Live: Taliban seize Kabul as Afghan government collapses
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that he had fled the country on Sunday to "prevent a flood of bloodshed", as the Taliban entered the capital, capping a lightning offensive across the country. Doze…

 

A US Chinook helicopter flies over Kabul on Sunday, August 15, as Western nations scramble to evacuate their nationals in the Afghan capital. © Rahmat Gul, AP Text by: FRANCE 24 Follow 2 min

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that he had fled the country on Sunday to "prevent a flood of bloodshed", as the Taliban entered the capital, capping a lightning offensive across the country. Dozens of Taliban fighters were seen declaring victory from the Afghan presidential palace in images broadcast on television late on Sunday. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments. 

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said after fleeing the country that the Taliban had won, as the militants entered Kabul – nearly 20 years after they were ousted from power by a US-led invasion. Dozens of Taliban fighters declared victory over the Afghan government from inside the presidential palace in images broadcast on television.

• Taliban fighters were initially ordered to wait on the outskirts of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Sunday as the government conceded it was preparing for a “transfer of power”. They eventually entered the city and seized the presidential palace.

• The Taliban's imminent takeover triggered fear and panic in Kabul among residents fearful of the group's hardline brand of Islam. Many streets in Kabul were jammed with cars and people trying to get home or to the airport, residents said. Police were taking off their uniforms and putting on shalwar kameez, said one resident, referring to traditional South Asian clothing.

• Amid scenes of panic, Afghans and foreigners alike raced for the exit, signaling the end of a 20-year Western experiment aimed at remaking Afghanistan. Several Western embassy staff in Kabul were moved Sunday to the airport. Chaos has been unfolding at the airport as hundreds of people on the tarmac tried to catch flights out of the country.

​​​​​​• Russia, on the other hand, is not planning to evacuate its embassy in Kabul, as it is one of the countries that have received guarantees from the Taliban regarding the safety of their diplomats. 

 

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