Taliban push into Kabul as Afghan President flees the country

Taliban fighters have entered Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, the BBC reports.

The militants are on the brink of taking total control, after rapidly seizing territory as US-led forces withdrew after 20 years of operations.

The Taliban say they have entered a number of district centers in Kabul, and that it controls 11 of them.

A spokesman said they entered the districts to “ensure safety.”

This follows earlier claims from the Taliban that they had taken over the presidential palace in the city.

Thousands of Afghans have sought refuge in Kabul in recent weeks and there were scenes of panic in the city on Sunday.

A Taliban spokesman told the BBC there would be “no revenge” on Afghans.

Western countries have been scrambling to evacuate their citizens. The US sent military helicopters to transport staff from its heavily fortified embassy compound to the airport.

However, the US Embassy later said there were reports of gunfire at Kabul’s airport. It warned US citizens in the area to take shelter as “the security situation… is changing quickly”.

It is almost 20 years since the Islamist group was ousted by a US-led military coalition. Their advance across the country began months ago but has accelerated in the space of days.

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