Afghan forces give up Bagram air base to Taliban


An Afghan official says forces at Bagram air base, residence to a jail housing 5,000 inmates, have surrendered to the Taliban.

Bagram district chief Darwaish Raufi mentioned Sunday that the give up handed the one-time American base over to the insurgents.

The jail housed each Taliban and Islamic State group fighters.

It got here because the Taliban entered the outskirts of Kabul.

Taliban fighters entered the outskirts of the Afghan capital on Sunday and mentioned they have been awaiting a “peaceable switch” of the town after promising to not take it by power, however panicked residents raced to the go away, with employees fleeing authorities places of work and helicopters touchdown on the U.S. Embassy.

In a nationwide offensive that has taken simply over per week, the Taliban has defeated, co-opted or despatched Afghan safety forces fleeing from broad swaths of the nation, though they’d some air assist from the U.S. navy.

On Sunday, they reached Kabul. Three Afghan officers instructed The Associated Press that the Taliban have been within the districts of Kalakan, Qarabagh and Paghman within the capital.

The lightning velocity of the push has shocked many and raised questions on why Afghan forces crumbled regardless of years of U.S. coaching and billions of {dollars} spent. Just days in the past, an American navy evaluation estimated it will be a month earlier than the capital would come beneath rebel strain.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen instructed Qatar’s Al-Jazeera English satellite tv for pc information channel that the insurgents are “awaiting a peaceable switch of Kabul metropolis.” He declined to supply specifics on any potential negotiations between his forces and the federal government.

But when pressed on what sort of settlement the Taliban wished, Shaheen acknowledged that they have been in search of an unconditional give up by the central authorities.

Taliban negotiators headed to the presidential palace Sunday to debate the switch, mentioned an Afghan official who spoke on situation of anonymity for worry of reprisals. It remained unclear when that switch would happen.

The negotiators on the federal government aspect included former President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, the top of the Afghan National Reconciliation Council, an official mentioned. Abdullah lengthy has been a vocal critic of President Ashraf Ghani, who lengthy refused giving up energy to get a take care of the Taliban.

The official, who spoke on situation of anonymity to debate particulars of the closed-doors negotiations, described them as “tense.”

Acting Defense Minister Bismillah Khan sought to reassure the general public in a video message.

“I guarantee you in regards to the safety of Kabul,” he mentioned.

Earlier, the insurgents additionally tried to calm residents of the capital.

“No one’s life, property and dignity will likely be harmed and the lives of the residents of Kabul is not going to be in danger,” the insurgents mentioned in a press release.

However, a voice message circulating social media purportedly from a Taliban commander additionally warned “nobody is allowed to enter into Kabul province.”

Despite the pledges, panic set in as many rushed to depart the nation by way of the Kabul airport, the final route overseas because the Taliban now maintain each border crossing. Rapid shuttle flights of Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters close to the embassy started just a few hours later after the militants seized the close by metropolis of Jalalabad. Diplomatic armored SUVs could possibly be seen leaving the realm across the submit.

The U.S. State Department didn’t instantly reply to questions in regards to the actions. However, wisps of smoke could possibly be seen close to the embassy’s roof as diplomats urgently destroyed delicate paperwork, in line with two American navy officers who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t approved to debate the scenario. The smoke grew heavier over time within the space, residence to different nation’s embassies as effectively.

Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, which generally carry armed troops, later landed close to the embassy as effectively. At least one assault helicopter could possibly be seen overhead as helicopters launched flares to distract potential missile fireplace. The U.S. determined just a few days in the past to ship in 1000’s of troops to assist evacuate some personnel from its embassy.

Thousands of civilians now dwell in parks and open areas in Kabul itself, fearing a Taliban authorities that would reimpose a brutal rule that every one however eradicated ladies’s rights. Some ATMs stopped distributing money as tons of gathered in entrance of personal banks, making an attempt to withdraw their life financial savings.

At Kabul International Airport, Afghan forces deserted the sector to Western militaries, mentioned a pilot who spoke on situation of anonymity to debate safety issues. An Afghan flight earlier landed on the airport from Kandahar loaded with troops who surrendered to the Taliban, even after taking shrapnel harm from a mortar assault, the pilot mentioned.

Ghani, who spoke to the nation Saturday for the primary time because the offensive started, seems more and more remoted as effectively. Warlords he negotiated with simply days earlier have surrendered to the Taliban or fled, leaving Ghani with no navy possibility. Ongoing negotiations in Qatar, the location of a Taliban workplace, even have didn’t cease the insurgents’ advance.

Jalalabad, Afghanistan’s final main metropolis in addition to the capital not held by the militants, fell to the Taliban earlier Sunday. Militants posted photographs on-line displaying them within the governor’s workplace in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province.

Abrarullah Murad, a lawmaker from the province instructed The Associated Press that the insurgents seized Jalalabad after elders negotiated the autumn of the federal government there. Murad mentioned there was no combating as the town surrendered.

The militants took additionally Maidan Shar, the capital of Maidan Wardak, on Sunday, just some 90 kilometers (55 miles) from Kabul, Afghan lawmaker Hamida Akbari and the Taliban mentioned. Another provincial capital in Khost additionally fell to the Taliban, mentioned a provincial council member who spoke on situation of anonymity for worry of reprisals.

The fall Saturday of Mazar-e-Sharif, the nation’s fourth largest metropolis, which Afghan forces and two highly effective former warlords had pledged to defend, handed the insurgents management over all of northern Afghanistan.

Atta Mohammad Noor and Abdul Rashid Dostum, two of the warlords Ghani tried to rally to his aspect days earlier, fled over the border into Uzbekistan on Saturday, mentioned officers near Dostum. They spoke on situation of anonymity as they weren’t approved to publicly discuss his actions.

Writing on Twitter, Noor alleged a “conspiracy” aided the autumn of the north to the Taliban, with out elaborating.

“Despite our agency resistance, sadly, all the federal government and the Afghan safety forces tools have been handed over to the Taliban because of an enormous organized and cowardly plot,” Noor wrote. “They had orchestrated the plot to lure Marshal Dostum and myself too, however they did not succeed.”

The Taliban additionally insisted their fighters would not enter individuals’s properties or intervene with companies. They additionally mentioned they’d supply an “amnesty” to those that labored with the Afghan authorities or overseas forces.

“The Islamic Emirate as soon as once more assures all its residents that it’ll, as at all times, shield their life, property and honor and create a peaceable and safe atmosphere for its beloved nation,” the militants mentioned. “In this regard, nobody ought to fear about their life.”

Despite the pledge, those that can afford a ticket have been flocking to Kabul International Airport, the one means overseas after the Taliban took the final border crossing nonetheless held by the federal government Sunday at Torkham. Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed instructed native broadcaster Geo TV that Pakistan halted cross-border visitors there after the militants seized it.



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