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Timeline: Taliban Takeover In Afghanistan

Channels Television  
Updated August 17, 2021
An image grab taken from Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television on August 16, 2021, shows Members of Taliban taking control of the presidential palace in Kabul after Afghanistan’s president flew out of the country.
AL JAZEERA / AFP

 

 

The main developments since Taliban fighters took Kabul, confirming their takeover of power in Afghanistan after a stunningly swift end to the country’s 20-year war.

– At the gates –

 

Taliban fighters sit over a vehicle on a street in Laghman province on August 15, 2021. AFP
Taliban fighters sit over a vehicle on a street in Laghman province on August 15, 2021.
AFP

 

On Sunday, Taliban fighters appear on the edge of Kabul after a lightning offensive that began in May as US and NATO troops began to withdraw.

In the space of 10 days, they seized city after city across the country without resistance.

– ‘Peaceful transfer’ –

 

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid (L) gestures as he arrives to hold the first press conference in Kabul on August 17, 2021 following the Taliban stunning takeover of Afghanistan.
Hoshang HASHIMI / AFP

 

“The Afghan people should not worry… there will be no attack on the city and there will be a peaceful transfer of power,” interior minister Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal says in a recorded speech.

Embattled President Ashraf Ghani urges government forces to maintain security in the capital.

A Qatar-based Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen says the group wants a swift takeover.

– Panic –

 

Afghan families walk by the aircrafts at the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan’s 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city’s airport trying to flee the group’s feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.
Wakil Kohsar / AFP

 

The international community is taken by surprise by the speed of the fall, with Pope Francis calling for “dialogue” and NATO urging “a political solution to the conflict”.

Russia works with other countries for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

Panic spreads through Kabul, with shops closing and people seeking to withdraw their money from banks.

Foreign countries organise the evacuation of their citizens and Afghans who have worked for them.

– President Ghani flees –

On Sunday evening, former vice president Abdullah Abdullah announces that president Ghani has left the country.

The Taliban then say their militants have entered multiple districts of the capital.

 

Taliban fighters stand guard at an entrance gate outside the Interior Ministry in Kabul on August 17, 2021. (Photo by Javed Tanveer / AFP)

 

– ‘The Taliban have won’ –

 

Taliban fighters stand guard along a roadside near the Zanbaq Square in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan’s 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city’s airport trying to flee the group’s feared hardline brand of Islamist rule. (Photo by Wakil Kohsar / AFP)

 

 

Television images show the Taliban have entered the capital and seized the presidential palace.

In a message on Facebook, Ghani says he has fled to avoid a “flood of bloodshed” and that the “Taliban have won”.

He does not give his location but the local Tolo media organisation suggests he is in Tajikistan.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urges the Taliban to “exercise utmost restraint”.

– Chaos at airport –

 

Afghan people climb atop a plane as they wait at the airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan’s 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city’s airport trying to flee the group’s feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.
Wakil Kohsar / AFP

 

People besiege the airport, the only exit route from the country, and chaos breaks out on the tarmac, carrying on into Monday as people try to board the few flights available.

US troops open fire, killing two armed men, the Pentagon says. All military and civilian flights are halted at Kabul airport.

– International ‘failure’ –

 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 20, 2016 Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (C) and British ambassador to Afghanistan Dominic Jermey (R) visit the British cemetery in the Afghan capital Kabul. 
MOHAMMAD ISMAIL / POOL / AFP

 

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson calls for G7 leaders to hold a virtual meeting “in the coming days”. Defence Minister Ben Wallace says the Taliban takeover is a “failure of the international community”.

The withdrawal of Western troops from Afghanistan is the “biggest debacle” that NATO has suffered since its founding, the head of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party Armin Laschet says.

China becomes the first country to say it is ready to deepen “friendly and cooperative” relations with Afghanistan, while the Russian foreign ministry says the situation in Kabul “is stabilising”.

 

– ‘Terrorism’ threat –

 

An image shot in Paris of a television screen shows French President Emmanuel Macron speaking on the situation in Afghanistan, from the Fort de Bregancon presidential summer residence at Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France on August 16, 2021. 
Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP

 

The UN Security Council says the international community must ensure Afghanistan does not become a breeding ground for terrorism under the Taliban, following an emergency meeting in New York.

French President Emmanuel Macron adds Afghanistan should not become again the “sanctuary of terrorism”.

– Biden defends exit –

 

WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 16: U.S. President Joe Biden gestures as he gives remarks on the worsening crisis in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House on August 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images/AFP
Anna Moneymaker / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

 

US President Joe Biden cuts short his vacation to address the nation.

Speaking from the White House he insists he has no regrets and emphasises US troops cannot defend a nation whose leaders “gave up and fled”.

“We gave them every chance to determine their own future. We could not provide them with the will to fight for that future,” Biden says.

 

– Back to work –

This handout picture provided by Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 17, 2021 shows Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani (R) meeting with the Taliban’s political office chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Doha.
QATARI MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS / AFP

 

The Taliban move quickly on Tuesday to restart Kabul, telling government staff to resume their duties “without any fear”. Some shops reopen and evacuation flights from Kabul’s airport restart.

 

– No forced returns –

The UN refugee agency says it has released a “non-return advisory” for Afghanistan, insisting no Afghan nationals should be forced to return to their conflict-torn nation.