(AFGHANISTAN) #Taliban Invasion Report: According to last estimate media reports the Taliban have taken 23 of 34 provincial capitals as US, U.K. and Australia move in transport planes to take out their citizens to safety #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.15: The #Taliban have begun entering the outskirts of the Afghan capital Kabul “from all sides”, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry….

#AceDailyNews says the Taliban began entering Afghan capital Kabul from all sides and three Afghan officials said they were in the districts of Kalakan, Qarabagh and Paghman in Kabul and it comes just hours after they took control of the key eastern Afghanistan city of Jalalabad without a fight: The insurgents now control 23 of 34 provincial capitals. What’s happening in Kabul? More than a quarter of a million people have been displaced by the fighting and many have sought refuge in Kabul.

In a pre-recorded TV address on Saturday, President Ashraf Ghani said a top priority was the remobilisation of the Afghan armed forces to prevent further destruction and displacement of people.The speech came amid speculation by some that Mr Ghani might have been about to announce his resignation.

Displaced Afghan women and children from Kunduz pray at a mosque that is sheltering them on August 13, 2021 in Kabul
Many Afghans who have fled the fighting have sought refuge in Kabul

The Taliban have moved closer to retaking full control of Afghanistan, with the capital Kabul now the only major city left in government hands: On Sunday the militants took control of Jalalabad, a key eastern city, without a fight.

It followed the seizure of the government’s northern bastion of Mazar-i-Sharif just a day earlier.

The rapid collapse of government forces has left President Ashraf Ghani under growing pressure to resign.

He appears to face a stark choice between surrender or a fight to hold the capital.

Meanwhile, the US has begun evacuating members of staff from its embassy in Kabul. On Sunday morning they were being taken to the airport where they have been seen boarding six large military transport planes. The US has deployed 5,000 troops to help with the operation.

President Joe Biden has defended his decision to escalate the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying he could not justify an “endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict”.

What happened in Jalalabad?

Reports on Sunday morning said the Taliban overran the city, the capital of Nangarhar province, without a shot being fired.

“There are no clashes taking place right now in Jalalabad because the governor has surrendered to the Taliban,” a local Afghan official told Reuters news agency.

“Allowing passage to the Taliban was the only way to save civilian lives.”

Journalist Tariq Ghazniwal tweeted images purportedly showing the provincial governor handing over control to the Taliban.

The capture of Jalalabad means the Taliban have secured the roads connecting the country with Pakistan.It came hours after Mazar-i-Sharif – the capital of Balkh province and fourth-largest city in Afghanistan – also fell largely without a fight.Abas Ebrahimzada, a lawmaker from Balkh, told the Associated Press news agency that the national army were the first to surrender, which then prompted pro-government forces and other militia to give up.

Some who had fled areas controlled by the Taliban said militants there were demanding families hand over unmarried girls and women to become wives for their fighters.Muzhda, 35, a single woman who fled from Parwan to Kabul with her two sisters, said she would take her own life rather than let the Taliban force her to marry.”I am crying day and night,” she told AFP news agency.

Women from Taliban-held areas have also described being forced to wear burkas – one-piece veils that cover the face and body – and militants are reported to have beaten people for breaking social rules.

President Ashraf Ghani: ”The reintegration of the security and defence forces is our priority””God forbid we will see war in Kabul,” city resident Sayed Akbar, 53, told the New York Times. “People here have gone through 40 years of sorrows. The roads on which we are walking are built on people’s bones.” One 17-year-old, named only as Abdullah, told AFP news agency that he and his family had fled the northern city of Kunduz after it was seized by the Taliban and were now sleeping under a tent in a Kabul park.He said he and other youths in Kunduz had been forced into carrying rocket-propelled grenades and other munitions for the militants.

AFPAfghan police are manning checkpoints in Kabul residents have formed long queues at banks trying to withdraw their savings. Some branches have reportedly already run out of money.

There were also reports of a riot at Pul-e-Charkhi prison on the outskirts of the capital, with local residents saying gunfire was heard from the facility.

A Taliban official told Reuters the group did not want any casualties as it took charge but had not declared a ceasefire.

The militants later pledged not to take the capital “by force” as sporadic gunfire could be heard in the capital.

US embassy personnel were evacuated by helicopter and are now working from Kabul airport.

Several EU staff have been moved to an undisclosed location in the capital, US officials said.

More American troops were being sent to help in the evacuations after the Taliban’s lightning advances brought the Islamist group to Kabul in a matter of days.

US officials said diplomats were being ferried to the airport from the embassy in the fortified Wazir Akbar Khan district.

A young middle eastern man in a blue traditional suit walks in middle of street with woman on motorbike behind.
The Taliban have taken control of the majority of Afghanistan’s cities.(AFP)

Just last week, a US intelligence estimate said Kabul could hold out for at least three months:

The capture of Jalalabad followed the Taliban’s seizure of the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif late on Saturday, also with little fighting.

A man in a white head wrap speaks at a podium.
President Ashraf Ghani vowed not to give up Afghanistan’s “achievements” of the last 20 years. (Reuters)

President Ashraf Ghani, who spoke to the nation on Saturday local time for the first time since the offensive began, appears increasingly isolated.

Warlords he negotiated with just days earlier have surrendered to the Taliban or fled, leaving Mr Ghani without a military option.

Ongoing negotiations in Qatar, the site of a Taliban office, also have failed to stop the insurgents’ advance.

US President Joe Biden on Saturday authorised the deployment of 5,000 troops to help evacuate citizens and ensure an “orderly and safe” drawdown of US military personnel.

In his speech, Mr Ghani vowed not to give up the “achievements” of the 20 years since the US-led invasion toppled the Taliban after the September 11 attacks.

“We have started consultations, inside the government with elders and political leaders, representatives of different levels of the community as well as our international allies,” Mr Ghani said.

“Soon the results will be shared with you,” he added, without elaborating further.

A beautiful golden mosque with blue domes can be seen at the centre of a paved square.
Mazar-i-Sharif is Afghanistan’s fourth largest city.(ABC News: Farshad Usyan )

Many Afghans fear a return to the Taliban’s oppressive rule under a harsh version of Islamic law in which women were forbidden to work or attend school.

The group had previously governed Afghanistan under a harsh version of Islamic law in which women were forbidden to work or attend school, and could not leave their homes without a male relative accompanying them.

Salima Mazari, one of the few female district governors in the country, expressed fears about a Taliban takeover during an interview from Mazar-e-Sharif before it fell.

“There will be no place for women,” Ms Mazari said.

“In the provinces controlled by the Taliban, no women exist there anymore, not even in the cities. They are all imprisoned in their homes.”

An Afghan woman and her child photographed in Jawzjan province.
There are concerns that Afghanistan’s women will have fewer rights in a return to Taliban rule.(ABC News: Sally Sara)

In a statement late on Saturday, however, the Taliban insisted its fighters would not enter people’s homes or interfere with businesses.

It also said it would offer an “amnesty” to those who worked with the Afghan government or foreign forces.

“The Islamic Emirate once again assures all its citizens that it will, as always, protect their life, property and honour, and create a peaceful and secure environment for its beloved nation,” the militants said.

“In this regard, no-one should worry about their life.”

Despite the pledge, those who can afford a ticket have been flocking to Kabul International Airport, the only way out of the country.

Wires/ABC/BBC/Reuters/AFP/

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Aug.15: 2021:

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