The Taliban took control of the presidential palace in Kabul on Sunday and was expected to announce the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the capital city, according to reports.
The Taliban moved into Kabul on Sunday after a lightning-fast military operation allowed the insurgents to capture most of Afghanistan over the past week and entered into talks with government officials at the presidential palace, the Associated Press reported.
The development marked the latest in the ongoing chaos in Kabul.
American helicopters evacuated staff from the US Embassy, the international airport where US diplomats and hundreds of Afghans had sought shelter came under fire, and people in panic over fears that the Taliban would return to their oppressive rule flooded the streets.
“The airport is out of control… the (Afghan) government just sold us out,” an official at the airport told Reuters.
Earlier Sunday, Taliban insurgents said they would not attack the city until the transfer of power was worked out.
“Taliban fighters are to be on standby on all entrances of Kabul until a peaceful and satisfactory transfer of power is agreed,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
The Taliban proclaimed an Islamic emirate when they assumed power in Afghanistan in 1996 and instituted a strict version of sharia law that banned women from working or studying and prohibited Western books and movies.
The insurgency, which drew from the “mujahideen” who fought against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, was toppled by the US for harboring al-Qaeda terrorists while they developed their plan to attack the US on 9/11.
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