Many Kabul citizens are fearful as Taliban fighters infiltrate the Afghan capital and President Ghani flees the country.
Thousands of Kabul residents hurried to banks to withdraw money from their accounts, as Taliban fighters arrived the city on Sunday demanding the absolute surrender of the central government.
Afghans and foreigners alike also raced to exit the city, signalling the end of a 20-year Western experiment aimed at remaking Afghanistan.
Civilians fearing that the Taliban could reimpose the kind of brutal rule that all but eliminated women’s rights rushed to leave the country, lining up at cash machines to withdraw their life earnings.
As he came to pick up his salary, Bostan Shah, a 24-year-old who was serving as a policeman in Kandahar told The Associated Press news agency that “the government is not solving our problems”.
Another policeman, 32-year-old Abdul Mossawer, complained about the wait outside the bank, saying bank workers repeatedly came out and gave various reasons for the delay.
The Afghan government, meanwhile, had hoped for an interim administration but unfortunately had few cards to play.
The Taliban said it would soon announce the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace, as Afghanistan’s embattled president fled the country on Sunday.
Helicopters flew overhead to depart personnels from the US embassy, while smoke rose near the compound as staff destroyed important documents. Several other Western missions also prepared to pull their people out.
In a stunning rout, the Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, despite the billions of dollars spent by the US and NATO over nearly 20 years to build up Afghan security forces.
Just days before, an American military assessment estimated it would be a month before the capital would come under Taliban pressure.
As a Taliban offensive encircles the Afghan capital, there is increasingly only one way out for those fleeing the war, and only one way in for US troops sent to protect American diplomats still on the ground: the airport. [Rahmat Gul/AP Photo]￼