Sun Aug 15th, 2021 at 10:31:56 AM EST
As smoke billows above US Embassy, diplomats and staff exit by CH-47 Chinook Helicopters ...
The Taliban has ordered its fighters to enter the Afghan capital Kabul to prevent looting after local police deserted their posts, a spokesman for the militant group said on Sunday.The statement by Zabihullah Mujahid came shortly after a leading Afghan peace envoy said President Ashraf Ghani had left the country for Tajikistan.
Ghani Resigns, Transfers Power to Taliban
Follow-up from earlier diary ...
Iraq War Crimes and Impending Loss of Kabul
Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger
Taliban enter Kabul, say they are 'awaiting a peaceful transfer' | Dawn News |
Acting Defense Minister Bismillah Khan sought to reassure the public in a video message.
"Authority has been given to a delegation that will be going to Doha (Qatar) tomorrow to reach an agreement on Afghanistan," he said. "I assure you about the security of Kabul."
Earlier, the insurgents also tried to calm residents of the capital.
"No one's life, property and dignity will be harmed and the lives of the citizens of Kabul will not be at risk," the insurgents said in a statement.
Despite the pledges, panic set in as many rushed to leave the country through the Kabul airport, the last route out of the country as the Taliban now hold every border crossing. Rapid shuttle flights of Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters near the embassy began a few hours later after the militants seized the nearby city of Jalalabad. Diplomatic armored SUVs could be seen leaving the area around the post.
The US State Department did not immediately respond to questions about the movements. However, wisps of smoke could be seen near the embassy's roof as diplomats urgently destroyed sensitive documents, according to two American military officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the situation. The smoke grew heavier over time in the area, home to other nations' embassies as well.
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, which typically carry armed troops, later landed near the embassy as well. At least one attack helicopter could be seen overhead as helicopters launched flares to distract possible missile fire. The US decided a few days ago to send in thousands of troops to help evacuate some personnel from its embassy.
Taliban Found Sanctuary In Quetta Pakistan
Afghanistan's Future | Dawn News - Editorial |
As the Afghan Taliban continue their blitzkrieg across their country, with key cities falling like ninepins, it is a foregone conclusion that the capture of Kabul -- and with it the control of Afghanistan -- is only a matter of time.
The international community must send a strong message to the Taliban: when they do take Kabul, if their country is used to host transnational terrorists, there will be consequences. After all, the Afghan Taliban have a working relationship with anti-Pakistan terrorists such as the banned TTP, and a major security nightmare may emerge if these malign actors are given an open field to operate. China has also communicated its concerns about Uyghur militant groups such as the ETIM, while Al Qaeda and IS too have a large footprint in Afghanistan. Therefore, if the Taliban do not wish to see a repeat of the events of Sept 2001, they must pledge to not allow territory under their control to be used by terrorist groups against any other state in the vicinity or further off.
Spokesperson Kirby at the Pentagon