Updated: Aug 17
The Taliban edged closer to solidifying control of Afghanistan on Sunday, including entering the presidential palace in Kabul hours after former President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
The rapidly-evolving situation has prompted confusion and concern as the US and governments worldwide monitor the bitter end to nearly two decades of war.
The Taliban claimed the palace with three Afghan government officials present, according to Al Jazeera, which carried events live. One Taliban security official said there was a "peaceful handover of government facilities ongoing across the country."
Another spoke briefly in English to say that he had formerly been held by the US in Guantanamo, a claim that CNN cannot independently verify. Ghani left the country on Sunday for Tajikistan, two sources told CNN. Afghanistan's acting defense minister, General Bismillah Mohammadi, slammed the fleeing president in a brief tweet Sunday, writing: "They tied our hands behind our backs and sold the homeland, damn the rich man and his gang."
Photographs of women are being painted on the streets of Kabul.
In India too, when the Mughals came, the system of purdah started and then it became a custom
We deserve peace, world powers must act: Afghan students in Chandigarh
“I have been unable to contact my relatives in Badakhshan province of Afghanistan, which recently fell to the Taliban. I do not know how and where my three uncles and their families are,” says 23-year-old Meena Azimi, anxiety palpable in her voice.
Azimi, who studies at Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45B, Chandigarh, is among the Afghan students who gathered at the student centre of Panjab University (PU) on Saturday to condemn the continuous onslaught of the Taliban, which has been rapidly gaining territory in Afghanistan. The protesting students held placards that read, ‘we deserve peace’.
“Our country is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. Taliban fighters are killing innocent people and families are being displaced,” she says.
It is estimated that around 350 students from Afghanistan are enrolled in higher education institutes in Chandigarh, many of whom are studying at PU as well.
Ali Nazar, who studies at DAV College, Sector 10, says, “My family is in Kabul and they are scared. Many of my relatives live in the provinces that have been captured. Citizens are suffering and want an end to the war. The Taliban should end this violence and come to an understanding with the government. Our only hope is the United Nations and world powers. They must act.”
We are in touch with representatives of Afghan Sikh, Hindu communities; will facilitate those who want to leave Afghanistan: MEA
"The Taliban is sanctioned as a terrorist organization under US law and we have banned them from our services under our Dangerous Organization policies. This means we remove accounts maintained by or on behalf of the Taliban and prohibit praise, support, and representation of them," a Facebook spokesperson told the BBC.
The Centre has introduced a new category of electronic visa — ‘e-Emergency X-Misc Visa’ — to fast-track applications for entry into India as situation in Afghanistan worsens
According to new e-visa provision, all Afghans can apply without religion-based priority. Applications will be scrutinised and decided in Delhi. A visa for six months will be given initially, while security review of the applicant will be done to check credentials. Documents required for visa will be uploaded on portal shortly.