BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:45 P.M.) – As of Sunday night, the Taliban is in full control of Afghanistan’s presidential palace and government offices, with international media capturing the shocking and historic moment, marking the close of over two decades of US military presence.
Country is now fully under militant group control. Afghan President fled, army collapsed, US evacuating: pic.twitter.com/ANQue1ooJx
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) August 15, 2021
By Saturday night the Taliban had been a reported 15km away from the capital city, with overnight fighting resulting in the Islamist militants rolling through the city by Sunday, apparently with little resistance from US-trained national forces.
By Sunday afternoon Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had fled to neighboring Tajikistan. The US Ambassador and hundreds of diplomatic staff shuttered the American Embassy, taking the flag with them to Kabul’s international airport.
A subsequent State Department emergency notification urged remaining US citizens in Kabul to “shelter in place” and announced the embassy has effectively relocated to Hamid Karzai International Airport. In some cases Americans have taken to social media to report being “trapped” in the now Taliban-held city.
— Disclose.tv 🚨 (@disclosetv) August 15, 2021
The situation appears to be getting worse into the overnight hours.
Images coming from the airport and even aboard departing flights out show a crowded tarmac, packed terminal, and general chaos as thousands attempt to get out of the country.
Photo circulating on social media showing crowds standing outside at Kabul’s international airport:
Chaos is unfolding also as US embassy personnel and remaining Americans attempt to get flights home, and as additional US Marines are en route to provide security and order.
Insane footage from the tarmac of KBL shows people boarding a C-17. No order. Total chaos. pic.twitter.com/IZCZFeelAr
— The Intel Crab (@IntelCrab) August 15, 2021
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that “The Pentagon is authorizing the deployment of another U.S. 1,000 troops to Kabul, boosting overall number expected in Afghanistan to about 6,000,” according to Pentagon correspondent Dan Lamothe.