On Sunday Taliban militants were ordered to enter Kabul, following earlier assurances by Taliban officials that they do not intend to take Afghanistan’s capital by force. The Taliban leaders than marched into Kabul as they prepare to take full control of Afghanistan, 20 years after they were removed by the U.S. military.
The militant group said it has occupied the presidential palace, and plans to soon declare a new “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.” The Taliban went on to tell Kabul residents that they should not fear these troops and that none would enter anyone’s homes or harass anyone.
Hamid Karzai, Afghan president from 2004 to 2014, said Sunday that that he, Abdullah and others would form a coordinating council to manage a peaceful transfer of power. The mechanism of such a handover was unclear given the Taliban’s occupation of all major cities and the government’s collapse.
According to several other reports as well as confirmation Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, embattled and American-backed President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country. Local media reported Ghani was bound for neighboring Tajikistan along with some close aides.
As the Taliban entered the capital, American troops scrambled to evacuate thousands of U.S. diplomats and Afghans from its embassy in Kabul.
The fall of Kabul on Sunday, August 15, 2021, marks the final chapter of America’s longest war, which began after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks masterminded by al-Qaida’s Osama bin Laden, then harbored by the Taliban government. A U.S.-led invasion forced the Taliban to retreat.
On July 8 President Joe Biden said, “The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.”
Biden stood by his decision to withdraw in a statement issued on Saturday: “One more year, or five more years, of U.S. military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country. And an endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me.”
Former President Trump had orchestrated a plan for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from overseas warzones during his tenure as a cornerstone of his foreign policy. As a private citizen, Trump’s comment in a statement Saturday night through his Save America PAC said, “He (Biden) ran out of Afghanistan instead of following the plan our Administration left for him, a plan that protected our people and our property, and ensured the Taliban would never dream of taking our Embassy or providing a base for new attacks against America. The withdrawal would be guided by facts on the ground.”
This is still a developing story, so check back for updates.