WATCH: Chaotic scenes at Kabul airport as thousands try to flee after Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan

·4-min read

The Taliban insurgents swept into Afghanistan's capital on Sunday after the government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani joined fellow citizens and foreigners to leave the country. The Kabul international airport, which is closed to all commercial flights, reportedly is the only exit point for people leaving Afghanistan.

Over 60 countries including the US, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Canada urged ‘all parties’ to safeguard the departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the war-torn country, and said that roads, airports and border crossing must remain open.

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The embattled Afghanistan President has said he left Kabul to avoid bloodshed and a 'big human disaster' in the city of six million people, urging the Taliban to reveal their intentions and reassure the people who are unsure about their future.

Ghani in his first comments after he left Afghanistan said on Sunday he was faced with a 'hard choice' between the 'armed Taliban' who wanted to enter the Presidential Palace or 'leaving the dear country that I dedicated my life to protecting the past 20 years'.

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Ghani said the Taliban insurgents are now facing a new historical test of either to protect the name and honour of Afghanistan or prioritising other places and networks.

He said that to win legitimacy and the hearts of people who are in fear and unsure of their future, it is necessary for the Taliban to assure all people, nations, different sectors, sisters, and women of Afghanistan.

An academic and economist, Ghani is the 14th President of Afghanistan. He was first elected on September 20, 2014 and was re-elected in the September 28, 2019 presidential election.

The Taliban on Sunday seized the last major city outside of Kabul held by the country's central government, cutting off the Afghan capital to the east.

The collapse of Jalalabad leaves Afghanistan's central government in control of just Kabul and six other provincial capitals out of the country's 34.

Taliban insurgents began moving towards Kabul following the overnight collapse of the two remaining cities of Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad.

US President Joe Biden in April announced that all American troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11 this year, thus bringing to end the country's longest war, spanning across two decades.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, but following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, the brutal regime of the militant group came to end as they were removed from power by US-led forces in 2001.

The group, however, has been on the offensive in recent months and is now on the brink of seizing power again. They entered direct talks with the US in 2018, and in February 2020. The two sides struck a peace deal in Doha that committed the US to withdrawal and the Taliban to prevent attacks on US forces.

But in the year that followed, the Taliban continued to target Afghan security forces and civilians and advanced rapidly across the country.

WITH PTI INPUTS

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