Taliban Fighters Enter Kabul As President Of Afghanistan Flees

The President of Afghanistan has fled his country as reports indicate Taliban fighters are seizing security checkpoints inside the capital city of Kabul.

What Happened: As the Taliban began entering Kabul on Sunday, President Ashraf Ghani departed Afghanistan, according to a report from Reuters. It’s not clear where Ghani is being transported, several Afghan social media posts branded him a “coward” for leaving his citizens behind.

United States diplomats, meanwhile, are being evacuated from the embassy by helicopters according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “"Right now, the plan that we're putting into effect is to move personnel from the embassy compound in the capital to a location at the airport to ensure that they can operate safely and securely," Blinken told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.

Blinken rejected comparisons to America's withdrawl from Vietnam in 1975. "This is manifestly not Saigon," Blinken said, characterizing the evacuation of embassy personnel as "very deliberate." Hamid Karzai International Airport, on the north side of the city, is just miles from the U.S. embassy. Helicopters are able to reach the airport in a matter of minutes.

What’s Next: The Taliban’s rapid advance across the country and into Kabul comes after an Aug. 31 deadline set by President Joe Biden to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan and bring the 20-year conflict to an end.

The fear among many Afghans is a return of Talbian rule, and the imposition of Sharia law, which occurred between 1996-2001. A Taliban spokesperson tells the BBC the group would protect the rights of women, journalists and diplomats. A tweet from the Afghan presidential palace account said gunfire is being heard around Kabul but that security forces, in coordination with international partners, are in control of the city.

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