Taliban enter Kabul from all sides

An Interior Ministry official said that Taliban fighters have entered the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The senior official told Reuters the Taliban were coming “from all sides” but gave no further details.

A tweet from the Afghan presidential palace account said that shooting was heard at a number of points around Kabul but that security forces, in coordination with international partners, took control of the city.

A Taliban official said the movement did not want casualties while in charge, but had not declared a ceasefire.

There was no immediate news on the situation from President Ashraf Ghani, who said on Saturday that he was urgently consulting with local leaders and international partners on the situation.

The United States evacuated diplomats from its embassy by helicopter, and officials said more troops were sent to help with the evacuations after the Taliban’s rapid advance brought the Islamist group to Kabul within days. Just last week, a US intelligence estimate reported that Kabul could hold out for at least three months.

A US official said members of the “core” US team were operating from Kabul airport, while a NATO official said many EU employees had moved to a safer, undisclosed location in the capital.

Earlier on Sunday, the rebels captured the eastern city of Jalalabad without a fight, giving them control of one of the main highways to landlocked Afghanistan. They also captured the nearby Torkham border post with Pakistan, leaving the Kabul airport the only way out of Afghanistan still in government hands.

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