REPORTS: Taliban Entering Kabul, Negotiating Peaceful Transfer to "Transitional" Government

AP Photo/Gulabuddin Amiri

Overnight Saturday Taliban forces entered the province of Kabul and, after announcing that the city of Kabul would not be taken by force and that those wishing to leave the city would be offered safe passage out, entered the city itself.

According to multiple news reports, Taliban forces are surrounding the city. Afghan Interior Minister Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal said in a recorded statement that there would be a “peaceful transfer of power” to a transitional government (a/k/a/ the Taliban):

“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.”

Al-Jazeera is reporting that a “senior official” tells them Taliban forces are entering the city “from all sides,” and their latest update says:

The Taliban have begun entering Kabul, Afghanistan’s interior ministry and the armed group said.

The development on Sunday came just hours after the group seized control of the key eastern city of Jalalabad, securing critical roads connecting the country to Pakistan.

A Taliban leader in Doha, which has been the site of years-long peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the group, said fighters on Sunday were ordered to refrain from violence and offer safe passage to those wishing to leave Kabul.

It is unclear whether the government of President Ashraf Ghani will mount a counteroffensive or capitulate.

It was rumored that Ghani had fled the country, but a source says that’s not true and that he simply spent the morning in the garden of the presidential palace with his wife.

A few hours ago, Chinook helicopters were seen in the skies of Kabul as US Embassy workers fled the building:

This is the moment US diplomats are seen being evacuated from Kabul just hours before Taliban forces stormed the Afghan capital.

In a stark scene mirroring that of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam war, a US Air Force helicopter was seen taking off from the US Embassy earlier today.

The Chinook helicopter was seen taking to the skies above the city – just like in 1975 when a US Marine helicopter was seen evacuating embassy staff from Vietnamese capital.

Smoke was also seen rising from near to the US embassy earlier today as security staff work to burn any important documents, including CIA information, or material that could be used ‘in propaganda efforts’. The US flag is soon expected to be lowered, signalling the official closure of the embassy.

Meanwhile, Russia has called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting on the matter, and the UK parliament will be recalled next week to discuss Afghanistan. And, Joe Biden is silent.