Afghan president leaves country as Taliban fighters enter Kabul

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Photo taken on July 8, 2021 shows military vehicles abandoned by U.S. forces at the Bagram Airfield base after all U.S. and NATO forces evacuated in Parwan province, eastern Afghanistan. [Photo/Xinhua]

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has left his country before the Taliban ordered its members to enter the capital Kabul on Sunday.

After a local TV channel reported that Ghani had fled, Abdullah Abdullah, head of the Afghan High Council for the National Reconciliation, confirmed the news in a video on his Facebook page, calling Ghani "the former Afghan president."

Ghani will fly to Tajikistan and later head to a third country, privately owned Tajik news agency Asia-Plus later quoted an Afghan official named Sajad Nuristani as saying.

Outside Kabul, after encircling the city for hours and claiming to wait for a peaceful power transfer, the Taliban outfit ordered its members to enter the capital.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, tweeted that as the Kabul police abandoned district police stations, the Taliban would enter the city to provide security and ensure law and order.

No government official was available to comment.

Out of fear of chaos and violence following the Taliban's takeover, an increasing number of countries are rushing their mission staff and citizens out of Afghanistan.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday in an interview with ABC that U.S. personnel are being relocated from the embassy in Kabul to the airport "to ensure they can operate safely and securely."

Blinken said the U.S.-equipped Afghan security forces "proved incapable of defending the country, and that did happen more rapidly than we anticipated."

However, he rejected the comparison between the current pullout from Kabul and the evacuation from Saigon in 1975, claiming the United States had achieved its mission in the Afghan war.

Canada and Germany closed their embassies in Kabul on Sunday.

The Canadian government said in a statement that its personnel were "safely on their way back to Canada," and would resume the Canadian embassy's operations "as soon as the security situation in Afghanistan allows us to guarantee appropriate service and adequate security for our staff."

The German embassy in Kabul "urgently" advised German nationals to leave Afghanistan "as soon as possible" in a security advice on Thursday.

Britain's House of Commons will be recalled on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, it tweeted on Sunday.

Russian Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov declined any evacuation of the embassy in Kabul on Sunday, saying, "We have always stood for a transitional government, of course, we will work."

He added that Moscow does not yet recognize the Taliban as the legitimate authorities of Afghanistan.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that Russia is ready to work with the transitional government of Afghanistan.

The Foreign Ministry of Pakistan said in a statement on Sunday that the Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul is extending necessary assistance to Pakistanis, Afghan nationals and diplomatic and international community for consular work and coordination of Pakistan International Airlines flights.

Along with visiting Pakistani President Arif Alvi, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Istanbul that his country will work for stability in Afghanistan together with Pakistan in order to stem a growing migration wave from the embattled country, and called for an international effort to prevent mass migration.

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