What is happening in Afghanistan? Taliban takes control of Kabul just days after US-led coalition left country

Taliban members were pictured in the presidential palace after President Ghani fled

The Taliban have taken over the city of Kabul and claimed victory in Afghanistan after almost 20 years of a US-led coalition leading the country.

Taliban members were pictured in the presidential palace after President Ghani fled. Thousands of residents and foreign nationals are now also attempting to flee the country.

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At a glance: 5 key points

- The Taliban’s offensive across Afghanistan has accelerated dramatically in recent days, with fighters taking the last major city, Kabul, on Sunday after the withdrawal of foreign troops and exit by the president.

-The Taliban said they were going into the city to stop chaos and looting after security forces left parts of the capital, and have seized the presidential palace.

- The city has reportedly descended into chaos, with thousands of foreign nationals and residents heading to the airport in an attempt to flee the country.

- British and American nationals remain in the country, with President Biden and Boris Johnson deploying troops in an attempt to withdraw them as quickly as possible.

- Other countries are also attempting to rescue citizens, with many scaling down their foreign presence and some closing embassies in Afghanistan altogether.

What’s been said

More than 60 countries, the US and UK among them, have signed a joint statement saying that the Afghan people "deserve to live in safety, security and dignity", and that civil order must return.

Biden has defended the withdrawal of US troops from the area, saying he couldn’t justify an "endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict".

Johnson convened an emergency Cobra meeting last night, saying that the government’s priority was to get Afghans and UK nationals who had worked with them out of Afghanistan “as fast as we can”.

“We are going to get as many as we can out in the next few days,” he said.

Background

Almost 20 years ago, the Taliban were ousted from Afghanistan by a US-backed military coalition.

Emboldened by the withdrawal of most US troops in July, however, the Taliban have swept through the country, re-taking control at an alarming pace.

In many areas, the Taliban took control without a single shot being fired.

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