Taliban has taken control of Afghanistan’s presidential palace, two senior Taliban commanders present in Kabul told Reuters on Sunday, hours after the insurgents entered the Afghan capital Kabul even as diplomats and locals hurried to leave the country.
Both President Ashraf Ghani and his deputy, Vice-President Amarullah Saleh, left Afghanistan earlier on Sunday after the Taliban announced it was on the outskirts of the city and was negotiating a peaceful surrender with the Western-backed government.
There is no confirmation from the Afghan officials of the Taliban takeover.
The US Embassy said the capital’s airport, where diplomats, officials, and other Afghans had fled, had come under fire.
“The security situation in Kabul is changing quickly including at the airport. There are reports of the airport taking fire; therefore we are instructing US citizens to shelter in place,” a US Embassy security alert said.
Hundreds of Afghans, some of them government ministers and government employees and also other civilians including many women and children, crowded in the terminal desperately waiting for flights out.
“The airport is out of control… the (Afghan) government just sold us out,” said an official at the scene who declined to be named for security reasons.
American diplomats were evacuated from their embassy by helicopter to the airport as local Afghan forces, trained for years and equipped by the United States and others for billions of dollars, melted away.
The hardline Islamists have swiftly taken over the country, taking large swathes of land under its control since May this year.
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced a three-member coordination committee to discuss the transfer of power with the Taliban after Ghani fled the country.www. msn.com