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Afghan president leaves country, Taliban controls capital Kabul

KABUL (Xinhua) -- Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani left the country on Sunday night, while the Taliban forces entered the capital of Kabul and took control of the presidential palace.
Ghani confirmed on his Facebook page late on Sunday that he has left the country, saying the move was to prevent bloodshed.

An Afghan man rides bicycle on a road in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, August 15, 2021.   --Photo Rahmatullah Alizadah

“If there were still countless countrymen martyred and they would face the destruction and destruction of Kabul city, the result would have been a big human disaster in the city,” Ghani said.
The Taliban is now responsible for protecting the honor and wealth of the Afghan people, adding that he will continue to serve the nation, he said.
Ghani did not mention his current location in the Facebook post. Media reports said he fled to Uzbekistan with his wife. A senior Interior Ministry official said earlier in the day that he was heading for Tajikistan, while a Foreign Ministry official said his destination remains unknown.
Meanwhile, the Taliban has assured that all the diplomatic missions and foreign citizens in Kabul will face no dangers. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said they are committed to ensuring security in the Afghan capital.
The Taliban forces entered Kabul city and took control of the presidential palace. The group has taken control of all the districts of Kabul, Taliban spokesman Mujahid said. Mujahid said that overnight patrolling of the city will be launched soon.
Media reports also said the group will soon declare the establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
A curfew has been imposed in Kabul starting 21:00 local time on Sunday to prevent violence.
Two powerful explosions occurred late on Sunday near the US embassy and the presidential palace in Kabul, media reports said, quoting eyewitnesses. A shooting started with the use of light and heavy weapons soon after the explosions, according to the reports.
The overall situation in the Afghan capital remains calm after the Taliban reached Kabul, even though there is sporadic shooting, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ramiz Alakbarov told Sputnik.
“Right now I do not hear any signs of active hostilities in the part of Kabul where I am currently located, no active shooting. Sporadic shooting can be heard, but overall, it’s relatively calm,” Alakbarov told Sputnik over the phone.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the BBC earlier in the day that he could confirm there were talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban about a peaceful takeover of power. Head of the High Council for the National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah was reportedly organising the negotiation.
Two Taliban officials told Reuters on Sunday that there would be no transitional government in Afghanistan and the group expects a complete handover of power from the Afghan government.
A Taliban spokesman said that the military group expects a peaceful transition of power “in the next few days.”


(Latest Update August 17, 2021)

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