedly injured and in custody. Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani, who earlier left the country, faced Russian allegations he fled Kabul with four cars and a helicopter full of cash. His whereabouts remained unclear. The U.S. Embassy has been evacuated and the American flag lowered, with diplomats relocating to the airport to help with the evacuation. Other Western countries also closed their missions and were flying out staff and their citizens. In interviews with U.S. television networks, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan blamed the Afghan military for the Taliban’s rapid takeover, saying it lacked the will to fight. READ: Afghan president flees the country as Taliban move on Kabul However, the ease with which the Taliban took control goes beyond military prowess, the Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor wrote. “The speed of the Taliban’s final advance suggests less military dominance than effective political insurgency coupled with an incohesive Afghan political system and security force struggling with flagging morale,” it said. The Taliban offensive through the country stunned American officials. Just days before the insurgents entered Kabul with little if any resistance, a U.S. military assessment predicted it could take months for the capital to fall. The rout threatened to erase 20 years of Western efforts to remake Afghanistan that saw tens of thousands of Afghans killed as well as more than 3,500 U.S. and allied troops. The initial invasion in 2001 drove the Taliban from power and scattered al-Qaida, which had planned the 9/11 attacks while being sheltered in Afghanistan. Under the Taliban, which ruled in accordance with a harsh interpretation of Islamic law, women were largely confined to their homes and suspected criminals faced amputation or public execution. The insurgents have sought to project greater moderation in recent years, but many Afghans remain skeptical. Journalists so far have been able to work, though Taliban militants visited the private satellite channel Tolo TV looking for “government-issued weapons,” said station owner Saad Mohsini. Some militants put on Afghan military uniforms and began doing patrols, arresting suspected robbers. Filippo Grandi, the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees, separately described interactions with the Taliban as “relatively positive.” On Monday, Nillan, a 27-year-old resident of Kabul who asked to be identified only by her first name for fear of reprisals, said she did not see a single woman out on the streets during a 15-minute drive, “only men and boys.” “It feels like time has stopped. Everything’s changed,” she told the AP. She added: “It feels like our life and our future has ended.”
Squabbling Afghan presidential rivals threatened to both declare themselves president in dueling inauguration ceremonies Monday, throwing plans for negotiations with the Taliban into chaos.