LIVE: US lowers flag at Kabul embassy as Ghani exits country
A few days ago, the Taliban started taking over several cities of Afghanistan as the American troops made their way back to the US. While some cities were taken over after intense attacks by the insurgents, some cities such as Jalalabad woke up to white flags all around the area. During the late evening hours of Sunday, Afghanistan Presiden Ashraf Ghani left the country and Taliban insurgents entered the capital city Kabul and took control of the city. However, the Taliban claimed they have taken control to make sure there is no looting and chaos as the Afghan security forces left parts of Kabul city and their checkpoints. Meanwhile, helicopters were spotted rescuing US Embassy employees from Afghanistan's capital, while many employees spent the morning burning all important documents. American officials were rushed to the Kabul Airpot, which is now believed to have taken fire. Stay updated with the live updates of the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan with WION's live coverage.
A few days ago, the Taliban started taking over several cities of Afghanistan as the American troops made their way back to the US. While some cities were taken over after intense attacks by the insurgents, some cities such as Jalalabad woke up to white flags all around the area.
During the late evening hours of Sunday, Afghanistan Presiden Ashraf Ghani left the country and Taliban insurgents entered the capital city Kabul and took control of the city. However, the Taliban claimed they have taken control to make sure there is no looting and chaos as the Afghan security forces left parts of Kabul city and their checkpoints.
Meanwhile, helicopters were spotted rescuing US Embassy employees from Afghanistan's capital, while many employees spent the morning burning all important documents. American officials were rushed to the Kabul Airpot, which is now believed to have taken fire.
Stay updated with the live updates of the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan with WION's live coverage.
US State Department said its forces are taking steps to secure Kabul airport as the Taliban rapidly advanced into the capital on Sunday.
After Afghan President Ashraf Ghani left the country amid the Taliban advance in Kabul, the US lowered its flag at Kabul embassy with almost all its staff set to leave to the country.
Taliban to change the flag of Afghanistan as a symbolic bid, sources tell WION.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country a few hours ago, has posted his first statement from exile.
Ghani took to Twitter to make his first statement.
"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," he wrote 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."
All commercial flights have been suspended from Kabul Airport and only military aircrafts are allowed to land and fly out from the airport, a NATO official said.
With Islamists capturing more Afghan cities, Britain will be deploying around 600 troops to assist in evacuating its roughly 3,000 residents, and as per the PM, the majority of remaining embassy staff in Kabul will return to the UK.
As per media reports, the US Ambassador has left Kabul in the last hour. He was rushed out of the Embassy as Taliban took over the capital city Kabul.
The American flag at the Embassy was also lowered and carried away back to the US by the US Ambassador.
As per media reports, Taliban will soon declare Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the Presidential Palace.
Senior Taliban commanders have claimed that the group is set to announce that they have taken control over the country and it will now be known as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
Official spokesperson has not confirmed this report yet.
Women of Afghanistan recalled that a few days ago groups of Taliban insurgents marched in the Azizi Bank in the southern city of Kandahar and ordered all women working in the bank to leave the premises immediately.
"Nobody wants Afghanistan to be a breeding ground for terror...or to lapse back into the pre-2001 situation," said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a live interview.
However, he also added that "there is clearly a change of regime now happening" but "we don’t know exactly what kind of regime that will be".
He has also urged the United Nations and NATO to join forces against the Taliban. "We do not want anyone bilaterally recognising the Taliban," he said.
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that all the US embassy staff in Kabul are being moved to the airport as the Taliban attacked the Afghan capital.
UK Prime Minister attended a meeting of the civil contingencies committee to discuss the matters of national emergency and security.
Interim council for running affairs of the country for the interim matter regarding the transition of power to have Hamid Karzai, Abdullah Abdullah, Gulbuddin Hekmatya.
در پی خروج آقای اشرف غنی و مقامات مسئول از کشور، به منظور جلوگیری از هرج و مرج و کاهش درد و رنج مردم و جهت اداره هرچه بهتر امور مربوط صلح و انتقال مسالمت آمیز شورای هماهنگی متشکل از محترمین هر یک داکتر عبدالله عبدالله رئیس شواری عالی مصالحه ملی، رهبر جهادی گلبدین حکمتیار…— Hamid Karzai (@KarzaiH) August 15, 2021
Ashraf Ghani: Departing Afghan president who failed to make peace with Taliban
First elected president in 2014, Ghani took over from Hamid Karzai, who led Afghanistan after the US-led invasion in 2001, and oversaw the conclusion of the US combat mission, the near-complete withdrawal of foreign forces from the country, as well as a fractious peace process with the insurgent Taliban.
The US Ambassador in Afghanistan has left the Embassy in Kabul, and the American flag has been removed form the building.
As per reports, the US Ambassador and the American flag are now at the Kabul Airport.
Nepal has requested UN, UK, Canada, Germany, EU and Japan to help repatriate its citizens. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Sunday as the taliban took control of Kabul.
Nepal requests UN, UK, Canada, Germany, EU, Japan to help repatriate its National stuck in Kabul: Nepal Foreign ministry statement pic.twitter.com/kxX42QxHMG— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) August 15, 2021
As several tried to flee from Afghanistan through the Kabul International Airport, the security situation has started worsening in the area. As per local reports, the Kabul International Airport is taking fire.
After these reports, the US authorities have urged Americans to take shelter and remain wherever they are to protect themselves.
The news was communicated by Dion Nissenbaum, a Wall Street Journal reporter.
Image credit: Dion Nissenbaum
In a recent development, Albania has accepted a request by the US to temporarily take in Afghan refugees seeking visas to enter the United States, Prime Minister Edi Rama said on Sunday.
A Kabul hospital has claimed that the doctors are currently catering to "more than 40 people" who have ben wounded in clashes with the Taliban, on the outskirts of Kabul.
As the news of President Ashraf Ghani’s departure spreads in the city and the Taliban order their men to enter the city and take charge, a part of Kabul celebrates with fireworks.
Photo credit: Anas Malik
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says the forces were entering Kabul to make sure there is no looting and chaos as the Afghan security forces left parts of Kabul city and their checkpoints.
He has also urged locals not to be afraid of Taliban and not to not panic from their entrance into the city.
"The former president of Afghanistan left Afghanistan and left the country and the nation in a state of agreement, and may God be with him," said Abdullah Abdullah, an Afghan politician who leads the High Council for National Reconciliation.
My message to the people of AFGHANISNAN, to the security forces and to the Taliban: https://t.co/MiFk0zaNRJ— Dr. Abdullah Abdullah (@DrabdullahCE) August 15, 2021
Close aide to Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has confirmed to WION that the President has left the country, and is headed to Tajisktan.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said all staff members of the US embassy in Kabul are being moved to the Kabul International Airport. "The fact of the matter is Afghan forces have been unable to defend the country," he said.
He also addressed criticism against the US, with respect to Saigon and blasted the critics by saying, "This is not Saigon. The US has succeeded in its mission to stop attacks on US."
"It's simply not in our interests to remain in Afghanistan," he added.
I will never, ever & under no circumstances bow to d Talib terrorists. I will never betray d soul & legacy of my hero Ahmad Shah Masoud, the commander, the legend & the guide. I won't dis-appoint millions who listened to me. I will never be under one ceiling with Taliban. NEVER.— Amrullah Saleh (@AmrullahSaleh2) August 15, 2021
A Taliban official in the western city of Herat says the situation is "back to normal" after the city was captured by the group a few days ago.
As the Taliban marched towards Kabul, NATO said finding a political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan is 'more urgent than ever'.
"We support Afghan efforts to find a political solution to the conflict, which is now more urgent than ever," an official at the 30-nation alliance told AFP.
Germany is closing its embassy in Kabul and asking German nationals to leave Afghanistan immediately, the German foreign ministry said.
Nobel laureate and an advocate for girls’ education and women's equality, Malala, also tweeted in support of Afghanistan.
"We watch in complete shock as Taliban takes control of Afghanistan. I am deeply worried about women, minorities and human rights advocates. Global, regional and local powers must call for an immediate ceasefire, provide urgent humanitarian aid and protect refugees and civilians," her tweet read.
We watch in complete shock as Taliban takes control of Afghanistan. I am deeply worried about women, minorities and human rights advocates. Global, regional and local powers must call for an immediate ceasefire, provide urgent humanitarian aid and protect refugees and civilians.— Malala (@Malala) August 15, 2021
As per reports, an Afghan delegation will travel to Qatar immediately to meet with the Taliban representatives amidst tensions in the country, an Afghan government negotiator told Reuters.
This delegation will include Abdullah Abdullah, head of the Afghan reconciliation committee.
Sayed Khel district of Parwan province was also conquered was by the Taliban.
"According to the latest information, the center of the district came under the control of Mujahidin with all its accessories," Zabihullah Mujahid, the official Twitter Account of the Spokesman of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, tweeted. "Many weapons, vehicles and equipment fell into the hands of Mujahidin."
#الفتح:— Zabihullah (..ذبـــــیح الله م ) (@Zabehulah_M33) August 15, 2021
مهم: د پروان ولایت سیدخیلو ولسوالۍ هم فتحه شوه.
د تازه معلوماتو له مخې د یادې ولسوالۍ مرکز له ټولو ملحقاتو سره د مجاهدینو په کنترول کې شو.
ډيره وسله ګڼ وسائط او تجهیزات د مجاهدینو لاس ته ورغلل.
In a recorded video, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has urged government troops to maintain and follow Kabul law.
"It is our responsibility and we will do it in the best possible manner. Anyone who thinks about chaos, plunder or looting will be tackled with force," he said.
"We will respect rights of women...our policy is that women will have access to education and work, to wear the hijab," Taliban Spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on live BBC report.
He also urged locals to stay in the country, rather than fleeing to different parts of the world. "No one should leave the country...we need all the talents and capacity, we need all of us to stay in the country and participate."
"We are awaiting a peaceful transition of power...we seek inclusive Afghan government where all Afghans will have participation," Taliban Spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on live BBC report, adding of course, we want an Islamic government".
In a video released by the Ministry, Afghanistan's Defence Minister says Kabul will "remain secured" until a peace agreement on the country is reached, with the president sending a delegation to Doha as the Taliban race closer to a complete military takeover.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan President Ghani has once again assured locals that he "will make sure that people of Kabul are safe".
Pope Francis called for dialogue to end the conflict in Afghanistan, so that the citizens can live in peace, security and reciprocal respect.
"I add my voice to the unanimous concern over the situation in Afghanistan", the pontiff said during the weekly Angelus at the Vatican and called for prayers "to end the noise of weapons and for solutions to be found at the table of dialogue".
Even when its government is being accused of supporting numerous terrorist groups, such as Taliban, LeT, etc, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has reiterated the country’s commitment for stability in Afghanistan.
The Afghanistan government troops have surrendered Bagram air base to Taliban, which is the base of the prison that houses nearly 5,000 inmates, including Taliban and Islamic State.
Sources have revealed that the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be recalling the Parliament this week to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
The news has come as the evacuation process of the UK embassy staff in Kabul is underway, while Taliban enters Afghanistan's capital city.
President Ghani has not resigned. Negotiation is going on for a peace settlement : President Spokesperson Mohammad Amiri tells WION.
Taliban commanders have demanded that communities turn over unmarried women to become “wives” for their fighters—a form of sexual violence, human-rights groups say.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has assured full support to Afghanistan and has assured that the country will not let Afghan become a haven for extremists.
"What we must do now is not turn our backs on Afghanistan but continue, as a member of the (UN) Security Council, a country deeply involved in the strategic future of the area, to work with our partners, and make sure the government of Kabul does not allow that country, again, to be a breeding ground for terror," he said.
Taliban fighters and local people sit on an Afghan National Army (ANA) humvee vehicle on a street in Jalalabad province on August 15, 2021.
Recent reports reveal that President Joe Biden's administration has held secret talks with more countries than previously known in a desperate attempt to secure deals for temporarily housing at-risk Afghans working for the US government.
These are Afghans who worked closely with India and others who are now vulnerable such as journalists, writers, activists, minorities, and more. The visas will be given to all Afghan National irrespective of religion and primarily on case by case basis.
Afghanistan's Interior Minister has confirmed that the country will have a 'peaceful transfer of power' soon.
"The Afghan people should not worry... There will be no attack on the city and there will be a peaceful transfer of power to the transitional government," he said in a recorded speech.
Afghan women are now fearing that they would have to live through those harrowing days of Taliban rule from 1996-2001. The time when women were forced to stay at home and forbidden to study or go to work.
Russia is working with other countries to schedule an emergency meeting of UN Security Council meeting on the worsening conditions in Afghanistan.
"We are working on this," Kabulov said, adding that the meeting will take place.
"Blinken will engage President Ashraf Ghani, other Afghan leaders, and regional stakeholders as they seek to prevent further bloodshed and pursue a political settlement for Afghanistan.," US Embassy Kabul tweeted.
Based on the recommendations of our diplomatic, military, & intelligence teams, @POTUS has authorized the deployment of approximately 5,000 U.S. troops to ensure an orderly & safe drawdown of U.S. Embassy & other allied personnel— U.S. Embassy Kabul (@USEmbassyKabul) August 15, 2021
Reportedly, Taliban has reached important passage of the Torkham Gate, which is the main border crossing between the Pakistan city of Torkham and Afghanistan.
However, whether or not the Afghan forces are currently present at the crossing is still unclear.
Arrival of the first vehicle of Afghan Taliban at Torkham Gate. pic.twitter.com/t6mYCcT2yS— Abdullah (@Jolly92946820) August 15, 2021
Meanwhile, there are videos circulating on social media that claim Taliban is now in possession of several Blackhawk helicopters. Although these videos have not been verified and confirmed by officials, it has increased the tension in the area
Taliban are now in possession of all these Blackhawk helicopters.— ابن آدم (@Omygoodness01) August 15, 2021
So what's next for them.....
Meanwhile, it is believed that the American officials are quickly burning all sensitive documents in the US embassy as Blackhawks and Chinooks doing the rounds between the embassy and the airport.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is in emergency talks with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad and other top NATO officials.
Reuters reported the Afghan government is in talks with the Taliban over "a peaceful surrender".
Afghan's Interior Minister has announced that a 'peaceful transition of power will take place peacefully and the city is not under attack.
Peaceful transition of Power to take place peacefully says Acting Afghan Interior Minister, adds that the city of Kabul is NOT under attack[by the Taliban]. #Afghanistan— Anas Mallick (@AnasMallick) August 15, 2021
There is smoke coming out of the US Embassy compound side
Taliban fighters claim to have seized US-made military aircraft from Afghan Armed Forces at Kandahar airport on Saturday, August 14, one day after capturing the city.
Footage posted to social media by Taliban-owned Mashal News shows two Taliban fighters showing off two US-supplied UH-60 Blackhawk (one under maintenance, one on apron) and two Mi-17 helicopters at what is said to be Kandahar airport.
Just In: Afghan Taliban declare that they will NOT enter Kabul city, Given Kabul is densely populated therefore we don't have any intentions to enter the city by force and want a peaceful transition of power, reads groups statement. #Afghanistan— Anas Mallick (@AnasMallick) August 15, 2021
US President Joe Biden ordered the deployment of an additional 1,000 US troops to help secure the emergency evacuation from Kabul of embassy employees and thousands of Afghans who worked for American forces and now fear Taliban reprisals.
That was on top of the 3,000 American soldiers deployed in recent days, and 1,000 left in-country after Biden announced in May that the final withdrawal of the 20-year military presence in Afghanistan would be completed by September 11.
That decision has come under increased scrutiny given the collapse of the Afghan armed forces, but he insisted Saturday there was no choice.
"I was the fourth president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan -- two Republicans, two Democrats. I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth," Biden said.
LATEST | The Taliban has declared that they will not enter Afghan capital Kabul as it is a densely populated city and that negotiations for transition process are underway.
Earlier, on Saturday President Ashraf Ghani sought to project authority with a national address in which he spoke of "re-mobilising" the military while seeking a "political solution" to the crisis.
Stay with WION to get latest updates!
Taliban fighters were on the outskirts of Kabul on Sunday and on the brink of a complete military takeover of Afghanistan.
However, the agencies have reported that Taliban fighters were ordered to wait at the gates of Kabul and not enter the Afghan capital.
Earlier on Sunday, the insurgents captured the eastern city of Jalalabad without a fight, giving them control of one of the main highways into landlocked Afghanistan.
They also took over the nearby Torkham border post with Pakistan, leaving Kabul airport the only way out of Afghanistan that is still in government hands.