The situation in the capital is not very clear. Explosions and gunfire were heard in several places in the city, but the Afghan government claimed this afternoon that no large-scale fighting had broken out.
An aid organization has taken 40 injured people to a hospital in Kabul, according to reports on social media. The patients are said to have been wounded in the fighting in the Karabakh region, about 100 kilometers from Kabul.
The US embassy reported that the capital’s airport had been bombed. US citizens have been urged to hide and not to come to the embassy or airport.
NATO President Stoltenberg said the airport would remain open and that NATO forces would ensure security. All commercial flights have been canceled to make way for the evacuation of military aircraft. The Taliban say they are not going to seize the airport.
Western countries hastily evacuated their embassies in the Afghan capital. For example, the American flag was lowered at the embassy and most of the staff left.
Until three days ago, the US State Department insisted there would be no evacuation. The Netherlands has already evacuated the embassy in Kabul last night and moved it to a location near the airport.
The government is powerless
The big question now is whether there will be a transitional government. Two Taliban officials told Reuters news agency that they would not accept such an interim government. The Taliban want to transfer power completely to them. “It seems the government can’t do much about it,” says reporter Aletta Andre.
Members of the partially fled Afghan government said that talks on forming an interim government will be held tomorrow in Qatar.
In April, the United States announced that it would withdraw all of its forces from Afghanistan by September 1. Then the Taliban, who were in power before the 2001 invasion, launched a major offensive.
Things have moved quickly in recent weeks: the group’s fighters have rapidly regained control of the country’s main cities and now appear to be in control of Kabul as well.
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