Taliban triumph in Afghanistan
Taliban to declare: Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

Foreign embassies evacuating staff under fire as airport, sole remaining exit-route from Kabul, is attacked by fighters.

Y Rabinovitz , | updated: 10:39 PM

Taliban fighters in Afghanistan
Taliban fighters in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, has left the country for Uzbekistan, The Guardian reports, citing Al Jazeera, as the Taliban is poised to seize control over the capital city of Kabul following a stunning series of military successes over recent weeks.

On Monday morning at ten o'clock local time, the UN Security Council is planning to hold an emergency meeting in New York to discuss the situation.

As of Sunday evening, shooting is being reported in several parts of Kabul, according to eyewitness accounts and the country’s Interior Ministry, in contrast to earlier reports which stressed the relatively peaceful nature of the incursion. A local hospital reports dozens of wounded.

There is “pandemonium” at the airport, according to CNN’s reporter in Afghanistan, Clarissa Ward. The road to the airport is completely choked with traffic with local residents desperate to flee the country. Only military flights are being allowed to depart, and multiple countries are in the process of evacuating diplomatic staff and other nationals.

Meanwhile, a Taliban spokesman has confirmed that fighters have entered Kabul “in order to prevent looting, to preserve law and order and control the chaos.” Reports are already surfacing of billboards with pictures of women being whitewashed.

“The fact of the matter is, Afghan forces have been unable to defend the country,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. However, he added that, “This is not Saigon. The United States has succeeded in its mission to stop attacks on the US, and it is simply not in our interests to remain in Afghanistan.”

According to CNN, the US embassy has lists of people to be taken out of harm’s way. US embassy staff are currently being taken out of Kabul, headed for Kabul International Airport, which is now the only remained exit-route from the country. However, even the airport is now coming under fire.

The first evacuation flight from Kabul has already landed in Pakistan, and a second one is due to take off soon, completing the evacuation of around 500 diplomats and other civilians from various countries.

“I’m witnessing government forces put on plainclothes and walk away from their posts,” reported American journalist Matthieu Aikins. “Streets are peaceful, mostly empty,” he added, on Sunday morning; the situation has since deteriorated.

Meanwhile, countries are continuing to remove their diplomatic staff and other nationals, with the apparent exception of Russia – the Russian state news agency reports that the Taliban has promised to guarantee the safety of its embassy in Kabul.

“The security situation has deteriorated drastically,” reported the German foreign office. “The Germany embassy Kabul is closed as of 15 August.” Germany is sending military transport planes to the city to begin the evacuation of embassy staff.

A spokesman from NATO stated that the organization will be maintaining its diplomatic presence in Kabul, from the city’s airport.

According to an Afghan government negotiator, a delegation will be traveling to Qatar later on Sunday to meet with Taliban representatives, in order to discuss a “transition of power” that will reportedly also involve the United States.

The Russian news agency Interfax is reporting that Russia is “ready to cooperate” with the new interim government, which will be comprised of Taliban officials; however, the Russian Foreign Ministry has noted that Russia has yet to recognize the Taliban as the country’s lawful government.

Commenting on the developments, the chairman of the United Kingdom foreign affairs parliamentary committee has called the fall of Afghanistan, “The biggest single policy disaster since Suez.”