Taliban Reach Kabul, President Ghani Flees
Aug. 15, 2021 (EIRNS)—Aug. 15 will now also be remembered as the date that the U.S./NATO project in Afghanistan suffered its final death blows. Taliban forces reached the gates of Kabul and President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country. Head of High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah was said to be mediating a process for the transfer of power, reported Khaama Press.
An Interior Ministry official told Reuters the Taliban were coming in “from all sides” but gave no further details. There were no reports of fighting. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that the group was in talks with the government for a peaceful surrender of Kabul. A Taliban leadership statement said, “Taliban fighters are to be on standby on all entrances of Kabul until a peaceful and satisfactory transfer of power is agreed.” “Negotiations are underway with the other side to ensure that the transition process is completed safely and securely,” a Taliban spokesperson told ABC News. “No one’s head, property or honor will be harmed and the lives of Kabulis will not be in danger. The Islamic Emirate instructs all its forces to stand at the gates of Kabul and not try to enter the city.”
Western embassies are reported to be evacuating their staff, including some Afghan nationals who were embassy employees, by helicopter to the airport. U.S. officials said diplomats were being ferried by helicopter to the airport from its embassy in the fortified Wazir Akbar Khan district. “Core” U.S. team members were working from the Kabul airport, a U.S. official said, while a NATO official said several EU staff had moved to a safer, undisclosed location in the capital. Among other embassies reported to be evacuating are Germany, Italy, the U.K., and the Czech Republic.