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Afghanistan’s capital city, Kabul, has fallen to the Taliban

The Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan’s capital city, Kabul. President Ashraf Ghani has been forced to flee the country.

After the United States pulled most of its troops from the Middle Eastern country, the Taliban resurfaced to launch a full-scale attack to reclaim the territories that the militant group had lost twenty years ago.

When speaking with Al-Jazeera, Mohammad Naeem, a spokesman for the Taliban, stressed that the militant group did not harm any “diplomatic body or any … [diplomatic] headquarters”.

Taliban
Photo: AFP

“We assure everyone that we will provide safety for citizens and diplomatic missions. We are ready to have a dialogue with all Afghan figures and will guarantee them the necessary protection,” Naeem said.

According to the spokesman, “the war is over” regarding foreign forces controlling the nation.

“We have reached what we were seeking, which is the freedom of our country and the independence of our people … We will not allow anyone to use our lands to target anyone, and we do not want to harm others … We do not think that foreign forces will repeat their failed experience in Afghanistan once again,” Naeem explained.

The Taliban seized control of most of the country in under two weeks.

Afghan civilians have fled their homes, with many reportedly withdrawing their life savings before leaving.

The country’s poorer citizens — many of them from the countryside — have been forced to camp “in parks and open spaces” throughout Kabul.

At the same time, Taliban forces managed to seize control of Bagram airbase — a United States military base that also serves as the site of Pul-e-Charki prison and its 5000 inmates.

The militant group freed the prisoners, with many of them reportedly having fought for terrorist organisations, al Qaeda and ISIS.

According to an eyewitness account, Kabul airport was “chaos” as crowds tried to leave on available flights. When speaking with the BBC, the eyewitness shared that “officials and high-profile people” were being given priority over others.

“…boarding passes were being printed secretly for officials and high-profile people who showed up at the airport,” the witness explained.

“I saw three former MPs, a few deputy ministers and some celebrities queuing up. Some didn’t even have a booking. We waited for almost eight hours, until airport staff started leaving their desks – first the check-in counters and then the migration and passport desks … different rumours created chaos.

“Some escaped from the airport and some rushed towards the gates.”

This comes in the wake of President Ashraf Ghani fleeing the country for the safety of himself and his citizens.

In a post to Facebook (with the following translation offered by USA Today), Ghani had this to say:

“The Taliban had made it clear that they were ready to carry out a bloody attack on all of Kabul and the people of Kabul Sharif to oust me. In order to prevent a flood of bloodshed, I decided to leave.”