[WATCH] Taliban take Afghanistan, chaotic scenes at Kabul airport

The Taliban are back in control, 20 years after they were ousted from power in Afghanistan by a US-led military coalition

Scenes of desperation at Kabul airport as Afghans try to flee the country, fearing new Taliban regime
Scenes of desperation at Kabul airport as Afghans try to flee the country, fearing new Taliban regime

Afghanistan woke up to a new reality on Monday after Taliban fighters took the capital Kabul unopposed and declared the creation of an Islamic emirate.

In a series of rapid developments on Sunday, Taliban fighters waited at the gates of Kabul as President Ashraf Ghani fled the country to Uzbekistan and hundreds of foreigners and Afghan citizens rushed to the airport to flee the country.

The Taliban militants entered the capital unopposed and overran the presidential palace with a spokesman for the group telling the BBC from Qatar that fighters have been ordered to respect citizens, their honour and their property.

The spokesman said the Taliban wanted a peaceful transition and there will be “no revenge”.

However, many in Afghanistan, especially women and girls, fear a return to the brutal regime of the 1990s with public executions, stoning and a prohibition for girls older than 10 to attend school.

The Taliban takeover comes 20 years after the regime was toppled by a US-led military coalition.

US forces withdrew from the country last month paving the way for a rapid Taliban advance across the vast country that was largely opposed by the Afghan military.

In a bid to present a moderate face, the Taliban spokesman told the BBC that the Taliban wanted to create a government that represented all Afghans under an Islamic emirate.

Meanwhile, there were chaotic scenes at Kabul airport on Sunday and Monday as foreigners, diplomats and Afghans tried to flee the country.

The US has sent 6,000 troops to secure the airport perimeter until all diplomats, foreigners and Afghans who helped the foreign forces are evacuated.

But the airport has also been swamped by ordinary Afghans who fear Taliban rule and want out of the country.

All commercial flights have been cancelled and the airport is being used by military planes to evacuate people.

Most European diplomatic missions, along with the US and Canada, have shut down operations and are evacuating staff. China and Russia have so far said they will stay put.