Taliban forces enter Kabul, all but ensuring the fall of the Afghan government: NPR


Smoke is rising next to the US Embassy in Kabul on Sunday. Taliban fighters have entered the outskirts of the Afghan capital, further tightening control over the country.

Rahmat Gul / AP

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Rahmat Gul / AP

Smoke is rising next to the US Embassy in Kabul on Sunday. Taliban fighters have entered the outskirts of the Afghan capital, further tightening control over the country.

Rahmat Gul / AP

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Taliban left Afghanistan just hours after rebel forces surrounded the state capital of Kabul on Sunday – all but to ensure the collapse of the national government and the return of the rebel group to power for the first time in two decades.

Ghani and his immediate team left the country, according to Afghan government sources who spoke with the Associated Press, Reuters and the highly regarded local television network TOLO.

Ghana was under enormous pressure to step down, and Taliban leaders demanded his resignation and the transfer of power to an interim government.

Earlier, Taliban and Afghan officials said they were negotiating a peaceful transfer of power, although reports from the field indicated much unrest.

“There is an agreement that there will be a transitional administration for the orderly transfer of power,” Acting Interior Minister Abdul Satar Mirzakwal said in a Tweet published by the TOLO news agency Sunday.

The forthcoming capture of Kabul comes at a time when the United States has been reducing its forces in the country as part of a full exit ahead of the second anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. But in the days leading up to the Taliban attack on Kabul, President Biden announced that about 5,000 troops would be sent to the country, stepping up efforts to secure the evacuation of U.S. personnel.

Taliban offensives have accelerated across the country in recent weeks, and religious militias have taken victory over victory in dozens of provincial capitals and other key cities. Taliban fighters headed for Kabul after capturing the eastern city of Jalalabad overnight – the last major city stronghold still in government hands along a key route to the capital.

The Taliban were advancing toward the Afghan capital when helicopters landed at the U.S. embassy early Sunday, The Associated Press reported. Diplomats tried to destroy sensitive documents, sending smoke from the roof of the embassy, ​​the AP said.

One resident of Kabul, who is not identified by the NRP to protect his personal safety, described a chaotic situation in Kabul as Taliban forces approached the city.

“Right now there are thieves, robbers, all the robbers out there and trying to rob cars – whoever is currently traveling,” the woman said. “My father just talked to one of his friends and [there are] shots everywhere. “

“U [our neighborhood] we have this guard with a gun and he just shot someone because people are trying to rob houses and whoever passes by, ”she said.

In a statement issued Saturday, Biden said he had ordered the armed forces and the intelligence community to ensure the U.S. maintained the ability and vigilance to address future threats from Afghanistan. The president warned that if the Taliban threatens U.S. personnel or interests, the rebel group will face a “quick and strong” response from the U.S. military.

But he also said the United States had done everything it could to secure Afghanistan.

“During our country’s 20 years in the war in Afghanistan, America sent its best young men and women, invested nearly $ 1 trillion, trained over 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, equipped them with state-of-the-art military equipment and maintained their air force as part of the longest war in history. The U.S., ”Biden said. “Another year, or another five years, of the U.S. military presence would not change if the Afghan military could not or would not retain its country. And the endless U.S. presence in the midst of civil strife in another country was not acceptable to me.”

Early Sunday, the White House had not yet responded to news that Kabul had been taken over and that a transfer of power appeared to be being negotiated.

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