Officials in Afghanistan’s beleaguered capital Kabul and the Taliban have both denied reports the insurgents have entered or attacked the city.
However, other reports say the Taliban have begun entering Kabul from all sides quoting Afghan government officials and eyewitnesses.
VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem, in Kabul said there was panic on the streets of the city as the news broke that the Taliban had entered the capital.
A VOA Afghan service reporter was in the passport office when everyone was told to leave immediately and go home.
Traffic on the streets of Kabul became crazy as people scrambled to get home or to their families. However, she reports that things are slowly getting back to normal, but there are massive traffic jams.
Afghanistan’s interior minister said in a video message that there will be a peaceful transfer of power to the Taliban. Abdul Satar Mirzakwal said Kabul is not under attack and will not be attacked and urged people not to pay attention to propaganda. He said a peaceful power transition will take place in Kabul under an agreement.
#Afghanistan’s interior minister @mirzakwal_satar releases video message saying #Kabul is not under attack nor will it be attacked and urged people not to pay attention to propaganda. He said a peaceful power transition will take place in Kabul under an agreement. pic.twitter.com/tUxyLjTI7d— Ayaz Gul (@AyazGul64) August 15, 2021
A top aide to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also urged people not to panic in a Tweet.
Matin Bek is a member of the negotiating team that has been meeting with the Taliban delegation in Doha.
A Taliban spokesman tweeted, "The Islamic Emirate instructs all its forces to stand at the gates of Kabul, not to try to enter the city,"
By early afternoon, Taliban spokesmen announced they were not entering Kabul forcefully and want a peaceful transfer of power.
They announced a general amnesty for all and said there will be no revenge killing.
A Taliban official told Reuters, “We don’t want a single, innocent Afghan civilian to be injured or killed as we take charge, but we have not declared a cease-fire."
U.S. helicopters are reported to have landed at the American Embassy in Kabul and are said to be evacuating staff to the Kabul airport.
The Associated Press says a Taliban official told it, “No one's life, property and dignity will be harmed and the lives of the citizens of Kabul will not be at risk.”
Some information for this report came from Reuters, and The Associated Press.