Afghan interior ministry announces that the Taliban has entered the Afghan capital Kabul from all sides.
The Taliban said it has no plans to take the Afghan capital “by force”. The armed group issued the statement as its fighters moved to the outskirts of Kabul.
“Negotiations are under way to ensure that the transition process is completed safely and securely, without compromising the lives, property and honour of anyone, and without compromising the lives of Kabulis,” it said.
“The Islamic Emirate instructs all its forces to stand at the gates of Kabul, not to try to enter the city,” a spokesman for the Taliban tweeted, although some residents reported fighters peacefully entered some outer suburbs.
Panicked workers fled government offices. Thousands of civilians now live in parks and open spaces in Kabul itself, fearing the future.
The chief of staff to President Ashraf Ghani on Twitter urged the people of Kabul: “Please don’t worry. There is no problem. The situation of Kabul is under control.”
United States officials said diplomats were being ferried to the airport from the embassy in the fortified Wazir Akbar Khan district. More American troops were being sent to help in the evacuations.
The speed of the Taliban offensive has shocked many and raised questions about why Afghan forces crumbled despite years of US training and billions of dollars spent. Just days ago, an American military assessment estimated it would be a month before the capital would come under pressure.