Ashraf Ghani, aides leave Afghanistan as Taliban enter Kabul

Media quoted sources close to the Taliban as saying that it has been agreed that Ghani will resign after a political agreement and hand the power to a transitional government

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani met a Taliban delegation at Presidential Palace earlier in the day.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani met a Taliban delegation at Presidential Palace earlier in the day.
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IANS

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has left the country after the Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday.

Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, has posted a video to Facebook confirming that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has left the country.

He has asked people to keep calm and for the Afghan security forces to cooperate in ensuring security.

Abdullah asked the Taliban to allow some time for talks before entering the city of Kabul. Taliban forces have been seen within the city but most insurgents remain massed in the city's outskirts, the Guardian reported.

Ghani has left for Tajikistan, a senior Afghan Interior Ministry official said.

Asked for comment, the President's office said it "cannot say anything about Ashraf Ghani's movement for security reasons".

A representative of the Taliban, which entered the capital Kabul earlier on Sunday, said the group was checking on Ghani's whereabouts.

Ghani has left the country after the Taliban entered the city on Sunday.

According to the sources, his close aides have also left the country along with him, Afghan media reported.

Earlier in the day, acting Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi said that the President has handed the authority of solving the crisis in the country to political leaders.

Mohammadi said that a delegation will travel to Doha on Monday for talks on the country's situation.

The delegation includes key political leaders, including Younus Qanooni, Ahmad Wali Massoud, Mohammad Mohaqiq among others.

People queued outside banks and foreign embassies for cash and visas
People queued outside banks and foreign embassies for cash and visas

Sources close to the Taliban said that it has been agreed that Ghani will resign after a political agreement and hand the power to a transitional government, reports said.

Afghans have said that they seek a political settlement and an end to the ongoing violence in the country.

Earlier, negotiations were on in the Afghan Presidential Palace to transfer power to the Taliban.

Head of High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah was said to be mediating the process, Afghan media reported.

Sources have also said that Ali Ahamd Jalali will be appointed as head of the new interim government.

Meanwhile, Acting Ministers of Interior and Foreign Affairs, in separate video clips, assured Kabul's people were secure as they are protecting the city along with international allies.

Ashraf Ghani, aides leave Afghanistan as Taliban enter Kabul

Earlier, the Taliban, in a statement, assured residents of Kabul no to be afraid as they are not intended to enter the Afghan capital militarily and there will be a peaceful movement towards Kabul.

The Taliban readied its forces on outskirts of the Afghan capital from all sides on Sunday as panicked civilians prepared for the armed group's takeover of Kabul nearly 20 years after relinquishing power in an American-led assault.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said fighters were remaining on the capital's outskirts as negotiations took place.

"Our forces have not entered Kabul city, and we just issued a statement saying that our forces will not enter Kabul city," Shaheen told Al Jazeera from Doha, where peace talks are taking place.

"We are talking and awaiting a peaceful transfer - a transition of the capital city."

Ashraf Ghani, aides leave Afghanistan as Taliban enter Kabul

Sirens could be heard along with sporadic gunfire in Kabul. Multiple helicopters were flying above the city centre dropping flares.

The Taliban said it has no plans to take the Afghan capital "by force".

"Negotiations are under way to ensure that the transition process is completed safely and securely, without compromising the lives, property and honour of anyone, and without compromising the lives of Kabulis," a Taliban statement said.

"The Islamic Emirate instructs all its forces to stand at the gates of Kabul, not to try to enter the city," a spokesman for the Taliban tweeted, although some residents reported fighters peacefully entered some outer suburbs.

Panicked workers fled government offices. Thousands of civilians now live in parks and open spaces in Kabul itself, fearing the future.

The chief of staff to President Ghani on Twitter urged the people of Kabul: "Please don't worry. There is no problem. The situation of Kabul is under control."

Afghan Interior Minister Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal said there would be a "peaceful transfer of power" to a transitional government after the Taliban ordered its fighters to hold back from entering Kabul.

"The Afghan people should not worry… There will be no attack on the city and there will be a peaceful transfer of power to the transitional government," he said in a recorded speech.

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