TEHRAN (Iran News) – The Taliban have issued a statement saying they have instructed their fighters to “stay at the gates of Kabul and not enter the city.
The statement said until the transition takes place, the Afghan government is responsible for the security of Kabul.”
It added, “We don’t want a single, innocent Afghan civilian to be injured or killed as we take charge but we have not declared a ceasefire.”
“Taliban fighters instructed to stay at the gates of Kabul and not enter the city. Until the transition takes place, the Afghan government is responsible for the security of Kabul,” a Taliban spokesman, Bilal Sarwary, tweeted.
A Taliban leader in Doha has told Reuters that Taliban fighters have been asked to stand at entry points in Kabul and that their forces are not responsible for any deaths or injuries in the Afghan capital.
They also called on Afghan forces to cease gunfire and allow for safe passage through the city for all civilians and foreigners.
CNN’s international correspondent Clarissa Ward says there will be 24/7 evacuations in an effort to get everybody out of the U.S. embassy before Tuesday, including Afghan employees.
It remains to be seen whether they will have that long as it “becomes increasingly clear” that the Afghan government will not be able to defend Kabul.
She says there is “a very real potential” for clashes between the Taliban and the roughly 5,000 U.S. forces personnel either in or on their way to Kabul.
The Associated Press have now confirmed that Taliban have entered the outskirts of the capital, Kabul.
The Taliban fighters were in the districts of Kalakan, Qarabagh and Paghman.
The BBC World News anchor and correspondent, Yalda Hakim, reports the Taliban are facing “zero-resistance” in the city center of Kabul.
However, in New York, UN special envoy for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons questioned the Taliban’s commitment to a political settlement, telling the UN Security Council the war had entered a deadlier and more destructive phase “reminiscent of Syria, recently, or Sarajevo, in the not-so-distant past”.
According to Reuters, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the prospect of Afghanistan slipping into full-scale and protracted civil war “is a stark reality”.