Taliban militants poured into the Afghan capital on Sunday evening, going through nearly no armed resistance after Afghanistan’s beleaguered president, Ashraf Ghani, fled the nation, bringing a chaotic finish to the two-decade lengthy US army venture.
The Taliban fighters — who plan to determine an Islamic state dominated by a strict, literal interpretation of Islamic legislation on the Afghan inhabitants — moved to take management of Kabul, whilst international governments have been scrambling to evacuate their residents and Afghan allies.
Tumultuous scenes have been reported at Kabul airport, as panicked metropolis residents sought flights out, and the US embassy warned of a deteriorating safety state of affairs. A Taliban spokesman urged individuals to remain calm.
The Taliban’s entry into Kabul is the fruits of a dramatic week-long lightning offensive through which the Islamist fighters seized management over a lot of the nation — typically with little armed resistance — in an astonishing reordering of Afghanistan’s political map.
“The Taliban has entered Kabul,” Invoice Roggio, editor of the Lengthy Warfare Journal, tweeted. “The Taliban took over the presidential palace, the police command and different installations. Kabul will successfully fall at this time.”
The onslaught left the Ghani authorities politically and army remoted, and going through an imminent Taliban assault. The president — who had lengthy resisted requires his resignation to pave the best way for peace talks with the militia — lastly bowed out.
Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s former president, confirmed Ghani’s departure, and stated he was in talks with different Afghan leaders and the Taliban for a peaceable handover.
Taliban fighters have been already taking on deserted metropolis police stations and posts.
The US is increasing its deployment to five,00zero troops to assist the evacuation of diplomats, allied personnel and hundreds of Afghans at excessive danger of retribution for working with the US.
US president Joe Biden stated Washington had warned the Taliban that “any motion . . . that places US personnel or our mission in danger there, shall be met with a swift and robust army response”.
Biden stated that the US was working with Ghani and different Afghan political leaders, in addition to regional powers, “as they search to forestall additional bloodshed and pursue a political settlement”.
Because the US evacuation obtained underneath approach, embassy workers have been instructed to burn delicate paperwork, whereas Kabul residents thronged banks in a bid to withdraw their financial savings.
Although the Taliban’s week-long onslaught has led to much less bloodshed than the extent of their territorial features may recommend, nation specialists warn that Afghanistan, with its numerous mixture of rival ethnic teams and fierce neighborhood rivalries, is heading towards a civil war.
“That is the tip of Afghanistan as a nation,” Sara Wahedi, a former Afghan authorities official who runs a safety app for Kabul residents, wrote on Twitter. “Nobody will have the ability to lead your complete nation.”
Afghanistan’s vice-president, Amrullah Saleh, who additionally left the nation — and whom many predict will mount armed resistance — was defiant on Twitter after his departure. “I’ll by no means, ever & in no way bow to d [sic] Talib terrorists,” he wrote. “I gained’t disappoint thousands and thousands who listened to me. I’ll by no means be underneath one ceiling with Taliban. NEVER.”
Many Afghans expressed fury on the US give attention to evacuating its personal residents, leaving the native inhabitants on the mercy of the Taliban and its extremist ideology. Afghan women, particularly, concern hardship after the Taliban severely restricted their freedom of motion and skill to work when it dominated within the 1990s.
“I want I might go to Kabul now and scream exterior the US embassy, ‘We’re additionally human beings such as you and we even have the fitting to stay and luxuriate in freedom’,” stated a younger girl in Herat, which fell to the Taliban just a few days in the past. She added that the Islamist fighters had already begun looking out individuals’s properties for alcohol or weapons.
“How might the Individuals hand us over to the Taliban?” she stated.
The fast disintegration of the Afghan Nationwide Military surprised and dismayed many in Kabul and Washington who had anticipated the US-trained power to have the ability to put up stronger resistance to the Islamic insurgents.
The northern metropolis of Mazar-i-Sharif, a standard stronghold of fierce anti-Taliban resistance, fell to the insurgent group late on Saturday evening after days of heavy combating.
Political figures within the area fled, together with anti-Taliban leaders Abdul Rashid Dostum and Ata Mohammad Noor, who sought refuge in neighbouring Uzbekistan, in response to native information reviews.
Analysts stated the abrupt tempo of the US drawdown — together with abandoning the principle US army facility at Bagram air base nearly in a single day — had severely damaged morale among the many Afghan forces, undermining their will to battle.
“What we’ve underestimated is the extent of Taliban planning with regard to the withdrawal,” Rudra Chaudhuri, of King’s Faculty London, informed the Monetary Instances. “That they had a really clear plan. The query is, how did the whole lot of the US intelligence neighborhood not know this?”
Analysts stated a few of Afghanistan’s most battle-hardened army leaders had tactically retreated to regroup and have been prone to launch insurgencies.
“If anyone thinks it’s going to be a peaceable rule for Taliban or Afghanistan goes to be underneath their utterly management and domination — no,” an Indian authorities official informed the FT. “There’s at all times going to be this thorn of their bottom.”
Extra reporting by Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran and Lauren Fedor in Washington DC