After capturing Kabul and the presidential palace on Sunday, Taliban insurgents gained control of Afghanistan.
President Ashraf Ghani has left the nation, and former President Hamid Karzai has announced the formation of a council to assist with the peaceful transfer of power to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the US is deploying 6,000 troops to Afghanistan to assist in the evacuation of US employees, including those stationed at its embassy and Afghans such as translators who collaborated with US troops.
Prior to the ultimate withdrawal of US armed personnel, the Taliban took control of practically the entire country.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that the fighters entered Kabul on Sunday rather than staying on the outskirts because Afghan government security troops had abandoned their posts.
“This morning the Islamic Emirate released a statement that our forces were outside Kabul city and we did not want to enter Kabul through military ways,” he said. “However, now we are getting reports that the district police offices are evacuated, police has left their job of ensuring the security, also the ministries are emptied and the security personnel of the Kabul administration has fled.”
He told the citizens of Kabul not to feat their presence.
According to the Taliban, militants have been told to wait on the outskirts of the city until talks take place to secure a peaceful transfer of power. “We guarantee the Afghan people that no one would face retaliation,” a Taliban spokesman told the BBC.
Abdullah Abdullah, the Afghan chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, announced in a video address that Ghani, a former economist who has served as Afghanistan’s president since 2014, has left the country. He used to be an American citizen, but he handed up his citizenship in 2009 to run for the presidency of Afghanistan.
“Today, I came across a hard choice; I should stand to face the armed Taliban who wanted to enter the palace or leave the dear country that I dedicated my life to protecting and protecting the past twenty years,” Ghani posted on Facebook. “If there were still countless countrymen martyred and they would face the destruction and destruction of Kabul city, the result would have been a big human disaster in this six million city. The Taliban have made it to remove me, they are here to attack all Kabul and the people of Kabul. In order to avoid the bleeding flood, I thought it was best to get out.”
He wrote the future for Afghanistan is uncertain.
“Taliban have won the judgement of sword and guns and now they are responsible for protecting the countrymen’s honor, wealth and self-esteem,” the post read. “Never in history has dry power given legitimacy to anyone and won’t give it to them. They are now facing a new historical test; either they will protect the name and honor of Afghanistan or they will prioritize other places and networks. Many people and many Aqshar are in fear and are unreliable in the future. It is necessary for Taliban to assure all the people, nations, different sectors, sisters and women of Afghanistan to win the legitimacy and the hearts of the people.”
Following Ghani’s departure, Karzai said that he was forming a council of himself, Abdullah Abdullah, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of the political party Hesb-i-Islami, to negotiate the handover of power to the Taliban.
According to a CNN witness, Hamid Karzai International Airport was chaotic as most foreigners tried to flee the country.
“There are big crowds trying to get in and at one stage shooting erupted,” the witness said.
“There was also a warning of a ground attack and we were in a bunker for the past hour but now it is all clear. It’s all foreigners here. One young European woman was freaking out.”
A 22-year-old student told the BBC that he had walked more than five hours to reach the airport.
“My feet hurt, they have blisters and I’m finding it difficult to stand,” he said. “It was like a military town — people were in traditional clothes, but they had weapons and were firing in the air. It reminded me of the jihad that I heard of from my parents.”
The U.S. State Department with 65 other countries and the European Union issued a joint statement Sunday night calling on the Taliban to “respect and facilitate the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country.”
“Those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan bear responsibility — and accountability — for the protection of human life and property and for the immediate restoration of security and civil order,” they said without stating the Taliban by name. “The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity. We in the international community stand ready to assist them.”
Mujahid assured foreign nationals in Kabul their safety via Twitter.
“Let everyone be in Kabul with full confidence, the forces of the [Taliban] are tasked with strengthening the security of Kabul and all other cities,” he said.
At the airport, staff from the US embassy in Kabul were seen boarding military planes.
At the Kabul airport, a small group of key officials, including the top US diplomat, will remain.
Earlier on Sunday, terrorists grabbed control of Jalalabad, a crucial eastern city, without a battle, implying that the country’s roads with Pakistan are secure.
Bagram airfield and prison, roughly 25 miles north of the city center, were retaken by the Taliban.
On July 2, the US troops withdrew the complex, which was previously the largest US military base in Afghanistan.
President Joe Biden announced an additional direct deployment of 1,000 troops to Afghanistan on Saturday, bringing the total number of troops to 5,000, “to ensure an orderly and safe drawdown of US and other allied personnel, as well as an orderly and safe evacuation of Afghans who assisted our troops during our mission and those at special risk from the Taliban advance.”
The Defense Department then added another 1,000 on Sunday.
According to a defense official, about 1,000 troops have already arrived in the country. Instead of being on standby in Kuwait, a 1,000-troop battalion from the 82nd Airborne Division was deployed to Kabul.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday the Taliban advanced “more quickly than we anticipated,” but defended the U.S. troops’ withdrawal.
On Feb. 29 of last year, the United States and the Taliban signed a peace agreement that include the withdrawal of all regular American and NATO troops from Afghanistan.
“We were in Afghanistan for one over-riding purpose: to deal with the folks who attacked us on 9/11. That’s why we went there 20 years ago,” he said. “And over those 20 years we brought Bin Laden to justice, we vastly diminished the threat posed by Al-Qaida in Afghanistan to the United States to the point where it’s not capable of conducting such an attack again from Afghanistan.”
“On the terms that we went into Afghanistan in the first place, we’ve succeeded in our objectives,” he said.
The Trump administration agreed to reduce its forces from 13,000 to 8,600 by July 2020 with a full withdrawal by May 2021 and Biden extended it to Sept. 11, the anniversary of the 9/11 attack. On July 8, Biden said it would be complete by Aug. 31.
“The idea that the status quo could have been maintained by keeping our forces there is simply wrong,” Blinken told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“We haven’t asked the Taliban for anything. We’ve told the Taliban that if they interfere with our personnel, with our operations as we’re proceeding with this drawdown, there will be a swift and decisive response.”
Canada, Sweden, and Germany were among the countries that evacuated their embassy buildings.
Because of Taliban security promises, Russia says it will not close its embassy. Russia, on the other hand, intends to call an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
A military alliance led by the United States overthrew the Taliban nearly two decades ago.
Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, told the BBC that people in Kabul should not be concerned because their property and lives are protected.
“We are the servants of the people and of this country,” he said.
According to Shaheen, the Taliban wants Afghans to help in post-conflict reconstruction.
According to Biden, the 20-year war in Afghanistan, which began after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has resulted in the deaths of 2,448 US personnel and the wounding of 20,722.
The US military had 98,000 personnel in the country at its peak in 2011.
The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University estimates that the US has spent $2.2 trillion on its longest conflict.
According to the report, the war has killed upwards of 69,000 Afghan military and police personnel.
The university estimates that 241,000 people have died in Afghanistan and Pakistan-related war zones, with more than 71,000 of them being civilians.