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Afghan president could abdicate after Taliban enter Kabul: Sources

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Afghanistan’s president could abdicate in the next few hours after the Taliban entered capital Kabul on Sunday, according to Al Arabiya sources.

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Power will be transferred peacefully without a fight, the Afghan interior ministry said. The country’s defense minister, however, said in a tweet that security forces are committed to defending Kabul from the Taliban.

Ali Ahmad Jalali, the US-based academic and former Afghan interior minister, has been tapped to head an interim Afghan administration, according to Reuters diplomatic sources.

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Clashes between the Afghan army and the Taliban took place in the southern and northern outskirts of the city on Sunday, although a Taliban spokesperson says the group was instructed not to storm the city, which is the government’s last stronghold in the country.

The spokesperson added that the group does not intend to take revenge on anyone, and it claims that all those who have served the government and military will be forgiven.

A Taliban official has said that foreigners in Kabul should leave or otherwise register their presence with Taliban administrators, once they are established.

Citizens were seen lining up to withdraw their savings from banks before their doors were closed due to lack of liquidity.

US diplomats were evacuated from the country’s embassy by helicopter, and an official said that fewer than 50 staff will remain in the city.

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Several EU staff members were also moved to an undisclosed safer location in Kabul, according to a NATO official.

The UK Home Office has said that officials are working to protect British nationals and help former staff and eligible people travel to the UK.

Russia, on the other hand, has said it has no intention of evacuating its officials from Kabul.

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The country’s state news agency TASS reported that the Taliban had ensured the safety of the embassy.

The situation in Kabul comes soon after several major cities fell to the Taliban during the last week amidst a winding-down of the US military presence in the country, many of them without a fight.

Afghan President Ghani has urged government forces to maintain law and order in Kabul.

“It is our responsibility and we will do it in the best possible manner. Anyone who thinks about chaos, plunder or looting will be tackled with force,” he said in a video released to media.

With agencies

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