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Taliban takeover: Fighters enter Kabul from ‘all sides’

Category: World

Date: 2021-08-15T09:58:21+0000
Taliban takeover: Fighters enter Kabul from ‘all sides’

Shafaq News/ The Taliban entered the Afghan capital Kabul from all sides on Sunday, the Afghan interior ministry said.

However, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen disputed the claim, saying fighters were remaining on the capital’s outskirts

“Our forces have not entered Kabul city, and we just issued a statement saying that our forces will not enter Kabul city,” Shaheen told Al Jazeera from Doha, Qatar, where peace talks are taking place.

“We are talking and awaiting a peaceful transfer – a transition of the capital city.”

Sirens could be heard along with sporadic gunfire in Kabul. Multiple helicopters were flying above the city centre dropping flares.

The Taliban said it has no plans to take the Afghan capital “by force”.

“Negotiations are under way to ensure that the transition process is completed safely and securely, without compromising the lives, property and honour of anyone, and without compromising the lives of Kabulis,” a Taliban statement said.

“The Islamic Emirate instructs all its forces to stand at the gates of Kabul, not to try to enter the city,” a spokesman for the Taliban tweeted, although some residents reported fighters peacefully entered some outer suburbs.

Panicked workers fled government offices. Thousands of civilians now live in parks and open spaces in Kabul itself, fearing the future.

The chief of staff to President Ashraf Ghani on Twitter urged the people of Kabul, “Please don’t worry. There is no problem. The situation of Kabul is under control.”

There was no immediate word on the situation from Ghani. A palace official said he was in emergency talks with US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and top NATO officials.

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News|Taliban

Taliban takeover: Fighters enter Kabul from ‘all sides’

Sirens could be heard as multiple helicopters were flying above the city centre.

A Taliban fighter sits inside an Afghan National Army vehicle in Laghman province on Sunday [AFP]

By Ali M Latifi

15 Aug 2021

Kabul, Afghanistan – The Taliban entered the Afghan capital Kabul from all sides on Sunday, the Afghan interior ministry said.

However, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen disputed the claim, saying fighters were remaining on the capital’s outskirts.

“Our forces have not entered Kabul city, and we just issued a statement saying that our forces will not enter Kabul city,” Shaheen told Al Jazeera from Doha, Qatar, where peace talks are taking place.

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“We are talking and awaiting a peaceful transfer – a transition of the capital city.”

Sirens could be heard along with sporadic gunfire in Kabul. Multiple helicopters were flying above the city centre dropping flares.

The Taliban said it has no plans to take the Afghan capital “by force”.

“Negotiations are under way to ensure that the transition process is completed safely and securely, without compromising the lives, property and honour of anyone, and without compromising the lives of Kabulis,” a Taliban statement said.

“The Islamic Emirate instructs all its forces to stand at the gates of Kabul, not to try to enter the city,” a spokesman for the Taliban tweeted, although some residents reported fighters peacefully entered some outer suburbs.

Panicked workers fled government offices. Thousands of civilians now live in parks and open spaces in Kabul itself, fearing the future.

The chief of staff to President Ashraf Ghani on Twitter urged the people of Kabul: “Please don’t worry. There is no problem. The situation of Kabul is under control.”

There was no immediate word on the situation from Ghani. A palace official said he was in emergency talks with US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and top NATO officials.

The senior official told Reuters news agency the Taliban was coming in “from all sides” but gave no further details.

Three Afghan officials told The Associated Press the fighters were in the districts of Kalakan, Qarabagh and Paghman in the capital. Fighters earlier took Jalalabad, near a major border crossing with Pakistan, the last main city other than Kabul not under their control.

Many of Kabul’s streets were choked by cars and people either trying to rush home or reach the airport, residents said.

“Some people have left their keys in the car and have started walking to the airport,” one resident told Reuters by phone. Another said: “People are all going home in fear of fighting.”

United States officials said diplomats were being ferried to the airport from the embassy in the fortified Wazir Akbar Khan district. More American troops were being sent to help in the evacuations.

At Kabul International Airport, Afghan forces abandoned the field to Western militaries, said a pilot who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss security matters.

The speed of the Taliban offensive has shocked many and raised questions about why Afghan forces crumbled despite years of US training and billions of dollars spent. Just days ago, an American military assessment estimated it would be a month before the capital would come under pressure.

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