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Afghan president flees the country as Taliban move on Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s embattled president remaining the country Sunday, signing up for his fellow citizens and foreigners in a stampede fleeing the advancing Taliban and signaling the stop of a 20-year Western experiment aimed at remaking Afghanistan.

The Taliban, who for hrs experienced been on the outskirts of Kabul, introduced quickly following they would shift additional into a metropolis gripped by worry exactly where helicopters raced overhead during the day to evacuate personnel from the U.S. Embassy. Smoke rose around the compound as staff members wrecked important files, and the American flag was lowered. Numerous other Western missions also geared up to pull their people out.

Afghans fearing that the Taliban could reimpose the kind of brutal rule that all but removed women’s rights rushed to leave the place as perfectly, lining up at cash equipment to withdraw their existence cost savings. The desperately lousy — who had remaining households in the countryside for the presumed basic safety of the cash — remained in their 1000’s in parks and open areas throughout the metropolis.

U.S. Secretary of Point out Antony Blinken rejected comparisons to the U.S. pullout from Vietnam, as quite a few watched in disbelief at the sight of helicopters landing in the embassy compound to consider diplomats to a new outpost at Kabul Worldwide Airport.

“This is manifestly not Saigon,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

The American ambassador was between those evacuated, explained officers who spoke problem of anonymity because they were being not approved to examine ongoing navy functions. He was inquiring to return to the embassy, but it was not very clear if he would be allowed to.

President Ashraf Ghani flew out of the state, two officers explained to The Linked Press, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the fact they weren’t licensed to temporary journalists. Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the Afghan Countrywide Reconciliation Council, afterwards verified that Ghani had remaining.

“The previous president of Afghanistan still left Afghanistan, leaving the country in this tough condition,” Abdullah explained. “God should keep him accountable.”

In a beautiful rout, the Taliban seized just about all of Afghanistan in just in excess of a week, inspite of the billions of bucks used by the U.S. and NATO over practically two decades to build up Afghan stability forces. Just times before, an American army assessment approximated it would be a thirty day period in advance of the funds would appear beneath insurgent strain.

The tumble of Kabul marks the remaining chapter of America’s longest war, which began soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror assaults masterminded by al-Qaida’s Osama bin Laden, then harbored by the Taliban government. A U.S.-led invasion dislodged the Taliban and beat them again, even though The usa misplaced focus on the conflict in the chaos of the Iraq War.

For a long time, the U.S. has been seeking for an exit for the war. Washington below then-President Donald Trump signed a deal with the Taliban in February 2020 that confined direct armed service motion in opposition to the insurgents. That permitted the fighters to obtain power and transfer rapidly to seize important places when President Joe Biden announced his plans to withdraw all American forces by the conclusion of this month.

On Sunday, the insurgents entered the outskirts of Kabul but in the beginning remained outdoors of the city’s downtown. In the meantime, Taliban negotiators in the funds talked about the transfer of power, claimed an Afghan official who spoke on problem of anonymity for fear of reprisals. The official, who spoke on problem of anonymity to discuss particulars of the closed-doors negotiations, explained them as “tense.”

It remained unclear when that transfer would get area and who among the the Taliban was negotiating. The negotiators on the governing administration side incorporated former President Hamid Karzai, leader of Hizb-e-Islami political and paramilitary group Gulbudin Hekmatyar and Abdullah, who has been a vocal critic of Ghani.

Karzai himself appeared in a video clip posted on the net, his 3 younger daughters all around him, indicating he remained in Kabul.

“We are attempting to clear up the concern of Afghanistan with the Taliban management peacefully,” he reported, though the roar of a passing helicopter could be listened to overhead.

Afghanistan’s acting protection minister, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, didn’t keep again his criticism of the fleeing president.

“They tied our hands from guiding and offered the place,” he wrote on Twitter. “Curse Ghani and his gang.”

The insurgents tried using to quiet inhabitants of the capital, insisting their fighters would not enter people’s residences or interfere with enterprises. They also reported they’d provide an “amnesty” to individuals who labored with the Afghan authorities or international forces.

“No one’s existence, property and dignity will be harmed and the lives of the citizens of Kabul will not be at hazard,” the insurgents explained in a statement.

But there have been studies of revenge killings and other brutal methods in regions of the country the Taliban have seized in recent days. Just one feminine journalist, weeping, sent voice messages to colleagues right after armed guys entered her condominium making and banged on her door.

“What should I do? Should I connect with the law enforcement or Taliban?” Getee Azami cried. It was not distinct what occurred to her right after that.

A lot of chose to flee, speeding to the Kabul airport, the previous route out of the country as the Taliban now maintain each individual border crossing. NATO said it was “helping to keep functions at Kabul airport to hold Afghanistan connected with the globe.”

1 Afghan college scholar explained experience betrayed as she watched the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy.

“You failed the more youthful generation of Afghanistan,” stated Aisha Khurram, 22, who is now not sure of whether or not she’ll be in a position to graduate in two months’ time. “A generation … raised in the fashionable Afghanistan had been hoping to establish the nation with their very own hands. They set blood, endeavours and sweat into no matter what we experienced suitable now.”

Sunday began with the Taliban seizing the close by town of Jalalabad — which experienced been the past key city aside from the capital not in their hands. Afghan officers claimed the militants also took the capitals of Maidan Wardak, Khost, Kapisa and Parwan provinces, as very well as the country’s previous federal government-held border article.

Afterwards, Afghan forces at Bagram air base, household to a jail housing 5,000 inmates, surrendered to the Taliban, according to Bagram district chief Darwaish Raufi. The jail at the former U.S. base held equally Taliban and Islamic Condition group fighters.


Akhgar and Faiez documented from Istanbul and Gambrell from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Related Press writers Kathy Gannon in Guelph, Canada Joseph Krauss in Jerusalem ​Matthew Lee in Washington James LaPorta in Boca Raton, Florida Aya Batrawy in Dubai and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.

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