From Sunday, the Taliban have been sweeping into Afghanistan’s capital after the government collapsed and the embattled president joined an exodus of his fellow citizens and foreigners, signaling the end of a costly two-decade U.S. campaign to remake the country.
Heavily armed Taliban fighters fanned out across the capital, and several entered Kabul’s abandoned presidential palace. Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman and negotiator, says that the militants will hold talks in the coming days aimed at forming an “open, inclusive Islamic government.”
A Taliban official said the group will announce from the palace the restoration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the formal name of the country under Taliban rule before the militants were ousted by U.S. led forces in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, which were orchestrated by al-Qaida while it was allegedly being sheltered by the Taliban.
In past 48 hours Kabul has been gripped by panic. Helicopters racing overhead throughout the day to evacuate personnel from the U.S. Embassy.