The Taliban has entered the presidential palace in the capital city Kabul and is now in control of the entire country, according to a highly placed source. The group is soon expected to declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
A source familiar with the situation confirmed the high-ranking source’s report of the seizure of the presidential palace, which The Times of India has also reported.
President Ashraf Ghani left Kabul after stepping down from power on Sunday. Rumors of his resignation had been circulating since Friday, while fears of the Taliban attacking the capital were also high that night.
However, in a video message released on Saturday afternoon, Ghani didn’t announce his resignation but said negotiations were ongoing. The anonymous source told The Epoch Times that Ghani’s announcement meant he will not step down until the whole country surrenders or falls to the Taliban.
“All soldiers said their commanders, after receiving messages to surrender from Kabul decided to surrender,” said the anonymous source. It wasn’t however clear under what circumstances these orders were given, and this hasn’t been confirmed with additional sources.
“Two of the biggest army corps in west and north of Afghanistan surrendered without any resistance with all their armored vehicles. Each of them has over 10,000 personnel on their compounds,” said the anonymous source on Saturday night.
Kunar and Paktia provinces fell to the Taliban on Saturday and by Sunday morning there were many messages on social media about the Taliban coming to Kabul from different directions, as panic and uncertainty spread among the people in the capital. There were also rumors about a transitional government being formed.
By Sunday morning the Afghan media had started to report that two Taliban officials have told Reuters that they will take over power completely, and there’ll be no transitional government.
However, the Taliban in a statement in Pashtu released on the same day said that their fighters are ordered not to enter Kabul as they are “negotiating a peaceful transition of power” with the current government.
By Sunday night sources confirmed that the Taliban had entered the presidential palace and taken over Kabul and the country. They are soon to declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, sources said.
Pictures of Taliban inside the Presidential palace had started appearing on Afghan media as well as Al Jazeera by late Sunday night in Kabul.
There were social media messages of panic as pictures started appearing of people leaving homes and gathering around the airport to be under the U.S. army’s protection.
The whole situation leaves many unanswered questions.
Rajiv Dogra, a former Indian diplomat and the author of “Durand’s Curse,” a best-selling and critically acclaimed book about the division of Afghanistan by the British empire, told The Epoch Times by email that the last few days in Afghanistan have been bewildering.
“Taliban are rubbing their eyes in disbelief at the speed with which the Afghan forces crumbled. There is no doubt that post-mortem analysis will follow in the conference halls around the world. Many new theories will try to explain what happened,” said Dogra.
“But a ready and quick term to describe the events of last week would be, ‘Failure on all Fronts.’ Former President Ghani fled most non-heroically, leaving the Afghan people in a lurch.”
Just around the time reports of Ghani fleeing the country started appearing on social media, his Vice President Amrullah Saleh said in a message on Twitter that he’ll not “bow” before the Taliban.
“I will never, ever & under no circumstances bow to d Talib terrorists. I will never betray the soul & legacy of my hero Ahmad Shah Masoud, the commander, the legend & the guide. I won’t dis-appoint millions who listened to me. I will never be under one ceiling with the Taliban. NEVER,” he wrote. There are rumors of his fleeing but there are no clear reports.
Ghani posted a message in Facebook in which the former president said he fled the country to prevent bloodshed.
“Today I faced a difficult choice. If I had stayed in the citadel, the Taliban would have shown that they were ready to attack Kabul and its people to drive me away. If I had survived, countless patriots would have been martyred and Kabul would have been destroyed. I knew I had better go to prevent a flood of blood.”
The Biden administration is likely to evacuate most of its personnel to safety but Dogra said the United States has suffered an irreparable loss to its reputation as a global leader.
“The U.S. has suffered a major loss of reputation; perhaps far more so than its exit from Vietnam. Its plea with the Taliban for the safe exit of its embassy staff was a groveling surrender by the ‘Sole Superpower’ of the world to a force of terror.”