The Taliban have begun entering Kabul, Afghanistan’s interior ministry and the armed group said.
The development on Sunday came just hours after the group seized control of the key eastern city of Jalalabad, securing critical roads connecting the country to Pakistan.
A Taliban leader in Doha, which has been the site of years-long peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the group, said fighters on Sunday were ordered to refrain from violence and offer safe passage to those wishing to leave Kabul.
It is unclear whether the government of President Ashraf Ghani will mount a counteroffensive or capitulate.
Here are all the latest updates:
Afghanistan will have a ‘peaceful transfer of power’: interior minister
Afghan Interior Minister Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal said there would be a “peaceful transfer of power” to a transitional government, after the Taliban ordered its fighters to hold back from entering Kabul.
“The Afghan people should not worry… There will be no attack on the city and there will be a peaceful transfer of power to the transitional government,” he said in a recorded speech.
Russia says emergency UN meeting on Afghanistan is planned
Russia is working with other countries to hold an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Afghanistan as the Taliban completes its military takeover of the country, foreign ministry official Zamir Kabulov told Russian news agencies.
“We are working on this,” Kabulov said, adding that the meeting will take place.
Calm reigns in Kabul as Taliban, gov’t prepare to hold talks
The panic in the city of Kabul has largely dissipated as most of the residents take to their homes and the heavy traffic has cleared.
The Taliban stated that they will not take Kabul by force and the Ministry of Interior confirmed that the armed group was still at the doors to the city, but not the main city itself.
Likewise, officals have told media that a peaceful transition of power is expected, as the Taliban had previously stated.
UK says it is working to evacuate citizens, former staff
Britain is working to protect its citizens and help other eligible former UK staff to leave Afghanistan, the interior ministry said in a tweet.
“Home Office (interior ministry) officials are right now working to protect British nationals and help former UK staff and other eligible people travel to the UK.”
Taliban spokesman: Group has not yet entered Kabul
Suhail Shaheen, Taliban’s international media spokesman, told Al Jazeera that the group has not just yet entered Kabul city and is counting on the government’s cooperation for the peaceful transfer of power.
“There will be essential arrangement for the maintenance of security of the city, so that personal property … is not harmed.
“A local province which is close to Kabul, has fallen to us, and also other districts near Kabul. [Our forces] are a few kilometres away from the outskirts of the city.”
Taliban source confirms group has entered Kabul
A Taliban source has confirmed to Al Jazeera that the group has entered the province of Kabul.
“He said that the leadership is asking everybody to be calm, that they come with a message of peace,” said Al Jazeera’s Charlotte Bellis, reporting from Kabul.
“He said that we have no intention of fighting, that government buildings are safe, and that they have been instructed that if anybody does want to leave the city, that they should be give safe passage.”
Taliban leadership says Afghan capital will not be taken by force
The Taliban have released a statement online saying they have instructed their forces not to cross the gates of Kabul and take the city by force.
Instead, they say, “negotiations are underway to ensure that the transition process is completed safely and securely, without compromising the lives, property and honor of anyone, and without compromising the lives of Kabulis.”
They also released another statement trying to reassure banks, merchants and other entrepreneurs that their property, money and institutions will not be distrubed by the armed group.
Despite the online assurances, people continue to leave the city streets and try to find ways to head home.
Senior government official urges calm
The Chief of Staff to President Ashraf Ghani has taken to his Twitter account to urge the people of Kabul, ‘Please don’t worry. There is no problem. The situation of Kabul is under control.’
The tweet comes as the Taliban have entered the Afghan capital from all sides and have reportedly made it within a few kilometers of the main city.
President Ghani himself, hasn’t been heard from since he gave a short, pre-recorded address to the nation Saturday afternoon.
Taliban begin entering Kabul: Afghan interior ministry
The Taliban have begun entering the Afghan capital Kabul from all sides, the Afghan interior ministry said.
A Taliban leader in Doha said the group ordered its fighters to refrain violence, allow safe passage to anyone seeking to leave and request women to head to protected areas.
Taliban take provincial capital of Khost
An Afghan official and the Taliban say the militants have seized the provincial capital of Khost.
A provincial council member, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the capture to the Associated Press.
It leaves Afghanistan’s central government in control of just Kabul and five other provincial capitals out of the country’s 34.
Pakistan closes Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan
Pakistan has closed the Torkham crossing with Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover of the the Afghan side of the border, Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said.
Afghan civilians flee rural areas
Early on Sunday, refugees from Taliban-controlled provinces were seen unloading belongings from taxis, families stood outside embassy gates, while the city’s downtown was packed with people stocking up on supplies.
Hundreds of people slept huddled in tents or in the open in the city, by roadsides or in car parks, a resident said. “You can see the fear in their faces.”
Taliban takes provincial Afghan capital just west of Kabul
An Afghan lawmaker and the Taliban say fighters have seized a provincial capital just west of Kabul.
The Taliban took Maidan Shahr, capital of Maidan Wardak province, on Sunday. It is about 90km (55 miles) from the national capital Kabul.
Taliban capture district in Kabul
After taking the provinces of Nangarhar and Laghman overnight, the Taliban have captured the Sarobi district, an hour east of the capital. It marks the first district in the province of Kabul to be taken by the armed group.
Taliban seize control of Nangarhar
Sources in the eastern province of Nangarhar have confirmed to Al Jazeera that Jalalabad, the capital, was handed over to the Taliban as part of a deal struck by local elders and the governor, Zia-ul Haq Amarkhil with the armed group in order to protect civilians.
Nangarhar is the 23rd province to fall, Jalalabad was the last major city other than the capital, Kabul, to be taken by the Taliban.
The fall of Jalalabad gives the group control of a road leading to the Pakistan city of Peshawar, one of the main highways into landlocked Afghanistan.
A security official in the city said the Taliban had agreed to give safe passage to government officials and security forces while they leave Jalalabad.
US begins evacuating embassy in Kabul
The US has started evacuating diplomats from its embassy in Kabul, two US officials told Reuters news agency with helicopters landing on the premises as diplomatic vehicles leave the compound.
“We have a small batch of people leaving now as we speak, a majority of the staff are ready to leave … the embassy continues to function,” one of the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said.
The rapid helicopter shuttle runs came as wisps of smoke rose from the embassy’s roof. US officials previously said diplomats inside had begun destroying sensitive documents.
Taliban capture Daikondi
The central province of Daikondi has fallen to the Taliban, a political representative from the province told Al Jazeera. As of Sunday morning, at least 23 provinces are now in control of the Taliban.