Taliban will announce Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, after president flees Kabul
U.S. scrambles to evacuate embassy as Taliban, government negotiate surrender during the stunning collapse of a two-decade American military campaign.
As Afghanistan descends into chaos, the Taliban announced on Sunday that they soon will declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The country went by that name under the previous Taiban regime.
The group will announce the news from the presidential palace in Kabul, according to the Associated Press.
With stunning speed, the Taliban broke through Kabul’s defenses on Sunday and entered the capital city to complete its takeover of Afghanistan after a 20-year American-led occupancy, forcing the country’s president to flee amid negotiations for a peaceful surrender.
U.S. military scrambled to evacuate its Embassy staff and capital city residents drained their bank accounts and sought to flee via airliners as a stunned Biden administration presided over the collapse of a two-decade U.S.-led effort to root out extremists and terrorists from Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the council appointed to lead peace talks, announced that President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan had fled the country amid chaos in the capital city.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Al-Jazeera his group’s leaders are “awaiting a peaceful transfer of Kabul city” but acknowledged the Taliban would be demanding the unconditional surrender of the Afghan government.
“No one’s life, property and dignity will be harmed and the lives of the citizens of Kabul will not be at risk,” the Taliban said in an official statement.
The Associated Press reported that the Taliban was negotiating at the presidential palace with government officials, including former President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the Afghan National Reconciliation Council.
Abdullah repeatedly criticized current President Ashraf Ghani for refusing to yield power to get a deal with the Taliban.
Sunday’s developments ended a one-week routing of Afghanistan by the Taliban, as U.S. and western force mounted little effort to turn back the extremist group’s insurgents as the Afghan army endured failure after failure.
US officials told CNN that they hoped to complete the evacuation of the embassy in Kabul within 72 hours, acknowledging to the TV network that the Biden administration had poor intelligence on what was really going on in the ground.
While offering a peaceful transition in the capital, the Taliban instilled fear in many other cities it took over the last week with reports of executions, forced marriages and violent public punishments mounting.