Afghanistan: Taliban enters Kabul as western embassies withdraw
The Taliban has now entered the Afghanistan capital of Kabul as western embassies withdraw diplomatic staff in anticipation of for the takeover of the city and the president flees.
Taliban fighters have already taken over every other major city in the country, just months after the US began its complete withdrawal from Aghanistan.
President Ashraf Ghani has now fled the country as people prepare for a transition to power to the Taliban.
Sky News correspondents have reported seeing unarmed Taliban soldiers walking through Kabul.
Afghanistan’s interior minister has also said that the government must prepare for a transfer of power to the militant group.
NBC reports that the Taliban has freed 5,000 of their soldiers that have been imprisoned in Bagram airbase.
US President Joe Biden has refused to take responsibility for the incoming takeover by the extreme Islamist group, saying that he “was the fourth president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan…I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth”.
Images on social media this morning have shown the final US embassy staff leaving via helicopter amidst reports that other western embassies are being cleared out in anticipation of the Taliban’s arrival.
The UK’s ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Laurie Bristow is expected to be airlifted out of Kabul by tomorrow at the latest, with hundreds of embassy staff already evacuated.
There have already been reports of the group taking girls as young as 12 into sex slavery in other parts of conquered Afghanistan, along with other atrocities committed against women.
Pressure is growing in the UK for a more robust response from Nato to stop the takeover of Kabul.
Foreign Affairs Committee chair and Tory MP Tom Tugendhat told the BBC that this was “the biggest single policy disaster since Suez”.
He also called for the UK to assist more Afghanis in seeking asylum.
“This isn’t just about interpreters or guards. This is about those people who we trained in special forces to serve alongside us, those who helped us to understand the territory through our agencies and our diplomats,” he said.
“This is the people who, on our encouragement, set up schools for girls. These people are all at risk now.
“The real danger is that we are going to see every female MP murdered, we are going to see ministers strung up on street lamps.”
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani yesterday said he would not give up on the “achievements” of the past 20 years when the US toppled Taliban in the wake of 9/11.
A statement from the Taliban last night said: “The Islamic Emirate will, as always, protest their life, property and honour and create a peaceful and secure environment for its beloved nation.”