The Taliban have declared the war in Afghanistan over after its fighters swept into the capital, Kabul, and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed.
There was panic on the streets of Kabul on Monday as heavily armed Taliban fighters took control of the abandoned presidential palace and Western nations scrambled to evacuate their citizens. Hundreds of Afghans desperate to leave the country also flooded the Kabul airport.
A spokesman for Taliban’s political office told Al Jazeera the group did not want to live in isolation and said the type and form of the new government in Afghanistan would be made clear soon.
Mohammad Naeem also called for peaceful international relations.
“Thanks to God, the war is over in the country,” he said.
“We have reached what we were seeking, which is the freedom of our country and the independence of our people,” he added. “We will not allow anyone to use our lands to target anyone, and we do not want to harm others.”
Here are all the latest updates:
40 mins ago (01:28 GMT)
More than 60 countries call for safe departure of foreign nationals and Afghans
Dozens of countries from around the world are calling on all involved in events in Afghanistan to respect and facilitate the departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country.
More than 60 nations released a joint statement on Sunday night citing what they call “the deteriorating security situation” in Afghanistan.
The United States joins the international community in affirming that Afghans and international citizens who wish to depart must be allowed to do so. Roads, airports, and border crossing must remain open, and calm must be maintained. https://t.co/lsNdsPETsW
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) August 16, 2021
The statement says that those in power and authority across the country “bear responsibility – and accountability – for the protection of human life and property, and for the immediate restoration of security and civil order.”
It added: “Afghans and international citizens who wish to depart must be allowed to do so; roads, airports and border crossing must remain open, and calm must be maintained.
“The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity. We in the international community stand ready to assist them.”
55 mins ago (01:13 GMT)
Taliban says ‘war is over in Afghanistan’
A spokesman for Taliban’s political office declared the war over in Afghanistan and called for peaceful relations with the international community.
“Today is a great day for the Afghan people and the mujahideen. They have witnessed the fruits of their efforts and their sacrifices for 20 years,” Mohammad Naeem, the spokesman for the Taliban’s political office, told Al Jazeera.
“Thanks to God, the war is over in the country.”
Naeem said the type and form of the new regime in Afghanistan would be made clear soon, adding the Taliban did not want to live in isolation and calling for peaceful international relations.
“We have reached what we were seeking, which is the freedom of our country and the independence of our people,” he said. “We will not allow anyone to use our lands to target anyone, and we do not want to harm others.”
2 hours ago (00:33 GMT)
US to secure Kabul airport for departures
The Pentagon and the US Department of State said they are taking steps to secure Kabul’s international airport to enable the safe departure of thousands of US and allied personnel from Afghanistan via civilian and military flights.
In a joint statement Sunday night, the agencies said the US security presence will have expanded to nearly 6,000 troops over the next two days, with a “mission focused solely on facilitating” the departures. They will also take over air traffic control.
“Tomorrow and over the coming days, we will be transferring out of the country thousands of American citizens who have been resident in Afghanistan, as well as locally employed staff of the US mission in Kabul and their families and other particularly vulnerable Afghan nationals,” the statement said.
“And we will accelerate the evacuation of thousands of Afghans eligible for US Special Immigrant Visas, nearly 2,000 of whom have already arrived in the United States over the past two weeks.”
3 hours ago (22:48 GMT)
‘It’s shameful’: Ex-Ghani adviser slams president’s departure
Shafiq Hamdam, a former adviser to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, slammed Ghani’s decision to flee Afghanistan on Sunday amid the Taliban’s rapid advance on Kabul.
“It’s shameful. It’s embarrassing. People feel abandoned, people feel betrayed,” Hamdam told Al Jazeera from Washington, DC.
“After so many years of effort and so many years of investment, he has put a black dark mark in the history of democracy in Afghanistan. He himself escaped with his team and he didn’t have a second thought about the millions of people who live in misery, who live in uncertainty, and who are now left behind, living under Taliban regime.”
Hamdam said the Taliban need to prove they will protect women.
“From tomorrow on, we have to see women going to schools, we have to see women civil servants and teachers, like my mother going to school and teaching. That’s what I want and that’s what the world wants. And that’s a test for the Taliban. To prove if they have changed or not.”
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
For all the key developments from yesterday, August 15, go here.