Taliban entering Kabul ‘from all sides’

Taliban entering Kabul ‘from all sides’

BY BBC NEWS,15TH,AUG,2021-Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani is holding emergency talks with US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and other top Nato officials, reports say.

The meetings are being held amid reports that the Taliban are at the gates of the capital Kabul.

In his first national address since the Taliban intensified their military campaign, Mr Ghani on Saturday said that the country was in “serious danger”.

He added that steps were being taken to boost Afghanistan’s security and defence forces. However, all reports so far have indicated that the militants met little resistance as they began walking into Kabul.

The militants’ presence outside the capital came hours after the fall of the key eastern city of Jalalabad – also with little resistance.

On Sunday the militants took control of Jalalabad, a key eastern city, without a fight.

It followed the seizure of the government’s northern bastion of Mazar-i-Sharif just a day earlier.

The rapid collapse of government forces has left President Ashraf Ghani under growing pressure to resign.

He appears to face a stark choice between surrender or a fight to hold the capital.

Meanwhile, the US has begun evacuating members of staff from its embassy in Kabul. On Sunday morning they were being taken to the airport where they have been seen boarding six large military transport planes. The US has deployed 5,000 troops to help with the operation.

President Joe Biden has defended his decision to escalate the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying he could not justify an “endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict”.

Reports on Sunday morning said the Taliban overran the city, the capital of Nangarhar province, without a shot being fired.

“There are no clashes taking place right now in Jalalabad because the governor has surrendered to the Taliban,” a local Afghan official told Reuters news agency.

“Allowing passage to the Taliban was the only way to save civilian lives.”

The capture of Jalalabad means the Taliban have secured the roads connecting the country with Pakistan.

It came hours after Mazar-i-Sharif – the capital of Balkh province and fourth-largest city in Afghanistan – also fell largely without a fight.

Abas Ebrahimzada, a lawmaker from Balkh, told the Associated Press news agency that the national army were the first to surrender, which then prompted pro-government forces and other militia to give up.

The insurgents now control 23 of 34 provincial capitals

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