Afghanistan president leaves country as Taliban start entering Kabul: report
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani left the country on Sunday as the Taliban started entering the capital of Kabul, The Associated Press reported, citing two officials.
Ghani’s national security adviser and another close associate have also left the country, the news service reported.
“That’s it. It’s over,” a U.S. official told Fox News, referring to Ghani’s departure.
The development signals that a Taliban takeover of Kabul and the rest of the country is now imminent.
A spokesperson for the Taliban said they had entered the capital seeking a “peaceful surrender,” according to NBC News.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said members of the group would “be on standby on all entrances of Kabul until a peaceful and satisfactory transfer of power is agreed,” NBC News added.
The fighters coming into Kabul were not armed, a Taliban spokesperson told the network.
Among the Afghan government’s negotiators were former President Hamid Karzai and the head of the Afghan National Reconciliation Council, Abdullah Abdullah, the AP noted.
The Taliban have made a number of inroads in the country in recent days, including capturing several of its largest cities.
The insurgent group has captured almost all of the country over the course of a little more than a week, the AP noted, adding that the Taliban have captured a majority of the nation’s provincial capitals.
President Biden signaled on Saturday that the U.S. would deploy an additional 1,000 troops to the country to help draw down the U.S. Embassy as the insurgent group continued to pick up major gains.
–Updated at 10:45 a.m.