KABUL: The Taliban have begun entering the Afghan capital Kabul from all sides, the Afghan interior ministry said on Sunday, as U.S. and European Union staff sought safety.
“Core” U.S. team members were working from the Kabul airport, a U.S. official said, while a NATO official said several EU staff had moved to a safer, undisclosed location in the capital.
After its lightning advance on the capital, the Taliban group ordered its fighters to refrain violence, allow safe passage to anyone seeking to leave and request women to head to protected areas, said a Taliban leader in Doha.
Taliban took control of the key eastern Afghanistan city of Jalalabad without a fight on Sunday, leaving the territory controlled by the crumbling government to little more than the capital Kabul.
The United States was sending more troops to the encircled capital to help evacuate its civilians after the Taliban’s lightning advances brought the group to the door of Kabul in a matter of days. Just last week, a U.S. intelligence estimate said Kabul could hold out for at least three months.
The fall of Jalalabad has also given the Taliban control of a road leading to the Pakistan city of Peshawar, one of the main highways into landlocked Afghanistan.