Sunday, August 15, 2021 6:56 pm
Analysts of the international system will have a lot to deal with this month as the Talibans have entered Kabul, capital of Afganistan. President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country. Worst of all, Americans are evacuating their people, soldiers and civilians, including diplomats. Political commentators are already comparing it to the humiliation the US suffered in Vietnam’s Saigon, though President Joe Buden and his men argue there is no parallel between the two.
The militants are, according to a BBC report, on the brink of taking total control, after rapidly seizing territory as US-led forces withdrew after 20 years on the ground. Reports say the Taliban have seized the presidential palace.
The report has it further: “Thousands of Afghans have sought refuge in Kabul in recent weeks and there were scenes of panic in the city on Sunday.
A Taliban spokesman told the BBC there would be “no revenge” on Afghans.
Western countries have been scrambling to evacuate their citizens. The US sent military helicopters to transport staff from its heavily fortified embassy compound to the airport.
However, the US Embassy later said there were reports of gunfire at Kabul’s airport. It warned US citizens in the area to take shelter as “the security situation… is changing quickly”.
It is almost 20 years since the Taliban were removed from power by a US-led military coalition.
US President Joe Biden has defended the withdrawal of American troops, saying he could not justify an “endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict”.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said militants had been ordered to enter parts of Kabul on Sunday, after previously holding back at the outskirts of the city.
He said Taliban forces were going in to prevent chaos and looting after security forces left parts of the city and their checkpoints.
Taliban fighters were ordered not to harm civilians or enter homes, he said, adding: “Our forces are entering Kabul with all caution.”
A senior interior ministry official told Reuters news agency that Taliban fighters had reached Kabul “from all sides”.
The Taliban advance into Kabul came as officials told reporters that President Ghani had fled. Details of his whereabouts remain unknown, but some reports said he was heading for Tajikistan.
“God will hold him accountable and the nation will also judge,” top Afghan official Abdullah Abdullah said.
There were reports of fighting and casualties in the city’s Qarabagh district.
Thousands of Afghans have sought refuge in Kabul in recent weeks after fleeing violence elsewhere in the country.
There was panic in the city as the Taliban drew closer to victory.
Some residents have been trying to reach the airport to leave the country. Cars have been abandoned and people have opted to walk because of traffic jams.”