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The entrance gate of the green zone is pictured after the evacuation in Kabul on August 15, 2021. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Taliban 'to Declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan From Kabul Presidential Palace'

The Taliban* has already taken control of all of Afghanistan's border crossings, leaving the Kabul Airport as the only route out of the country.
Taliban insurgents have launched an offensive on Kabul, having surrounded the Afghan capital, the country's Interior Ministry announced on Sunday.
According to the ministry, the terrorists are entering the capital from all sides.
The Office of the President of Afghanistan has taken to Twitter to say that the country's security and defence forces have the situation under control "in coordination with international partners".
The tweet added that gunfire was heard in several remote areas of Kabul.
© REUTERS / STRINGERA military helicopter carrying Afghan President Ashraf Ghani prepares to land near the parliament in Kabul, Afghanistan August 2, 2021
A military helicopter carrying Afghan President Ashraf Ghani prepares to land near the parliament in Kabul, Afghanistan August 2, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
A military helicopter carrying Afghan President Ashraf Ghani prepares to land near the parliament in Kabul, Afghanistan August 2, 2021
A source told Sputnik that the Taliban had already taken control of Kabul University and raised the group's flag in one of the city's districts.
At the same time, the local TV reported that clashes between government forces and the militants continue in the Northern and Southern outskirts of the city, but didn't reach the centre.
The Associated Press has cited officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorised to release the information, as saying there hadn't been any fighting yet. The insurgents are said to be in the districts of Kalakan, Qarabagh, and Paghman.
Less than an hour ago, a member of the negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Matin Bek, urged people not to panic and claimed that the Afghan capital was safe.
The insurgent group issued a statement Sunday, claiming they have no plans to take the Afghan capital "by force".
A Taliban official told Reuters "we don't want a single innocent Afghan civilian to be injured or killed as we take charge, but we have not declared a ceasefire".
Taliban fighters were instructed to stay at the gates of Kabul and take the capital by storm, as the insurgents are negotiating a "peaceful" transition, a spokesperson for the group claimed.
The statement added that the Taliban "does not intend to take revenge on anyone, all those who have served in the military and civilian sectors in the Kabul administration are forgiven and safe, no one will be retaliated against. All should stay in their own country, in their own place and home, and not try to leave the country".
According to media reports and unconfirmed videos circulating on social media, the district of Bagram has surrendered to the Taliban.
Shortly before the Taliban entered Kabul, the Torkham border crossing with Pakistan, the last post still under the Afghan government's control, fell to the terrorist group. Thus, the insurgents now control all of Afghanistan's border crossings.
The insurgents took control of the key eastern city of Jalalabad on Sunday, just hours after seizing the northern bastion of Mazar-i-Sharif.
The United States, meanwhile, is sending more troops to the encircled capital to help evacuate its civilians and diplomatic staff as the risk of a Taliban takeover of Kabul becomes more clear. Earlier this week, US intelligence assessed Kabul could be isolated within 30 days and fall to the Taliban within 90 days.
The Taliban surge began back in May when American troops started pulling out from the country, to fulfil a peace agreement between the movement and Washington, signed in 2020. The militants boosted their presence in August, seizing over 20 provincial capitals and claiming they have taken full control of the country's borders.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.
Table of contents
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03:24 GMT 16.08.2021

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said early on Monday that the country would deploy personnel and a military plane to help with evacuation of its 53 citizens and about 37 Afghan nationals, who worked alongside the New Zealand Defense Force.

03:21 GMT 16.08.2021
A Canadian Armed Forces CC-150 Polaris aircraft carrying Afghan refugees who supported Canada’s mission in Afghanistan arrives at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada August 13, 2021. Picture taken August 13, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920
Over 60 Nations Say Foreigners, Afghans Willing to Leave Must Be Able to Do That Safely
03:11 GMT 16.08.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The international airport of Kabul has resumed commercial flights suspended over the seizure of the city by the Taliban Islamist movement (banned in Russia), Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told Sputnik.

"U.S. Forces have now assumed responsibilities for air traffic control at the airport, supported by Afghan counterparts. Commercial traffic continues, though it has experienced some sporadic stoppages and delay," Kirby said on late Sunday.

03:05 GMT 16.08.2021

The evacuation of German citizens from Afghanistan has begun, with some staffers from the German Embassy in Kabul arriving at the Qatari capital city of Doha on a US aircraft in early Monday, DPA reported.

02:43 GMT 16.08.2021
Screenshot from a video allegedly showing a crowd of people rushing to the Kabul international airport as gunshots are heard - Sputnik International, 1920
Video: People Reportedly Rushing Toward Kabul Airport As Gunshots Are Heard
01:56 GMT 16.08.2021

US State Department announced on late Sunday that all staffers from the US embassy in Kabul have been evacuated to the airport.

“We can confirm that the safe evacuation of all Embassy personnel is now complete. All Embassy personnel are located on the premises of Hamid Karzai International Airport, whose perimeter is secured by the US Military", State Department's spokesman Ned Price said.

01:43 GMT 16.08.2021

United Airlines said on late Sunday that it will be re-routing some of its flights to avoid Afghanistan airspace.

"Due to the dynamic nature of the situation we have begun routing affected flights around Afghanistan airspace," the company's spokeswoman said, cited by Reuters.

01:33 GMT 16.08.2021

The majority of the Western diplomats have left the Afghan capital, Reuters reported Sunday, citing a US official.

"I can safely say the majority of Western diplomatic staff is out of Kabul now," the official told Reuters, noting that some support staff remained.

00:50 GMT 16.08.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Senior officials of the Taliban Islamist movement (banned in Russia) told The Times that the organization wanted absolute power in Afghanistan.

The officials dismissed media reports about the Taliban's plans to create a transitional government that would oversee the transfer of power in the country.

“We did not fight to share power with anyone,” one of the officials said.

22:48 GMT 15.08.2021
Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Taliban Declare 'End to War That Erupted 20 Years Ago' in Afghanistan
22:34 GMT 15.08.2021
U.S. President Joe Biden meets virtually with governors, mayors, and other state and local elected officials to discuss the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 11, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Trump Urges Biden to 'Resign in Disgrace' as Taliban Declare 'End to War' in Afghanistan
22:29 GMT 15.08.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that he had discussed the "dramatic situation" in Kabul with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

On Sunday, the Taliban entered Kabul, after which President Ashraf Ghani announced resignation and left the country. Ghani said his decision was dictated by the desire to prevent violence as the militants were ready to carry out an attack on the capital.

"Today in the evening, I phoned my counterpart, Secretary of State Blinken to discuss the dramatic situation in Kabul. We are comprehensively mobilized to ensure safe and quick evacuation of our citizens and representative of the Afghan civil society, who are facing a threat over their activities," Le Drian wrote on his Twitter page on late Sunday.

21:13 GMT 15.08.2021

US President Joe Biden is expected to address the nation in "the next few days" about the situation in Afghanistan, CNN reported Sunday, citing an administration official.

20:52 GMT 15.08.2021

CAIRO (Sputnik) -The personal bodyguard of ex-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who stepped down to prevent further violence, confirmed to Al Jazeera that Ghani flew to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.

"Ghani, his wife, the director of his office and the national security adviser flew to Tashkent," the bodyguard said.

In addition, a senior source in Oman refuted Afghan media reports claiming that Ghani had arrived in Oman.

20:50 GMT 15.08.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - European Council President Charles Michel emphasized that safety of EU citizens in Afghanistan is a priority and also expressed the belief lessons should be drawn from the current developments.

"In close contact with [EU foreign policy chief] @JosepBorrellF and following developments in #Afghanistan. Security of EU citizens, staff and their families is priority in short term. Equally clear that many lessons will need to be drawn," Michel wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

20:50 GMT 15.08.2021
This picture taken on August 14, 2021 shows aircrafts standing on the tarmac of the airport in Kabul. - Sputnik International, 1920
Shooting Reportedly Occurs Near Kabul Airport in Afghanistan
20:44 GMT 15.08.2021
Screenshot from a video of a White House vaccination ad campaign that involved a TikTok influencer - Sputnik International, 1920
'Intern in Charge of Mid East Policy': Donald Trump Jr Mocks WH Influencer Ad Amid Taliban Takeover
20:33 GMT 15.08.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling on the Taliban (terrorist group, banned in Russia) and all the other parties in Afghanistan to respect human rights and freedoms, and exercise restrain to save lives and facilitate humanitarian assistance, Guterres' office said on Sunday.

"The Secretary-General is following with deep concern the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan. He urges the Taliban and all other parties to exercise utmost restraint in order to protect lives and ensure that humanitarian needs can be addressed ...He calls on the Taliban and all other parties to ensure that international humanitarian law and the rights and freedoms of all people are respected and protected," the UN chief's office said in a statement.

20:31 GMT 15.08.2021

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani arrived in the Uzbek capital city of Tashkent on Sunday, according to an Al Jazeera report.

19:44 GMT 15.08.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Taliban (terrorist group, banned in Russia) seized control over the state television in Kabul, Аl Arabiya reported on Sunday.

In their televised address, the Taliban called on Afghans to remain calm.

19:40 GMT 15.08.2021

ZURICH (Sputnik) - Switzerland has started to prepare for the evacuation of its diplomatic personnel from Afghanistan amid a deteriorating security situation in the capital, Kabul, spokesperson of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Elisa Raggi, told Sputnik.

On Sunday, the Taliban (a terrorist group, banned in Russia) entered Kabul to negotiate the transfer of power with the government of President Ashraf Ghani, who then stepped down and left the country. Ghani said his decision was dictated by the desire to prevent violence as the militants were ready to carry out an attack on the capital.

Raggi told Sputnik that the Swiss Cooperation Office in Kabul has been temporarily closed amid the deteriorating security situation in the Afghan capital.

"Preparatory evacuation work is underway for the safety of Swiss and local staff," the FDFA spokesperson said.

19:29 GMT 15.08.2021

An unverified photo showing the Taliban flag raised over the presidential palace in the Afghan capital went viral on social media on Sunday.

Some users, however, alleged that the picture was fake.

19:24 GMT 15.08.2021

The US Department of Defense authorized an additional 1,000 troops to assist with the evacuation of US personnel from Afghanistan, bringing the total number of American troops expected to be in the country to 6,000, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing a US official.

19:20 GMT 15.08.2021

A tweet by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs reads: "Kingdom evacuates members of its diplomatic mission in Kabul."

19:19 GMT 15.08.2021
19:07 GMT 15.08.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Taliban (terrorist group, banned in Russia) control all the districts of the Afghan capital of Kabul, Ariana News broadcaster reported on Sunday, citing Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

Mujahid said that overnight patrolling of the city will be launched soon.

19:01 GMT 15.08.2021

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The overall situation in the Afghan capital remains calm after the Taliban reached Kabul, even though there is sporadic shooting, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ramiz Alakbarov told Sputnik.

On Sunday, the Taliban (a terrorist group, banned in Russia) entered Kabul to negotiate the transfer of power with the government of President Ashraf Ghani, who then stepped down and left the country. Ghani said his decision was dictated by the desire to prevent violence as the militants were ready to carry out an attack on the capital.

"Right now I do not hear any signs of active hostilities in the part of Kabul where I am currently located, no active shooting. Sporadic shooting can be heard, but overall, it’s relatively calm," Alakbarov told Sputnik over the phone from the Afghan capital.

18:44 GMT 15.08.2021
18:28 GMT 15.08.2021
18:21 GMT 15.08.2021
18:18 GMT 15.08.2021
FILE PHOTO: Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan December 7, 2015. Ghani confirmed on Monday that he would travel to Pakistan for a regional conference on Afghanistan, in a sign of fresh efforts to reduce tension between the two neighbouring countries.  REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo - Sputnik International, 1920
Afghan President Ghani Claims He Resigned to Prevent Bloodshed as 'Taliban Sought to Attack Kabul'
18:18 GMT 15.08.2021
An Afghan security personnel keeps watch on a tower as the Afghan national flag flutters ahead of the start of Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani's swearing-in inauguration ceremony, at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on March 9, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920
Two Powerful Explosions Reported Near US Embassy, Presidential Palace in Kabul
18:00 GMT 15.08.2021
17:56 GMT 15.08.2021
17:55 GMT 15.08.2021
17:54 GMT 15.08.2021
17:31 GMT 15.08.2021
17:30 GMT 15.08.2021

CAIRO (Sputnik) - The United Arab Emirates airline Flydubai has told Sputnik on Sunday that the flights to Kabul will be suspended from now on after the Taliban entered the Afghan capital.

"Flydubai temporarily suspends flights to Kabul. We will keep monitoring the situation and will review the plans in accordance with the directives of the authorities", the press office stated.

The Dutch KLM airline will halt flights over Afghanistan due to the current situation, the national NOS broadcaster reported on Sunday.

17:29 GMT 15.08.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The US is concerned about the reports of the Taliban's (a terrorist organisation, banned in Russia) brutal treatment of the Afghan population, especially women and children, and urges the international community to protect their rights, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday.

"We are concerned about reports regarding the Taliban’s brutal treatment of all Afghans, especially women and girls. The U.S., the international community and the Afghan government must do everything we can to protect women and girls from inhumane treatment by the Taliban", she said.

Pelosi also warned the Taliban that "the world is watching its actions".

17:06 GMT 15.08.2021
16:57 GMT 15.08.2021

Acting Defence Minister Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi tweeted out a brief statement after President Ashraf Ghani and top officials had fledAfghanistan.

“They tied our hands behind our backs and sold the homeland, damn the rich man and his gang”.

16:49 GMT 15.08.2021
16:45 GMT 15.08.2021
RCAF military transport plane over Kabul - Sputnik International, 1920
UK PM Johnson Says US Decision to Withdraw Troops 'Has Accelerated Things in Afghanistan'
16:38 GMT 15.08.2021
16:38 GMT 15.08.2021

Boris Johnson has said that London is trying to get the rest of like-minded nations around the world to not prematurely recognise the new government in Kabul.

The British prime minister has stated that he has "means" to get UK citizens out of Afghanistan over the next few days.

16:29 GMT 15.08.2021
16:19 GMT 15.08.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh said on Sunday he would never have respect for the Taliban (a terrorist organisation, banned in Russia).

On Sunday, the Taliban entered Kabul to negotiate the transfer of power with the government of President Ashraf Ghani, who ostensibly stepped down and left the country. In the past weeks, the situation in Afghanistan drastically deteriorated as the movement overran major cities and provinces.

16:04 GMT 15.08.2021

According to the CNN, citing a defence official and US official familiar with the ongoing discussions, the US is considering deploying additional troops to Afghanistan in order to set up an air traffic control system at Kabul Airport and increase the number of evacuation flights from the airfield.

“We are going to ramp up flights”, the defence official said.

15:57 GMT 15.08.2021
This picture taken on August 14, 2021 shows an Ariana Afghan Airlines aircraft taking-off from the airport in Kabul. - Sputnik International, 1920
'Shelter in Place': US Embassy in Afghanistan Reports Kabul Airport 'Taking Fire' - Video
15:35 GMT 15.08.2021
15:32 GMT 15.08.2021

A Sputnik source confirmed that the Taliban had entered the presidential palace, as guards showed no resistance to the terrorist group.

15:30 GMT 15.08.2021
15:29 GMT 15.08.2021
15:21 GMT 15.08.2021
15:21 GMT 15.08.2021
Afghan's President Ashraf Ghani walks on stage to address US troops during a surprise Thanksgiving day visit of US President Donald Trump at Bagram Air Field, on November 28, 2019 in Afghanistan.  - Sputnik International, 1920
Video Showing President Ghani 'Board Plane to Flee Encircled Kabul' Emerges Online
15:08 GMT 15.08.2021
15:00 GMT 15.08.2021
14:50 GMT 15.08.2021
14:38 GMT 15.08.2021
14:24 GMT 15.08.2021
14:09 GMT 15.08.2021
Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a function at the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul on August 4, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920
President Ghani 'Stepped Down, Left the Country', Top Afghan Official Claims - Video
14:07 GMT 15.08.2021
14:05 GMT 15.08.2021
14:02 GMT 15.08.2021
13:52 GMT 15.08.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Canada decided on Sunday to temporarily close its diplomatic mission in Kabul amid the critical situation in Afghanistan, the government said.

"The situation in Afghanistan is rapidly evolving and poses serious challenges to our ability to ensure the safety and security of our mission. After consulting with Canada’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, the decision was made to temporarily suspend our diplomatic operations in Kabul", the government said in a statement.

It added that the embassy staffers were now on their way to Canada.

"The Canadian embassy will resume its operations as soon as the security situation in Afghanistan allows us to guarantee appropriate service and adequate security for our staff. Our ongoing work to bring Afghans to safety in Canada under the Special Immigration Measures will continue and will remain a top priority", the statement read.

13:52 GMT 15.08.2021
13:23 GMT 15.08.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has left the country, the TOLOnews broadcaster reported on Sunday, citing sources.

Earlier in the day, the Taliban (a terrorist group banned in Russia) took control of all key Afghan provinces, border crossings and surrounded the capital city of Kabul.

The militants are said to be holding negotiations with the government on the peaceful transition of power. During the talks, Ghani reportedly agreed to step down.

13:21 GMT 15.08.2021
13:16 GMT 15.08.2021
General Austin Scott Miller, commander of U.S. forces and NATO's Resolute Support Mission, hands over his command to U.S. Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, during a ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan July 12, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
'This is Not Saigon': Blinken Insists US' Afghanistan Mission Was a 'Success'
13:09 GMT 15.08.2021
13:00 GMT 15.08.2021

"Dear brothers and sisters, I join in the unanimous concern for the situation in Afghanistan. I ask all of you to pray with me to the God of peace so that the clamour of weapons might cease and solutions can be found at the table of dialogue. Only thus can the battered population of that country – men, women, elderly and children – return to their own homes, and live in peace and security, in total mutual respect", Pope Francis told believers at the weekly Angelus prayer.

12:38 GMT 15.08.2021
12:26 GMT 15.08.2021
Taliban militants waving a Taliban flag on the back of a pickup truck drive past a crowded street at Pashtunistan Square area in Jalalabad, Afghanistan in this still image taken from social media video uploaded on August 15, 2021. Social media website/via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. - Sputnik International, 1920
Taliban Seizes Capital of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province Without a Fight, Source Says
12:25 GMT 15.08.2021
12:24 GMT 15.08.2021
12:23 GMT 15.08.2021

"The security situation has deteriorated drastically. The German embassy Kabul is closed as of Aug. 15", the foreign office in Berlin said on its website, calling on German citizens to leave Afghanistan.

12:20 GMT 15.08.2021
11:50 GMT 15.08.2021
11:17 GMT 15.08.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Several senior Afghan officials, including advisers to President Ashraf Ghani, have arrived at the Kabul airport to leave the country after the Taliban surrounded the capital, CNN reported, citing a source at the airport.

The officials are awaiting their departure in the VIP lounge. The destinations remain unknown.

11:11 GMT 15.08.2021
11:01 GMT 15.08.2021
10:59 GMT 15.08.2021
10:29 GMT 15.08.2021
10:12 GMT 15.08.2021

The base, which hosts up to 5,000 inmates (Taliban or Daesh militants*) has surrendered to Taliban forces, Bagram District Chief Darwaish Raufi told the press.

*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist organisation outlawed in Russia and many other countries

10:09 GMT 15.08.2021
10:08 GMT 15.08.2021
Members of the Taliban, left, drive with other motorists through city of Herat, Afghanistan, west of Kabul, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, after the province was taken from the Afghan government. (AP Photo/Hamed Sarfarazi) - Sputnik International, 1920
Watch: Massive Traffic Jam as Afghans Try to Flee Kabul Ahead of Imminent Taliban Takeover
09:49 GMT 15.08.2021
09:27 GMT 15.08.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Taliban vowed to ensure not only the Russian Embassy's security, but of all foreign diplomatic missions, Russian Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov told Sputnik on Sunday.

"We received such assurances long ago. But not only for Russia. They guarantee the safety of everyone," Kabulov said.

The diplomat added that Moscow was not going to evacuate the diplomatic personnel from Kabul.

"I am in contact with our ambassador, they are working and closely watching the development of events", he added.

09:26 GMT 15.08.2021
09:21 GMT 15.08.2021
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09:17 GMT 15.08.2021
09:09 GMT 15.08.2021
09:07 GMT 15.08.2021
09:03 GMT 15.08.2021
08:56 GMT 15.08.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is holding emergency talks with Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and senior NATO officials, media reported on Sunday.

Details are not provided.

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