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Talibans take over Kabul as Afghan president steps down

Taliban fighters entered the city of Kabul on Sunday, demanding the unconditional surrender of the central government.

Al Arabiya reports that Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani will abdicate in the next few hours after the Taliban came into the city limits. 

Though the extremist group has said that it intends to take the city peacefully without harming civilians, several reports reveal that citizens and foreigners are fleeing the city, from people queuing at ATMs to withdraw money to helicopters evacuating staff from the U.S. Embassy.

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An Afghan MP in Kabul, Farzana Kochai, told BBC that there were not many routes left to  escape, as flights from the country were all filled.

“I don’t know, they can’t go anywhere, there’s nowhere left. The aircraft may be full and the flights from Kabul today, I checked with some friends who are going there, out of Kabul, like to India or any other neighboring countries,” Mr Kochai said. 

The extremist group has made major advances across Afghanistan as the U.S. and other countries started withdrawing their troops from the country. The original date for the full withdrawal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan was September 11, to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The group has taken over most of southern, northern and western Afghanistan. Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province and the biggest city in the north, fell to the Taliban on Saturday, as regional leaders and security forces abandoned the city fleeing to Uzbekistan for safety.

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