AFGHANISTAN: The Taliban* has already taken control of all of Afghanistan’s border crossings, leaving the Kabul Airport as the only route out of the country.
Taliban insurgents have launched an offensive on Kabul, having surrounded the Afghan capital, the country’s Interior Ministry announced on Sunday.
According to the ministry, the terrorists are entering the capital from all sides.
The Office of the President of Afghanistan has taken to Twitter to say that the country’s security and defence forces have the situation under control “in coordination with international partners”.
The tweet added that gunfire was heard in several remote areas of Kabul.
REUTERS / STRINGER
A military helicopter carrying Afghan President Ashraf Ghani prepares to land near the parliament in Kabul, Afghanistan August 2, 2021
A source told Sputnik that the Taliban had already taken control of Kabul University and raised the group’s flag in one of the city’s districts.
At the same time, the local TV reported that clashes between government forces and the militants continue in the Northern and Southern outskirts of the city, but didn’t reach the centre.
The Associated Press has cited officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorised to release the information, as saying there hadn’t been any fighting yet. The insurgents are said to be in the districts of Kalakan, Qarabagh, and Paghman.
Less than an hour ago, a member of the negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Matin Bek, urged people not to panic and claimed that the Afghan capital was safe.
The insurgent group issued a statement Sunday, claiming they have no plans to take the Afghan capital “by force”.
A Taliban official told Reuters “we don’t want a single innocent Afghan civilian to be injured or killed as we take charge, but we have not declared a ceasefire”.
Taliban fighters were instructed to stay at the gates of Kabul and take the capital by storm, as the insurgents are negotiating a “peaceful” transition, a spokesperson for the group claimed.
The statement added that the Taliban “does not intend to take revenge on anyone, all those who have served in the military and civilian sectors in the Kabul administration are forgiven and safe, no one will be retaliated against. All should stay in their own country, in their own place and home, and not try to leave the country”.
According to media reports and unconfirmed videos circulating on social media, the district of Bagram has surrendered to the Taliban.
Shortly before the Taliban entered Kabul, the Torkham border crossing with Pakistan, the last post still under the Afghan government’s control, fell to the terrorist group. Thus, the insurgents now control all of Afghanistan’s border crossings.
The insurgents took control of the key eastern city of Jalalabad on Sunday, just hours after seizing the northern bastion of Mazar-i-Sharif.
The United States, meanwhile, is sending more troops to the encircled capital to help evacuate its civilians and diplomatic staff as the risk of a Taliban takeover of Kabul becomes more clear. Earlier this week, US intelligence assessed Kabul could be isolated within 30 days and fall to the Taliban within 90 days.
The Taliban surge began back in May when American troops started pulling out from the country, to fulfil a peace agreement between the movement and Washington, signed in 2020. The militants boosted their presence in August, seizing over 20 provincial capitals and claiming they have taken full control of the country’s borders.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.