India is gearing up to evacuate hundreds of its officials and citizens from Kabul with the Taliban on the brink of seizing control of the Afghan capital.
Air India flight (with call sign AI-244) departed from the Kabul airport with 129 passengers at around 5.35 PM (Indian Standard Time) and landed in Delhi around 7.40 PM.
Afghanistan Crisis: Here are the top 10 events that unfolded in Kabul on Sunday as the Taliban continues its onslaught on the capital city.
Kabul: A series of events unfolded in Afghanistan on Sunday as the Taliban advanced to capture Kabul.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani stepped down from his post soon after Taliban forces occupied the outskirts of Kabul.
Ghani later fled to Tajikistan along with National Security Adviser Hamdullah Muhib and head of the administrative office of President Fazel Mahmood Fazli. Following Ghani’s exit, Taliban commanders took control of the presidential palace in Afghanistan.
The Taliban in an official statement said their forces would enter some parts of Kabul and occupy outposts that have been evacuated by security forces to “prevent looting and chaos”.
Meanwhile, panic gripped residents of Kabul as they were seen fleeing the capital. Long queues of cars were spotted as people tried to find a way out of the city.
Banks were running full-time as residents tried to withdraw their savings.
A Taliban official said the group will soon declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace in Kabul. Notably, that was the name of the country under the Taliban government ousted by US-led forces after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Afghan leaders have created a coordination council to meet with the Taliban and manage the transfer of the power, after the religious militia’s lightening offensive swept to the capital, Kabul.
The Taliban on Sunday captured Bagram Prison and freed inmates. The prison, located on Bagram air base, housed 5000 inmates with most of them being Taliban fighters. Bagram air base used to be the largest US military base in the country.
The Taliban wants a peaceful transfer of power in Afghanistan in “next few days”, AFP quoted a spokesperson of the armed group as saying. The Taliban had said its forces will not enter Kabul city as they had no plans to take the Afghan capital “by force”.
However, the Taliban took control of the Afghan Presidential Palace in Kabul after Ghani fled the country. They said their fighters were directed to enter Kabul city so that they prevent potential looting and chaos in the city.
Amid the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, British Airways has ordered pilots to avoid Afghan.
NATO said that it is helping to maintain operations at Kabul airport to keep Afghanistan connected with the world. In a statement, it said that it would also maintain its diplomatic presence in Kabul.
In a security alert, US Embassy in Kabul said, “The security situation in Kabul is changing quickly including at the airport. There are reports of the airport taking fire”.
The armed group’s takeover of Kabul comes nearly 20 years after relinquishing power in an American-led assault.