THE Taliban says it will declare an 'Islamic Emirate' and plans to reveal its regime "soon", after toppling Kabul in a dramatic scenes yesterday.

AFGHAN President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday after the Taliban entered the capital Kabul, before eventually taking over the Presidential Palace.

The leadership of the hardline group said hundreds of its heavily armed fighters have been told stand at entry points in Kabul.

"No one's life, property and dignity will be harmed and the lives of the citizens of Kabul will not be at risk," the Taliban said.

They also appeared to offer an amnesty for government forces and said they want a "peaceful transfer of power".

Read our Afghanistan live blog below for the latest news & updates…

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    FIVE DEAD IN STAMPEDE AT KABUL AIRPORT AS PEOPLE RUSH TO FLEE

    A stampede at Kabul Airport has left five people dead as thousands storm planes in a desperate bid to flee Afghanistan.

    In scenes echoing the sudden fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam war, petrified men, women and children were filmed trying to get on aircraft after the Taliban stormed the capital

    Desperate people were filmed trying climb up a ladder to get on a plane while others were seen being pulled on board another aircraft.

    At one stage, US troops guarding the airport were forced to fire shots into the air but it's unclear if those who died were hit them or crushed in a stampede.

    The U.S. embassy said in a security alert earlier on Sunday evening: "There are reports of the airport taking fire; therefore we are instructing U.S. citizens to shelter in place."

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    TALIBAN CLAIMS IT NOW CONTROLS CENTRES OF 11 DISTRICTS IN KABUL

    A Taliban spokesperson says the group are now in control 11 districts in Kabul,

    A spokesperson has said they now control the centres of 11 districts, after earlier claiming to have captured the presidential palace. 

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    BEN WALLACE: WE WILL DO OUR BEST TO GET EVERYONE OUT

    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told BBC Breakfast: "Myself and the Home Secretary have been working very hard to remove any other barriers, bureaucratic barriers that did stand in the way, such as the requirement to (have) Afghan passports, to make sure that if our people had passed our tests and our screening those Afghans can come in.

    "We're working to remove them literally as we speak, I spoke to her late last night and I'll speak to the Home Secretary later today to make sure that we can speed that up. We all recognise, we all see what we're seeing on telly, time is of the essence, every hour counts.

    "Our flights, our planning and coming in and out and soon if we manage to keep it in the way we're planning to we should have capacity for over 1,000 people a day to exit to the UK. Currently this is not about capacity on planes, it's about processing speed, so that's why we're trying to fix that."

    He added: "Our timescale which we'd originally planned which was August 31, will be out. We will try our very best to get everyone out, it's one of the biggest regrets of the speed of the collapse of the Afghan government is that those timetables will no doubt have to be shortened and that's what we're moving extra assets to do…

    "If we can manage to keep the airport running in the way we are putting in place our people to deliver then I'm confident that by the end of the month we could get everyone out and actually hopefully sooner. There will be some people left behind, we made that clear in the last few weeks, I'm not going to raise expectations."

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    THE TALIBAN ARE IN CHARGE NOW, ADMITS DEFENCE SECRETARY

    The Taliban are in control of Afghanistan and British and NATO forces will not be returning to fight the insurgents, Britain's defence minister said on Monday.

    "I acknowledge that the Taliban are in control of the country," Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News. "I mean, you don't have to be a political scientist to spot that's where we're at."

    Asked if Britain and NATO would return to Afghanistan, Wallace said: "That's not on the cards… we're going to go back"

    Wallace said the military side of Kabul airport was secure and that Britain was doing everything it could to evacuate British citizens and Afghans with links to Britain.

    "Our target is … about 1200 to 1500 exit a day in the capacity of our aeroplanes, and we'll keep that flow," he said.

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    IN PICTURES: BRITISH FORCES ARRIVE IN AFGHANISTAN

    The Mnistry of Defence has confrimed 16 Air Assault Brigade have arrived in Kabul.

    They are part of 600-strong UK-force sent to assist with Operation PITTING to rescue British nationals.

    House of Commons authorities have confirmed that Parliament will be recalled on Wednesday August 18 to discuss the worsening situation in Afghanistan

    Credit: PA
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    BORIS JOHNSON INTERVENES OVER VISAS FOR AFGHAN STUDENTS – REPORTS

    Boris Johnson has promised the government will try to help 35 Afghan students get visas to travel to the UK.

    It comes after they were blocked by the Foreign Office from taking up British scholarships this year, The Guardian reported late on Sunday.

    Johnson intervened to say efforts would be made to accelerate their visas amid fears among the students that their scholarships could make them targets of the Taliban, the report added.

    Taliban insurgents entered Kabul on Sunday and President Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed.

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    TYPE OF REGIME TO FOLLOW WILL BE CLEAR ‘SOON; SAYS TALIBAN POLITICAL OFFICE

    A spokesman for the Taliban’s political office, which is based in Doha, Qatar, has told Al Jazeera that the war in Afghanistan ‘is over’.

    He added that the type and form of regime that will follow will be clear “soon”.

    The spokesman said that safety will be provided for citizens and diplomatic missions. The group is ready to talk to “Afghan figures” and will guarantee them necessary protection too.

    “We don’t interfere with others’ affairs and we wont allow interference in our affairs”, he added.

    “We have reached what we were seeking, the freedom of our country and the independence of our people.”

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    MAPPED: THE TALIBAN’S STROLL TO KABUL

     

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    VIRGIN ATLANTIC REROUTING FLIGHTS TO AVOID AFGHANISTAN AIRSPACE

    Virgin Atlantic is rerouting flights to avoid Afghanistan’s airspace, it said on Sunday, joining British Airways which earlier announced a similar move, as Taliban insurgents entered Kabul

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    AFGHAN LEADER GHANI SAYS FLED COUNTRY TO PREVENT ‘FLOOD OF BLOODSHED

    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that he had fled the country on Sunday to “prevent a flood of bloodshed”, as the Taliban entered the capital, capping a lightning offensive across the country.

    Ghani, who did not say where he had gone, said he believed “countless patriots would be martyred and the city of Kabul would be destroyed” if he had stayed behind.

    “The Taliban have won… and are now responsible for the honour, property and self-preservation of their countrymen,” he said in a statement posted to Facebook.

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    BORIS JOHNSON ACKNOWLEDGES NEW GOVERNMENT IN AFGHANISTAN

    Acknowledging there will be a new government in Afghanistan, Boris Johnson has said: “I think it’s very important that the West collectively should work together to get over to that new government, the Taliban or anybody else, that nobody wants Afghanistan once again to be a breeding ground for terror.

    “And we don’t think it’s in the interests of the people of Afghanistan that it should lapse back into that pre-2001 state.”

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    TALIBAN CLAIMS IT NOW CONTROLS CENTRES OF 11 DISTRICTS IN KABUL

    A Taliban spokesperson says the group are now in control 11 districts in Kabul,

    A spokesperson has said they now control the centres of 11 districts, after earlier claiming to have captured the presidential palace.

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    LABOUR SAYS GOVERNMENT MUST LIVE UP TO OBLIGATIONS TO AFGHAN PEOPLE

    Labour has called on the Government to “live up to our obligations” to the Afghan people as Taliban fighters stood poised to take control of Kabul.

    Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds has written to Priti Patel saying that safe and legal asylum routes need to be put in place.

    In his letter to the Home Secretary he said: “The situation in Afghanistan is truly awful.

    “We must now live up to our obligations, especially to those Afghan people who worked so bravely with British representatives in Afghanistan.

    “Our resettlement scheme must, urgently, be expanded to ensure people to whom we owe a huge debt are not abandoned.”

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    JOHNSON CALLS COBRA MEETING AS AFGHANISTAN STANDS ON THE BRINK

    Boris Johnson has called a meeting of the Government Cobra emergencies committee as Taliban fighters stood poised to take control of the Afghan capital Kabul.

    Downing Street said ministers and senior officials would meet on Sunday afternoon to discuss the worsening situation.

    Earlier No 10 sources said that the Prime Minister would seek a recall of Parliament this week after insurgents entered the outskirts of Kabul.

    It came as Britain and other western countries were scrambling to get their remaining nationals out before it was too late.

    The lead elements of a 600-strong UK force – including Paras from 16 Air Assault Brigade – were understood to be in the capital to assist with the operation.

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    TALIBAN OFFICIALS SAYS THERE WILL BE ‘NO TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT IN AFGHANISTAN’

    Two Taliban officials told Reuters on Sunday there would be no transitional government in Afghanistan and that the group expects a complete handover of power.

    President Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan after Taliban fighters entered the capital Kabul earlier on Sunday, capping their return to power two decades after being forced out by U.S.-led forces.

    The government’s acting interior minister, Abdul Sattar Mirzakawal, had said that power would be handed over to a transitional administration.

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    CANADA SUSPENDS DIPLOMATIC OPERATIONS IN KABUL, PERSONNEL ON WAY HOME – MINISTRY

    Canada on Sunday said it was temporarily suspending its diplomatic operations in Kabul and that its personnel were on their way back home, according to a statement, as Taliban insurgents appeared within days of taking over the city.

    “The situation in Afghanistan is rapidly evolving and poses serious challenges to our ability to ensure the safety and security of our mission,” Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said in the statement. Canadian personnel “are now safely on their way back to Canada,” he added.

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    UAE AIRLINE TO SUSPEND FLIGHTS TO KABUL TODAY

    Flydubai has said it will be stopping flights to the Afghan capital from tomorrow after the Taliban entered the city.

    A return flight from Kabul to Dubai will operate today, but after this all services will be suspended until further notice.

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    AFGHANISTAN PRESIDENT ASHRAF GHANI ‘FLEES COUNTRY’ AFTER TALIBAN FIGHTERS STORM KABUL

    AFGHAN President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country after the Taliban entered the capital Kabul, a government official has said.

    The fanatics have been in talks with the Government in a bid to secure a peaceful transition and avoid bloodshed as they surrounded and then entered the city.

    Just a few days ago United States officials predicted it would 30 days for them to reach Kabul – and 90 to take the city – but they have swept all before them in a terrifying advance.

    Ghani has left Kabul for Tajikistan, a senior Afghan Interior Ministry official said on Sunday.

    A representative of the Taliban, which entered the capital Kabul earlier on Sunday, said the group was checking on Ghani’s whereabouts

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    DUTCH EMBASSY IN KABUL MOVED TO NEW LOCATION NEAR AIRPORT – FOREIGN MINISTRY

    The Netherlands has moved its embassy in Kabul to a location close to the city’s international airport as The Hague moves quickly to evacuate its remaining Afghan translators and local staff, a spokesman for the foreign ministry said on Sunday.

    Also on Sunday, the Dutch defence ministry said it had sent a military plane to Kabul as part of efforts to evacuate remaining personnel.

    The Dutch government says it will keep its Kabul embassy functions open as long as possible in light of the Taliban’s rapid advances.

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    'WAR IS OVER', SAYS TALIBAN

    A spokesman for the Taliban's political office, which is based in Doha, Qatar, has told Al Jazeera that the war in Afghanistan 'is over'.

    He added that the type and form of regime that will follow will be clear "soon".

    The spokesman said that safety will be provided for citizens and diplomatic missions.

    The group is ready to talk to "Afghan figures" and will guarantee them necessary protection too.

    "We don't interfere with others' affairs and we wont allow interference in our affairs", he added.

    "We have reached what we were seeking, the freedom of our country and the independence of our people."

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    MOMENT DIPLOMATS ESCAPE US EMBASSY IN HELICOPTER RESCUE AS TALIBAN FIGHTERS STORM KABUL

    TALIBAN insurgents entered Afghanistan’s capital Kabul today sparking a desperate evacuation of American diplomats by helicopter.

    In scenes echoing the sudden fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam war, a US Air Force chopper was seen taking off from the US Embassy this morning.

    Read more here.

     

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    US PULLING ALL STAFF OUT OF ITS EMBASSY IN KABUL

    All embassy staff will be pulled out from the capital within the next 72 hours, sources have told CNN. 

    But a group of top US officials will stay at Kabul airport for now. 

    The Taliban have said the airport will remain open for foreigners to leave if they wish.

    Meanwhile, US and UK troops have been sent in to help evacuate diplomats. 

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    MAPPED: THE TALIBAN’S STROLL TO KABUL

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    BORIS JOHNSON INTERVENES OVER VISAS FOR AFGHAN STUDENTS – REPORTS

    Boris Johnson has promised the government will try to help 35 Afghan students get visas to travel to the UK.

    It comes after they were blocked by the Foreign Office from taking up British scholarships this year, The Guardian reported late on Sunday.

    Johnson intervened to say efforts would be made to accelerate their visas amid fears among the students that their scholarships could make them targets of the Taliban, the report added.

    Taliban insurgents entered Kabul on Sunday and President Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed.

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    UN SECRETARY GENERAL URGES FOR TALIBAN TO SHOW RESTRAIN

    Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, is urging for the militants to show restraint.

    A spokesperson said he urged the "Taliban and all other parties to exercise utmost restraint in order to protect lives" and ensure humanitarian needs can be addressed.

    "[Mr Guterres] calls on the Taliban and all other parties to ensure that international humanitarian law and the rights and freedoms of all people are respected and protected," the spokesperson added.

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