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Taliban on outskirts of Afghan capital

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This picture taken from the top of a hillside shows a general view of the Kabul city on August 15, 2021. (Photo: Wakil Kohsar / AFP)
Kabul —Taliban fighters were on the outskirts of Kabul on Sunday and on the brink of a complete military takeover of Afghanistan, but a spokesman said they had been ordered not to enter the city.اضافة اعلان

The Taliban's announcement signaled the insurgents were confident of taking power imminently, as the United States and other nations rushed to evacuate their citizens from the capital.

"The Islamic Emirate instructs all its forces to stand at the gates of Kabul, not to try to enter the city, "a spokesman for the Taliban tweeted.

"Until the completion of the transition process, the responsibility for the security of Kabulis with the other side (the Afghan government)".

The order came as residents reported seeing insurgents peacefully enter some of Kabul's outer suburbs, triggering panic and fear.

"I saw police taking off their uniforms and putting on shalwar kameez, "said one resident, referring to traditional South Asian clothing.

The capture of Kabul would cap an astonishing rout of government forces and warlord militias across all of Afghanistan's major cities achieved in just 10 days. It would also seethe hardline Islamic group take back power two decades after US-led forces toppled it in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The scale and speed of the insurgents advance have shocked Afghans and the US-led alliance that poured billions into the country over the past two decades.

President Ashraf Ghani's government was left completely isolated on Sunday after the Taliban claimed the anti-Taliban northern stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharifand the eastern city of Jalalabad.

Like with most of the other captured cities, the seizure of power came after government forces surrendered or retreated.

It left the Taliban holding all the cards in any negotiated surrender of the capital.

On Saturday Ghani sought to project authority with a national address in which he spoke of "re-mobilizing" the military while seeking a "political solution "to the crisis. Ghani offered no public comments on Sunday.

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