Kabul, Afghanistan – The Taliban entered the Afghan capital Kabul from all sides, the Afghan interior ministry said on Sunday. Sirens could be heard along with sporadic gunfire. Multiple helicopters were flying above the city centre and dropping flares.

The Taliban said it has no plans to take the Afghan capital “by force”. The armed group issued the statement as their fighters moved to the outskirts of Kabul.

“Negotiations are under way to ensure that the transition process is completed safely and securely, without compromising the lives, property and honour of anyone, and without compromising the lives of Kabulis,” it said.

“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, although some residents reported fighters peacefully entered some outer suburbs.

Panicked workers fled government offices. Thousands of civilians now live in parks and open spaces in Kabul itself, fearing the future.

‘All sides’

The senior official told Reuters news agency the Taliban were coming in “from all sides” but gave no further details.

Three Afghan officials told The Associated Press the fighters were in the districts of Kalakan, Qarabagh and Paghman in the capital. Fighters earlier took Jalalabad, near a major border crossing with Pakistan, the last major city other than Kabul not under their control.

After its lightning advance on the capital, the armed group ordered its fighters to refrain violence, allow safe passage to anyone seeking to leave and request women to head to protected areas, said a Taliban leader in Doha, Qatar.

The chief of staff to President Ashraf Ghani on Twitter urged the people of Kabul: “Please don’t worry. There is no problem. The situation of Kabul is under control.”

US officials said the diplomats were being ferried to the airport from the embassy in the fortified Wazir Akbar Khan district. More American troops were being sent to help in the evacuations.

Source: Angola Press News Agency