By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan Sunday as the Islamic militant Taliban group entered Kabul.
The Afghan Interior Ministry said Ghani was on his way to the neighboring Central Asian nation of Tajikistan, leaving behind a nation in turmoil.
Earlier in scenes reminiscent of the fall of Saigon 45 years ago, U.S. embassy staff were fleeing Kabul Sunday as the militant Taliban group entered the Afghan capital.
A Boeing CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter appeared over the U.S. embassy compound in Kabul, according to footage seen by Worthy News.
It came as Taliban forces entered Kabul through the city’s four main gates Sunday morning, witnesses and officials said, much faster than U.S. intelligence sources predicted. It raised questions about U.S. intelligence which predicted that Kabul could fall in weeks, citing a 30 to 90 days timeframe.
The top Republican in the U.S. Congress said U.S. President Joe Biden’s exit from Afghanistan is the “sequel” to America’s “humiliating” withdrawal in Saigon in 1975.
“Afghanistan is careening toward a massive, predictable, and preventable disaster,” Senator Mitch McConnell said, referring to the last moments of the Vietnam War.
He urged Biden Friday to reverse course and commit more support for Afghan forces to fight the fast-advancing militants.
But it seemed too late with the central government close to collapse and reports that the militants were approaching the government palace of President Ashraf Ghani.
“‘Never trust a friend who leaves you saying he’ll be back – Old Vietnamese saying,’” was a text on social media. Near these words were two iconic pictures: one of a U.S. military helicopter above the U.S. embassy in then Saigon. The other above, 45 years later, above the U.S. embassy in Kabul.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told media his group’s fighters had been instructed not to push further into the city with force. “We want to enter Kabul with peace, and talks are underway” with the government, he said.
Negotiators representing the national government reportedly headed to Doha, Qatar Sunday to discuss an agreement with the Taliban’s political leadership.
Witnesses said helicopters landed at the U.S. Embassy early Sunday, and armored diplomatic vehicles were seen leaving the area around the compound.
Diplomats scrambled to destroy sensitive documents, sending smoke from the embassy’s roof, the Associated Press news agency reported, citing anonymous U.S. military officials.
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