Tensions in Afghanistan have reached a breaking point as the Taliban has reached the country’s capital of Kabul and President Ashraf Ghani has fled to Tajikistan.
According to CNN, the U.S. flag has been lowered at the embassy in the country, signaling the final step in its evacuation, as diplomats and US representatives have all been brought to the Kabul airport are being told to “shelter in place.” Meanwhile, the Taliban are reportedly preparing to declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace in Kabul.
CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward explained that the capital’s streets are silent as the military group asks Afghan civilians to stay in their homes.
“That may be because the Taliban spokesperson actually announced that people should stay in their homes,” Ward explained. “He urged everyone not to go out, saying that that would only contribute to a sense of chaos, that the Taliban is trying to keep this as peaceful as possible. And as far as we can hear, people are certainly adhering to that advice, staying at home, staying hunkered down.”
Footage from inside the presidential palace showed Taliban soldiers rolling up the Afghan flag as they occupied the main offices of the building.
Ward also cites that tomorrow will be a key indicator of what Kabul falling under Taliban control will look like. The Taliban has officially taken control of the presidential palace in Kabul. A spokesperson for the group released a statement saying that they don’t plan to “bother anyone.”
“Our forces are quietly entering the city, they won’t bother anyone, government employees both civilian and military should be assured that no one will harm them, no Mujahid is allowed to enter people’s houses, or hurt or bother anyone,” they said.
As night fell on Afghanistan, CNN international security editor Nick Paton Walsh also noted in his live shot that the Taliban looks to have complete control over the city.
At Kabul airport on Monday, Afghan civilians who were trying to flee the country could be seen clinging to a US C-17 plane as it attempted to take off
Disturbing video showed Afghans falling from the plane as it flew away from the Kabul airport.
Per Al Jazeera, at least five people were reported dead after the chaos at Kabul airport.