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Updated on: Sunday, August 15, 2021, 02:30 PM IST

Taliban enter Kabul, say won't take city 'by force' even as gunfire is reported - Story so far

ANI

ANI

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The Taliban has reportedly begun entering Afghanistan's capital from all sides. While some reports quoted the militants to suggest that they were converging at the gates of Kabul without entering, residents and officials say otherwise. As per an AP report, the Taliban have said that they don't plan to take Kabul 'by force', even as sporadic gunfire echoes through the Afghan capital.

According to an AFP update quoting an an insurgent spokesman, the Taliban fighters were ordered on Sunday to wait at the gates of Kabul and not enter the Afghan capital.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's government now appears to to be on the brink of losing control of the country. While Kabul remains the only major city outside of Taliban control now, the President appears to be facing a stark choice between surrendering to the Taliban or fighting to hold the capital. But even as time appears to have run out, it is not clear what the militant's next step will be.

"No one's life, property and dignity will be harmed and the lives of the citizens of Kabul will not be at risk," reports quoted the Taliban as saying. Three Afghan officials told The Associated Press that the Taliban were in the districts of Kalakan, Qarabagh and Paghman in the capital.

Even as tens of thousands flee the rapidly advancing insurgents, the options are dwindling. As of Sunday afternoon, the Taliban now holding all of Afghanistan's border crossings and has seized control of all major cities apart from Kabul. Presently the only way to leave the country is by flying out of the capital city.

The Taliban now amid their offensive across the country.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that the Taliban had taken the Torkham border crossing. He told local broadcaster Geo TV that Pakistan halted cross-border traffic there because of it. Torkham represented the last post still under government control.

Helicopters are landing at the US Embassy in Kabul as diplomatic vehicles leave the compound amid the Taliban advanced on the Afghan capital. The rapid shuttle runs by helicopters came Sunday as wisps of smoke rose from the embassy's roof. US officials previously said that diplomats inside had begun destroying sensitive documents.

Similar scenes can also be seen at other embassies and diplomatic offices in the city. The Indian embassy in Kabul is working overtime to issue visas to Afghan nationals heading out of the war-torn country, sources told ANI earlier today. Even as officials deal with a sudden spike in applicants for visas to India, the Indian administration has run flights from now-conquered cities to help citizens return to India.

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Published on: Sunday, August 15, 2021, 02:30 PM IST
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