Home FOREIGN Taliban Takes Over Afghanistan As President Ashraf Ghani Flees

Taliban Takes Over Afghanistan As President Ashraf Ghani Flees

Ashraf Ghani | Photo credit:
The Economic Times

Taliban has reportedly entered the Afghanistan’s capital, effec­tively sealing the insurgents’ control of the country after dozens of cities fell to their lightning advance. This was even as the country’s President Ashraf Ghani fled from the country.

Yesterday, August 15, for­mer President Hamid Karzai announced on Twitter that he was forming a coordinat­ing council together with Ab­dullah Abdullah, chairman of the Afghan delegation to peace talks, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of the Hesb-i-Islami party, to manage a peaceful transfer of power. Mr. Karzai called on both government and Taliban forces to act with restraint.

Al Jazeera reported that it had interviewed Taliban fighters who were holding a news conference in the pres­idential palace in Kabul, the capital. The fighters said they were working to secure Ka­bul so that leaders in Qatar and outside the capital could return safely. Al Jazeera re­ported that the fighters had taken down the flag of Af­ghanistan.

As it became clear that Taliban fighters were en­tering Kabul and meeting no resistance, thousands of Afghans who had sought refuge there after fleeing the insurgents’ brutal military offensive watched with grow­ing alarm as the local police seemed to fade from their usual checkpoints. The U.S. Embassy warned Americans to not head to the airport in Kabul after reports that the facility was taking fire, and said that the situation was “changing quickly.”

Late in Kabul’s evening, Mr. Ghani released a writ­ten statement on Facebook saying he had departed the country to save the capital from further bloodshed.

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“Today I was presented with a hard choice,” he wrote. “I should stand to face the armed Taliban who wanted to enter the presidential pal­ace or leave the dear country that I dedicated my life to protecting the past twenty years.”

“If I had stayed, countless countrymen would have been martyred and Kabul city would have been ruined,” he added, “in which case a disaster would have been brought upon this city of five million.”

At 6:30p.m. local time, the Taliban issued a statement that their forces were moving into police districts in order to maintain security in areas that had been abandoned by the government security forc­es. Taliban fighters, meeting no resistance, took up posi­tions in parts of the city, after Zabiullah Mujahid, spokes­man for the Taliban, posted the statement on Twitter.

“The Islamic Emirates ordered its forces to enter the areas of Kabul city from which the enemy has left be­cause there is risk of theft and robbery,” the statement said. The Taliban had been ordered not to harm civilians and not to enter individual homes, it added. “Our forces are entering Kabul city with all caution.”

As the sun set behind the mountains, the traffic was clogged up as crowds grew bigger, with more and more Taliban fighters appearing on motorbikes, police pick­ups and even a Humvee that once belonged to the Ameri­can-sponsored Afghan secu­rity forces.

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