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Ashraf Ghani, close aides flee Afghanistan

Acting Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi said that the President has handed the authority of solving the crisis in the country to political leaders

Sunday August 15, 2021 7:54 PM, IANS

Ashraf Ghani Excapes

Kabul: Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has left the country after the Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday.

According to the sources, his close aides have also left the country along with him, Afghan media reported.

Earlier in the day, acting Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi said that the President has handed the authority of solving the crisis in the country to political leaders.

Mohammadi said that a delegation will travel to Doha on Monday for talks on the country's situation.

Also Read | Abdul Rashid Dostum, Atta Muhammad Noor flee to Uzbekistan

The delegation includes key political leaders, including Younus Qanooni, Ahmad Wali Massoud, Mohammad Mohaqiq among others.

Sources close to the Taliban said that it has been agreed that Ghani will resign after a political agreement and hand the power to a transitional government, reports said.

Afghans have said that they seek a political settlement and an end to the ongoing violence in the country.

Earlier, negotiations were on in the Afghan Presidential Palace to transfer power to the Taliban.

Head of High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah was said to be mediating the process, Afghan media reported.

"New Interim Government"

Sources have also said that Ali Ahamd Jalali will be appointed as head of the new interim government.

Meanwhile, Acting Ministers of Interior and Foreign Affairs, in separate video clips, assured Kabul's people were secure as they are protecting the city along with international allies.

Earlier, the Taliban, in a statement, assured residents of Kabul not to be afraid as they are not intended to enter the Afghan capital militarily and there will be a peaceful movement towards Kabul.

Also Read | In Kabul outskirts, Taliban negotiate for peaceful transition of power

The Taliban readied its forces on outskirts of the Afghan capital from all sides on Sunday as panicked civilians prepared for the armed group's takeover of Kabul nearly 20 years after relinquishing power in an American-led assault.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said fighters were remaining on the capital's outskirts as negotiations took place.

"Our forces have not entered Kabul city, and we just issued a statement saying that our forces will not enter Kabul city," Shaheen told Al Jazeera from Doha, where peace talks are taking place.

"We are talking and awaiting a peaceful transfer - a transition of the capital city."

Sirens could be heard along with sporadic gunfire in Kabul. Multiple helicopters were flying above the city centre dropping flares.

"No bloodshed"

The Taliban said it has no plans to take the Afghan capital "by force".

"Negotiations are under way to ensure that the transition process is completed safely and securely, without compromising the lives, property and honour of anyone, and without compromising the lives of Kabulis," a Taliban statement said.

"The Islamic Emirate instructs all its forces to stand at the gates of Kabul, not to try to enter the city," a spokesman for the Taliban tweeted, although some residents reported fighters peacefully entered some outer suburbs.

Panicked workers fled government offices. Thousands of civilians now live in parks and open spaces in Kabul itself, fearing the future.

"Peaceful Transfer of Power"

The chief of staff to President Ghani on Twitter urged the people of Kabul:

"Please don't worry. There is no problem. The situation of Kabul is under control."

Afghan Interior Minister Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal said there would be a "peaceful transfer of power" to a transitional government after the Taliban ordered its fighters to hold back from entering Kabul.

"The Afghan people should not worry… There will be no attack on the city and there will be a peaceful transfer of power to the transitional government," he said in a recorded speech.

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