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Taliban search to venture calm as US speeds chaotic evacuation

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S. army took over Afghanistan’s airspace on Monday because it struggled to handle a chaotic evacuation after the Taliban rolled into the capital, because the militants tried to venture calm amid widespread fears of unrest.

The Taliban swept into the capital on Sunday after the Western-backed authorities collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled the nation, bringing a surprising finish to a two-decade marketing campaign during which the U.S. and its allies had tried to remodel the nation.

1000’s of Afghans, fearing a return to the Taliban’s brutal rule, are making an attempt to flee the nation by means of Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport. Movies circulating on social media confirmed a whole lot of individuals racing throughout the tarmac as U.S. troopers fired warning pictures within the air.

The U.S. Embassy has been evacuated and the American flag lowered, with diplomats relocating to the airport to help with the evacuation. Different Western international locations have additionally closed their missions and are flying out employees and civilians.

By morning, Afghanistan’s Civil Aviation Authority issued an advisory saying the “civilian facet” of the airport had been “closed till additional discover” and that the army managed the airspace.

Afghanistan’s airspace is commonly utilized by long-haul carriers shifting between the Far East and the West. Early Monday morning, flight-tracking knowledge confirmed no rapid industrial flights over the nation.

Within the capital itself a tense calm set in, with most individuals hiding of their houses. There have been scattered experiences of looting and armed males knocking on doorways and gates. The Taliban freed 1000’s of prisoners as they swept throughout the nation and the police melted away.

The Taliban deployed fighters at main intersections and sought to venture calm, circulating movies displaying quiet metropolis streets.

“There have been a couple of Taliban fighters on each street and intersection within the metropolis,” Shah Mohammad, a 55-year-old gardener, mentioned after coming to work within the diplomatic quarter. He mentioned there was much less visitors than normal and fewer individuals out on the streets.

Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, tweeted that fighters had been instructed to not enter any residence with out permission and to guard “life, property and honor.”

The Taliban dominated Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 with a harsh type of Islamic legislation. Girls had been largely confined to their houses and suspected criminals confronted amputation or public execution. The Taliban have sought to venture better moderation in recent times, however many Afghans stay skeptical and concern a rollback of particular person rights gained in recent times.

The Taliban had additionally harbored Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida within the years earlier than they carried out the Sept. 11, 2001 assaults. That sparked a U.S.-led invasion that quickly scattered al-Qaida and drove the Taliban from energy.

However the U.S. misplaced focus through the Iraq warfare and the Taliban finally regrouped. The militants captured a lot of the Afghan countryside in recent times after which swept into cities as U.S. forces ready to withdraw forward of an Aug. 31 deadline.

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Faiez reported from Istanbul, Krauss from Jerusalem and Gannon from Guelph, Canada. Related Press author Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed.

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