The Taliban, who have rampaged across Afghanistan in recent days and earlier on Sunday entered the capital, Kabul, are on the verge of declaring that they have taken control of the country.
It was learnt that the country would now be the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, according to Press Association reports citing a Taliban official.
The declaration is expected to be made from the presidential palace in Kabul following the departure of Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, earlier, who apparently fled, initially to Tajikistan. His current location is unconfirmed.
Senior Taliban commanders announced within the last two hours that they had taken control of the palace, according to news wire reports. More details and further confirmation are awaited, the Guardian UK reports.
Civilians fearing that the Taliban could impose a brutal rule had been rushing to leave the country, lining up at cash machines to withdraw their life savings.
The desperately poor – who had left homes in the countryside for the hoped-for safety in the capital – remained in their thousands in parks and open spaces throughout the city.
In a stunning route, the Taliban has captured 26 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals since August 6, despite the billions of dollars spent by the US and NATO over nearly 20 years to build up Afghan security forces.