Taliban claims to have overtaken presidential palace in Kabultext_fields
Kabul: The Taliban have begun entering Kabul, Afghanistan's interior ministry and the armed group said on Sunday reports media. The development came just hours after the group seized control of the key eastern city of Jalalabad, securing critical roads connecting the country to Pakistan.
Fighters on Sunday were ordered to refrain from violence and offer safe passage to those wishing to leave Kabul, reports Al Jazeera quoting Taliban leader in Doha.
According to reports, it is unclear whether the government of President Ashraf Ghani will mount a counteroffensive or capitulate. Al Jazeera also quoted Taliban leadership saying that the Afghan capital will not be taken by force.
Quoting a statement released by Taliban online, the report said that Taliban have instructed their forces not to cross the gates of Kabul and take the city by force.
Instead, they say, "negotiations are underway to ensure that the transition process is completed safely and securely, without compromising the lives, property and honor of anyone, and without compromising the lives of Kabulis.", says the report.
The report also says that Taliban have released another statement trying to reassure banks, merchants and other entrepreneurs that their property, money and institutions will not be distrubed by the armed group.
Meanwhile, a BBC producer based there said he was suddenly evacuated from a government office a short time ago reports IANS
Photographs on social media appear to show some residents gathering outside banks, foreign embassies, and in visa processing offices.
Matin Bek, a senior Afghan government aide, has tweeted to try and reassure residents. The BBC said there is a rush on banks in Kabul as Afghans try to gather means to escape
On Sunday morning, long lines formed outside banks and the few functioning ATMs in Kabul as residents, fearful that the capital may fall to the Taliban, too, rushed to withdraw their cash.
The US Embassy has urged its citizens to leave the country while scaling back its presence.
- 16 Aug 2021 2:51 AM GMT
Though the exact situation in the presidential palace in Kabul is unclear, the Taliban has claimed to have taken over the presidential palace, reports BBC. However, there has been no confirmation from government officials.
Local journalist Bilal Sarwary has informed that though Ghani should have joined the transition of power ceremony inside the palace as part of the agreement, he and his senior aides left the country instead.
The Taliban informed a wire that there would be no transitional government following their sweep.
Meanwhile, confusion also persists as to President Ghani's destination. While a senior Interior Ministry official said he has left for Tajikistan, another Foreign Ministry official said his location is unknown, and the Taliban is searching his whereabouts.
A senior Interior Ministry informed that the Taliban occupied Kabul from all sides, and there were reports of sporadic gunfire. As per reports from an NGO which runs a hospital in Kabul, forty have arrived at the hospital, and more casualties are arriving. According to a security alert issued by US Embassy, there are reports of gunfire at Kabul's airport.
"The security situation in Kabul is changing quickly," US officials said.
The Taliban has also issued a statement under the banner of "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan", claiming they have now been permitted to enter Kabul. "The Taliban will secure areas abandoned by Afghan forces in Kabul," said the statement. It sought to assure citizens that the forces will neither enter their homes nor "bother them".
- 15 Aug 2021 4:33 PM GMT
Afghanistan’s senior diplomat Abdullah Abdullah has informed that President Ashraf Ghani has left the country for Tajikstan as the Taliban closes in on Kabul. Abdullah is the Afghan Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation.
“The former Afghan president has left the nation,” Abdullah said in a video on his Facebook page, as reported by Al Jazeera.
Earlier, talks were ongoing between government officials and Taliban representatives at the presidential palace in Kabul. Taliban fighters have reportedly encircled Kabul after capturing 26 of the 34 provincial capitals in the country.
- 15 Aug 2021 10:20 AM GMT
Kabul: The Taliban in a statement said on Sunday said that they have no plan whatsoever to topple the capital city militarily. The statement added that negotiations were underway with the Afghan government for the peaceful surrender of Kabul,
The statement of the insurgent group acknowledged that the fighters have no intention to enter the Afghan capital Kabul and will enter the city peacefully.
The statement reads that Kabul is the most populated city of Afghanistan and the fighters are not allowed to enter the city and are directed to stay out of Kabul's doors.
The statement was published hours after fear and panic spread in the city and people are roaming on the streets.
People seemed to be closing shops and markets and there is no city transportation available in the city, Afghan media reported.
The Afghan Presidential Palace also said in Facebook posts that the situation of Kabul is under control and the Afghan forces are working along with international allies to secure the Afghan capital.
"We reiterate that Afghanistan Islamic Emirate has nothing to do with the civil and military officials in Kabul. We are not seeking revenge and there is general pardon for government officials," said the statement.
The statement further reads that the upcoming Islamic system will comprise all classes and groups in Afghanistan.
- 15 Aug 2021 10:07 AM GMT
Moscow: 84 Afghan servicemen reportedly crossed the border into Uzbekistan asking for assistance, AP reports as Uzbekistan's Foreign Ministry said on Sunday
According to the report, Uzbek guards detained the group of Afghan military when they crossed the border. The group included three wounded soldiers that needed medical help, the ministry was quoted saying.
The men were offered food and temporary accommodation in Uzbekistan, and the ministry was in touch with Afghan officials regarding the return of Afghan soldiers to their home country.
- 15 Aug 2021 9:57 AM GMT
The Chief of Staff to President Ashraf Ghani has taken to his Twitter account to urge the people of Kabul, ‘Please don’t worry. There is no problem. The situation of Kabul is under control.’,reports Al Jazeera
The tweet comes as the Taliban have entered the Afghan capital from all sides and have reportedly made it within a few kilometers of the main city.
President Ghani himself, hasn’t been heard from since he gave a short, pre-recorded address to the nation Saturday afternoon.
- 15 Aug 2021 9:39 AM GMT
Kabul: An Afghan official tells The Associated Press that Taliban negotiators are heading to the presidential palace to prepare for a "transfer" of power.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear of reprisals quoted as saying on Sunday that the goal was a peaceful handing over of the government to the Taliban.
The Taliban have said they don't plan to take the capital by force.