Afghan President Ashraf Ghani flees Afghanistan as Taliban fighters enter Kabul, reports say
- Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has gone into exile, according to reports.
- Ghani and his team have left Afghanistan for Tajikistan, Reuters reported.
- The Taliban has now entered Kabul and expects to assume formal administrative control within hours.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his immediate team have left Afghanistan for Tajikistan, according to Afghan government sources speaking to several media outlets.
TOLO TV, a local TV network, first reported that Ghani, 72, had gone into exile.
Reuters later confirmed that he had fled the country and that the Taliban was checking in on his whereabouts, citing a senior Afghan interior ministry official and a Taliban representative.
Asked for comment, the president's office said it "cannot say anything about Ashraf Ghani's movement for security reasons."
-Ali M Latifi (@alibomaye) August 15, 2021
Vice-president Amrullah Saleh is also reported to have left, BBC News said.
In a Facebook post translated by Reuters, Ghani said the "Taliban have won the judgement of sword and guns and now they are responsible for protecting the countrymen's honor, wealth and self-esteem."
The exits come as the Taliban is on the brink of taking power following a rapid offensive that overran the country's US-trained forces just weeks after US troops pulled out of the country
The Taliban will declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace in Kabul, a Taliban official announced on Sunday.
Initially, the militant group's international media spokesperson, Suhail Shaheen, said that the group would remain on the outskirts of the city until transition talks reached their conclusion.
Photos and videos on social media show Kabul in gridlock as thousands of people try to get out of the city fearing a return to the Taliban's extremist rule.
The US and its allies entered Afghanistan 20 years ago to oust the Taliban following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C., claiming the militant government was giving a safe haven to mastermind Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terror network. Since its invasion in 2001, the US has invested almost $83 billion on training and arming Afghanistan's defense forces, according to Foreign Policy.
-Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) August 15, 2021
The Guardian said that shootings have been reported in several parts of Kabul.
A Taliban spokesman confirmed that Taliban fighters have entered the city in response to a "law and order issue," the paper reported.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, members of Congress, and top officials in President Joe Biden's administration -- Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, General Austin Miller, America's top general in Afghanistan, and General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- held a briefing on the matter Sunday morning, Insider has learned.
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