Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, along with his vice president and other senior officials, flew out of the country on Sunday, setting the stage for Taliban insurgents to regain power in Afghanistan 20 years after a U.S.-led military invasion ousted them. Top members of the Taliban military commission arrived at the presidential palace in Kabul as Taliban fighters took positions at key posts in the city. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed Sunday evening that the fighters were directed to guard security posts and other installations in Kabul to “prevent chaos and looting after Afghan forces abandoned them.” Mujahid urged the residents to remain calm, saying the move was meant to ensure the security of the people. There was no comment from Ghani. In a recorded message on Saturday, Ghani had told the nation he was consulting with both national and international players on the situation which he called an “imposed war.”Abdullah Abdullah, head of the Afghan National Reconciliation Council, posted a video on Facebook, criticizing Ghani. 1/3 Translaton of @DrabdullahCE’s message to Afghans: “I know you had a really bad day today and you spent a tough day. I ask you to stay calm. I ask National Security Forces to secure the city.— Ayesha Tanzeem (@atanzeem) August 15, 2021Abdullah confirmed that Ghani had left the country and said, “I feel the former president left the country and people in a bad position. God will make him accountable.”   My message to the people of AFGHANISNAN, to the security forces and to the Taliban:— Dr. Abdullah Abdullah (@DrabdullahCE) August 15, 2021Ghani’s whereabouts and destination are currently unknown. 
Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who is said to have accompanied Ghani and the others who left, in a tweet vowed not to bow to the Taliban, but he did not respond in the message to reports of him leaving the country.  I will never, ever & under no circumstances bow to d Talib terrorists. I will never betray d soul & legacy of my hero Ahmad Shah Masoud, the commander, the legend & the guide. I won’t dis-appoint millions who listened to me. I will never be under one ceiling with Taliban. NEVER.— Amrullah Saleh (@AmrullahSaleh2) Abdullah Abdullah, the Chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, arrives for Afghan peace talks in Doha, Qatar, Aug. 12, 2021.Under a deal reportedly reached, a delegation of Afghan leaders, including Abdullah, would travel to Qatar, where “the transfer of power to the Taliban” will formally take place, sources told VOA.Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, who is based in the group’s political office in the Qatari capital, Doha, said in a statement that insurgent fighters have been directed not to harm anyone or attack government and private properties during the course of military advances.Shaheen said “anyone found guilty would be prosecuted and severely punished” by the Taliban. He insisted the Islamist group has maintained from the outset that it wanted a “peaceful transition of power,” blaming the beleaguered Ghani government for “pushing ahead with the war option.”Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed Sunday evening that their fighters have been directed to enter parts of Kabul to guard security posts and other installations to “prevent chaos and looting after Afghan forces abandoned them.” Mujahid urged the residents to remain calm saying the move was meant to ensure security of the people.Earlier Sunday, the Taliban took over Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar province and the last major city outside the capital to have been under government control. Anti-missile decoy flares are deployed as U.S. Black Hawk military helicopters and a dirigible balloon fly over the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2021.The Taliban’s arrival at the gates of Kabul has embassies scrambling to get their personnel out.The U.S. is sending 1,000 troops, in addition to the 3,000 troops that were ordered last week, to help evacuate U.S. Embassy staff. Helicopters are reported ferrying staff to the Kabul airport.“We have conveyed to the Taliban representatives in Doha, via our Combatant Commander, that any action on their part on the ground in Afghanistan, that puts U.S. personnel or our mission at risk there, will be met with a swift and strong U.S. military response,” U.S. President Joe Biden said, according to a White House statement. 

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