Taliban fighters have penetrated suburbs of Afghan capital Kabul, Afghan government officials say. They are in the Kalakan, Qarabagh and Paghman districts, which are a few tens of kilometres from the centre of the Afghan capital.
According to other reports, the Taliban has even been closer to the centre and have government buildings and the air base in Bagram in their hands.
Foreigners are allowed to leave
According to the Taliban, the leaders are in consultation with the government on a peaceful surrender of the capital. Government officials confirm to the AP news agency that Taliban negotiators are on their way to the government palace for power transfer talks.
Whether the government really wants to work on that is the question. An official spokesperson for President Ghani says there is an emergency meeting between Ghani, U.S. diplomat Khalilzad and NATO senior officials.
The warriors would have been ordered not to enter Kabul, but to act on the outskirts of the city. Taliban leaders in Doha have called not to use violence in Kabul and let anyone who wants to leave the city through.
The airport can continue to operate and foreigners who are still in the capital will have the opportunity to leave. If they decide to stay, they should register with the Taliban in the coming days.
The American Afghan professor and former Afghan Home Secretary Ali Ahmad Jalali is likely to be appointed head of an interim government of Afghanistan based in Kabul. Reuters news agency reports that based on diplomatic sources.
The 81-year-old Jalali is an American citizen. He has worked as a professor in Washington since 2005. He is also affiliated with the Ministry of Defense and a think tank on issues related to the Middle East and South Asia.
It is not clear whether the Taliban agrees to the appointment of Jalali, but he is seen as a potentially acceptable compromise figure for a transitional government, the sources say to Reuters.
From embassies of Western countries in Kabul, staff are being evacuated to the airport of the Afghan capital. Last night, the United States started taking away their embassy staff. Within 72 hours, all embassy employees will have left the country.
The Netherlands sends a military aircraft to pick up people, the Ministry of Defense confirms after reporting RTL News. These include embassy personnel and interpreters and their families. According to Minister Bijleveld, there is contact with all the interpreters on the list and qualify for reception in the Netherlands.
The capital was the only big city not yet in the hands of the extremist organization. Last night, Jalalabad fell into their hands in the east of the country, making the Taliban the service in all major cities except Kabul and also controlling Afghanistan‘s borders.
The military hardly resisted the Taliban in recent days, but whether it will surrender so easily in the capital is the question, also because there are thousands of US soldiers in Kabul.
Correspondent Aletta André contacts a journalist in Kabul from India. “He lives near the United Nations compound and stands outside his home. He told me he doesn’t hear battles anywhere, but panic prevails. People are running, but it‘s unclear where they’re running. He says that if anything happens, he flees the UN compound with his family.”
“He said it seems there was no resistance at all, people no longer had a puff to fight because all the major warlords of the big cities have already surrendered.”
In the chaos, residents try to absorb their savings, buy food and find a safe way to go. A soldier from Kabul told the news agency DPA that his entire unit has pulled out the uniform.