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15th Aug 2021

Taliban enter outskirts of Kabul in move to retake whole of Afghanistan

Danny Jones

The US embassy has already begun its evacuation

The Taliban have now entered the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, after facing “zero-resistance” and having now reclaimed most major cities in the country.

The group claim they have no plans to take the city “by force” and it has been confirmed that the Afghan president Ashraf Ghaniis in emergency talks with a US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation and other top NATO officials.

Reuters had also reported that Ghani’s government had already been in talks with the Taliban over “a peaceful surrender” of Kabul and had no intention of “taking revenge” on those serving in the Afghan government or military either.

The sweeping occupation of the country has been swift and the situation is developing rapidly. The resurgent Taliban presence outside the capital came just hours after the fall of the key eastern city of Jalalabad – an encroachment that also saw little resistance.

The rapid collapse of government forces has left Ghani under growing pressure to resign. The Taliban supreme leader and Islamic legal scholar, Haibatullah Akhundzada, has headed up the militant group since 2016 when his predecessor, Akhtar Mansour, was killed in a US drone strike near the Afghan-Pakistan border.

The US embassy is already being evacuated as forces continue to encircle the capital, with a repotted 5,000 troops deployed to help with the operation. A video below shows a plume of smoke that people are now speculating was caused by the burning of sensitive documents.

On the other hand, Russia’s embassy reportedly has no plans to evacuate, after Taliban leaders promised “no attacks” on neighbouring countries – this coming after they had already seized Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The Financial Times reported last month how Russia had sought to “forge ties” with Afghanistan after US troops left the territory after more than 20 years with detachments in the nation.

Many are also noting the current situation bears a striking resemblance to a photo taken in 1975 when the US evacuated its embassy in Vietnam following the war.

As well as the US embassy, Afgan civilians are also being forced to evacuate from Kabul and other major cities as the occupation continues to intensify.

Thousands have been displaced as a result of the militant group’s mobilisation and are now having to set up temporary camps outside major cities and towns.

Displaced Afghan's temporary camp

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