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Taliban says Afghanistan war is over as president flees to Tajikistan

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The Taliban have declared the war in Afghanistan over after its fighters swept into the capital, Kabul, and President Ashraf Ghani fled to Tajikistan.

According to Wall Street Journal, President Ghani, who fled the presidential palace and spent Sunday morning at the U.S. Embassy, left the Afghan capital in the afternoon.

Ghani did not appear publicly on Sunday. But on his Facebook page, he posted a message explaining that the Taliban had given him no choice but to depart the country. "In order to avoid a flood of blood, I thought it was best to get out," he said.

Taliban fighters took control of Kabul on Sunday, delivering the militant Islamist group the prize it has long sought: authority over all of Afghanistan as the Western-backed government collapsed, President Ashraf Ghani fled, and the long-dominant American presence appeared to be coming to an abrupt and chaotic end after nearly 20 years, the Washington Post reported adding:

"The takeover of the sprawling capital city had been years in the making, but was ultimately accomplished in a single day. Insurgent fighters, fresh off their conquests in each of Afghanistan's provincial hubs over the previous week, faced little to no resistance as they entered the city through its major traffic arteries Sunday morning."

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."

The Taliban sent squads of 15 armed men each to all government headquarters, embassies and diplomatic missions to protect them, and had set up checkpoints along the city's entrances and main streets, a Taliban leader told Al Jazeera.

Inside the vacated presidential palace, Al Jazeera broadcast a news briefing delivered by Taliban commanders flanked by fighters with assault weapons. The network quoted the fighters as saying they were working to secure Kabul so that leaders in Qatar and outside the capital could return safely.

Matt Zeller, a US veteran of the Afghan war, said some 44,000 Afghans who helped Washington during the 20-year conflict are outside of Kabul and require urgent evacuation. Zeller is co-founder of No One Left Behind, a non-profit group that helps Afghan interpreters settle in the US.

'It's shameful': Ex-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."

Taliban take over Torkham border with Pakistan

As the Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday, the administrative affairs of border crossings of Afghanistan with neighboring countries were took over by local commanders.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 
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