Afghanistan LIVE: Taliban take control of Kabul as Brits evacuate – gunfight near airport

Afghanistan: 'US & UK have created humanitarian crisis' says ex-soldier

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Taliban fighters have declared “The war is over” after seizing the presidential palace, sending President Ashraf Ghani fleeing. The declaration of victory follows a blistering advance across Afghanistan, which saw 20 provincial capitals fall to the Taliban in less than two weeks. Photos have emerged of hundreds more Taliban fighters flooding into the capital Kabul as citizens scramble to escape at Kabul airport.

“I am in a complete state of shock.

“The Taliban entering that scared me, but [President Ashraf] Ghani leaving all of us in this situation has been the worst,” one shop owner in Kabul.

The city has descended into chaos with residents and foreign nationals desperate to escape.

Residents said that government offices are empty and the embassy district not far from Kabul airport is completely deserted, with diplomats and families leaving the country or scrambling to safe-houses.

The US has moved all embassy staff to the airport where the US military has secured the perimeter and is controlling air traffic control to evacuate American and allied personnel from the area.

More than 60 countries, including the UK and US, have asked the Taliban to allow anyone who wishes to depart to do so.

The British ambassador is reportedly orchestrating the evacuation of British nationals from a safe-house in the capital.

Loughborough University student, Miles Routledge, 22, is trapped in the Taliban held city Kabul after travelling there on holiday.

The physics student flew to war-torn Afghanistan after googling ‘most dangerous countries to visit’ and plumping for the top entry.

Miles updated friends and family on his Facebook account yesterday: “No more flights in Kabul, I’m stuck in Afghanistan. Bit of a pickle.”

He is now hiding out in a United Nations safe-house in Kabul after several attempts to leave the Taliban held city, reports The Spectator.

Parliament has been recalled next week to discuss the government’s response to the ongoing crisis.

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KEY EVENTS

  • First flight carrying British nationals evacuated from Afghanistan arrives in UK08:52
  • 3 dead in Kabul airport chaos 08:18
  • 08:52 First flight carrying British nationals evacuated from Afghanistan arrives in UK

    The first flight carrying British nationals evacuated from Taliban occupied Afghanistan has arrived in the UK. 

    The UK Armed Forces are supporting the evacuation of British nationals and those eligible for relocation under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Program after the Taliban seized Kabul. 

    Embassy staff were among those who arrived at RAF Brize Norton last night.

    The Taliban now controls every city in Afghanistan. 

    08:46 'We're going to go back,' said Britain's defence minister

    The Taliban are in control of Afghanistan and British forces are not going to return to fight the insurgents, Britain’s defence minister said this morning.

    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News: “I acknowledge that the Taliban are in control of the country.

    “I mean, you don’t have to be a political scientist to spot that’s where we’re at.”

    Asked if Britain and NATO would return to Afghanistan, Wallace said: “That’s not on the cards… we’re going to go back”

    08:40 Three Swiss development agency workers evacuated from Afghanistan

    Three development agency workers have been pulled out of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul by Switzerland, the country’s foreign minister said on Monday. 

    They are working hard to evacuate local personnel, they added. 

    “They are on their way to Switzerland,” Ignazio Cassis said in a tweet, saying the workers had been withdrawn with the help of Switzerland’s partners.

    “We are working very hard under the most difficult circumstances to evacuate local staff,” he added.

    08:18 3 dead in Kabul airport chaos

    At least three people are reported to have been killed as chaos engulfs Kabul airport. 

    Gunfire has erupted at Kabul airport as hundreds climb over each other trying to escape the Taliban held city. 

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