No forceful takeover of Kabul, people are safe, say Taliban; demand peaceful surrender of capital
As Taliban fighters entered the outskirts of the Afghan capital on Sunday, the Taliban leadership claimed that the lives of the citizens of Kabul are safe as the insurgent group will not take the Afghan capital by force and negotiation with the government is on for a peaceful surrender of Kabul. A Taliban spokesperson has told Reuters that they are in talks with the Afghan government for a "peaceful surrender" of Kabul.
This comes a day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani addressed Afghan nationals and said the Afghan leadership is mobilising the army and the situation won't be allowed to escalate anymore. He said he was in talks with international leaders and after having back-to-back meetings on Saturday, it was decided that an authoritative team will negotiate a ceasefire and an interim set up with the Taliban leadership.
Taliban leaders engaged in talks with the government in Doha said fighters have been asked to stand at the entry points at Kabul. Afghan forces must stop gunfire and allow passage to all civilians and foreigners now, while the Taliban have not used force in Kabul, the Taliban leader told Reuters.
"We do not intend to take revenge on anyone. All those who have served the government and military will be forgiven," a spokesperson told Reuters. Citizens of Kabul do not need to panic, the Taliban spokesman said urging Afghan civilians to not leave the country due to fear.
The Taliban advancement in the capital was only a matter of time as the insurgent group reached near the capital on Saturday. Early on Sunday, Jalalabad, Afghanistan's last major city besides the capital not held by the militants, fell to the Taliban and militants posted photos online showing them in the governor’s office in Jalalabad. At around noon, the Afghan Presidential palace on Sunday said firing was heard at a number of points around Kabul, but the security forces were in control of the city. US officials said they were ferrying their diplomats from the embassy to the airport and more and more troops were being sent to aid the evacuation process.
(With agency inputs)