Kabul, Aug 15 (EFE).- The Taliban have reached the outskirts of Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, where the Afghan government reported there have been shots heard, although the insurgents said they will not enter the city by force and are negotiating a peaceful transition of power.
“In several remote areas of Kabul shots have been heard. The country’s security forces, in cooperation with international partners, are controlling the security situation in Kabul,” said the office of the Afghan president on Twitter.
As the capital city is overtaken by panic, Afghan authorities have asked all public servants to abandon their positions and go home, while shops and banks close their doors and traffic jams prevent movement across the city.
After capturing a majority of the country, the Taliban issued a statement asking their fighters to not fight in Kabul and stand by the city’s entrance without attempting to enter by force.
“Because the capital Kabul is a large and densely populated city, the mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate (as the Taliban refer to themselves) have no intention to enter the city by force or fight, but rather to enter Kabul peacefully,” they said.
“Negotiations are underway to guarantee a safe transition of power, so as to not put at risk the lives, property or honour of Kabul residents.”
They insisted that security management of the city continues to be the responsibility of the Afghan government, and addressed citizens saying the Taliban have “no intention to take revenge on anyone,” including those who worked in the army, police, or public administration.
“They are forgiven and safe, no one will be a target of reprisals,” they said. “Everyone shall remain in their own country, their hometown, and not try to leave the country.”
The sweeping Taliban offensive has increased pressure on civilians in the capital to urgently leave the country as the insurgents come closer to capturing the city, especially for public servants, academics, journalists and collaborators of foreign armies sent to Afghanistan.
The United States government said in early August it was already processing some 20,000 visa applications from Afghan collaborators and their families, at least 50,000 more people.
The US is sending 4,000 soldiers to Kabul, a majority of which are expected to arrive Sunday, to handle the evacuation of US Embassy staff and Afghan citizens.
Other countries like Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain have announced the evacuation of their embassy staff and of Afghan citizens who worked with their armies in the past 20 years, and their families. EFE