Taliban enter Kabul "from all sides" as US diplomats evacuated by helicopter 1 year ago

Taliban enter Kabul "from all sides" as US diplomats evacuated by helicopter

"Allowing passage to the Taliban was the only way to save civilian lives."

Taliban insurgents have entered the Afghanistan capital of Kabul on Sunday as the United States evacuated diplomats from its embassy via helicopter, an interior ministry official said.

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The senior official told Reuters the Taliban were coming in "from all sides" but gave no further details on the attack,

US officials said the diplomats were being ferried to the airport from the embassy in the fortified Wazir Akbar Khan district as more American troops were being sent to help with the evacuations.

The Taliban has been racing to complete its takeover of Afghanistan over recent days, however, just last week a US intelligence estimate said that the capital could hold out for three months at least.

A tweet from the Afghan Presidential palace account on Sunday said that the firing had been heard at a number of points around Kabul.

They added that security forces and international partners still had control of the city.

It comes as President Ashraf Ghani said in a video on Saturday that he was in urgent consultations in regards to the situation.

Earlier on Sunday, the insurgents captured the eastern city of Jalalabad without a fight, the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif and the nearby Torkham border post with Pakistan, leaving Kabul airport the only way out of Afghanistan that is still in government hands.

"There are no clashes taking place right now in Jalalabad because the governor has surrendered to the Taliban," a Jalalabad-based Afghan official told Reuters.

"Allowing passage to the Taliban was the only way to save civilian lives."

In a statement late on Saturday, the Taliban said its rapid gains showed it was accepted by the Afghan people and ensured the safety of both foreigners and Afghans - a number of whom have fled their homes to seek refuge in Kabul in recent days as hundreds slept in tents in the city on Saturday night.

Qatar, has been hosting peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in recent weeks. The country has urged insurgents to cease fire.

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