Taliban militants seized the ancient Afghan Presidential Palace in Kabul yesterday after President Ashraf Ghani fled towards the Pakistani border to avoid being captured.
The fighters, who were seen posing for pictures in the palace, demanded a ‘peaceful transfer of power.’ They also said they would soon declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
The Taliban terror group said: ‘We don’t want a single, innocent Afghan civilian to be injured or killed as we take charge of Kabul, but we have not declared a ceasefire.’
Its leader, Mullah Baradar, who is based in Qatar, was said to be on his way to Afghanistan to take over the new interim government.
Associated Press and Mail0nline.com reported that thousands of Afghan nationals raced to Pakistan as the militants advanced to Kabul. This was shortly before the fall of Jalalabad where main highways to the Pakistan city of Peshawar pass through.
An Afghan official had earlier confirmed that Jalalabad was taken over by the Taliban without a fight when its governor surrendered, saying it was ‘the only way to save civilian lives.’’
United States helicopters were seen buzzing over Kabul and shielding American diplomats being evacuated from their embassy. This was after smoke rose near the compound.