Taliban insurgents have entered Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, reportedly forcing Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to step down and hand over power, according to Al Arabiya.
BBC correspondent Nafiseh Kohnavard stated that, “Kabul will be handed over to Taliban & a new ‘government’ led by the rebels will be formed. In a statement the Taliban spoke of a “victory” and congratulated the “people of Afghanistan”, adding that “they will not attack Kabul.”
•And it’s over…Kabul will be handed over to Taliban & a new “government” led by the group will be formed.
In a statement Taliban called this a “victory” and congratulated “people of Afghanistan”, adding that they are not going to attack Kabul…
— Nafiseh Kohnavard (@nafisehkBBC) August 15, 2021
During the past few days the Taliban have taken over most major cities of Afghanistan. A few days ago they recaptured Herat, the country’s third largest city. The recapture of the western Afghanistan city furthered a huge amount of momentum for the Taliban, who have seized 11 of the country’s 34 provincial capitals in the past week.
The Turkish news agency Anadolu reported that the Afghanistan Minister of Interior announced the start of negotiations for the transfer of power, after the entry of the Taliban in Kabul.
Taliban insurgents entered Kabul on Sunday, an Interior Ministry official said, as U.S. troops evacuated diplomats from their embassy by helicopter.
The senior official told Reuters that the Taliban were entering the city “from all sides,” but gave no further details.
The Afghan presidential palace said in a statement that shots had been heard in some parts of Kabul but that security forces, in coordination with international partners, were in control of the city.
No reports of fighting in Kabul
There are no reports of fighting inside the Afghan capital, according to Reuters.
However, unrest is rampant in Kabul as many people try to withdraw money from banks, buy food and return to their families.
There is traffic chaos on many streets, as citizens either try to return home or go to the airport, residents say.
“Some people left their car keys and started walking towards the airport,” a resident told Reuters by telephone.
Another said: “People are returning to their homes for fear of fighting.”
Taliban spokesman speaks of ‘peaceful transition of power’
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen spoke to TRT saying that the Taliban seek a “peaceful transition of power.”
“Our forces are in Kabul. We are expecting a peaceful transfer of power,” he said, adding that “the city and the people are safe.”
“They should have no fear. Their lives, their properties are safe. This is our message to them.”
Shaheen said that the Taliban represent the will of the people of Afghanistan because many Afghans support them.
Shaheen also said that a Taliban delegation is heading to the presidential palace for talks. Meanwhile there are reports that shots are being heard around the palace.
Concern in Great Britain
Britain is working to protect its citizens and help other eligible former British workers leave Afghanistan, the Home Office said on Sunday.
“Home Office officials are now working to protect British nationals and to help former British workers and other eligible people travel to Britain,” the Home Office announced on Twitter.
At the same time, Russia does not plan to evacuate its embassy in Kabul, a Russian Foreign Ministry official told Interfax news agency.
Russian diplomat Zamir Kabulov said he was in “direct contact” with the Russian embassy in Kabul, adding that embassy officials were still working “calmly.”