City remains tense, most shopping malls, banks remain closed, streets empty
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – The top US diplomat in Afghanistan on Tuesday rejected reports of him fleeing the war-ravaged country following the takeover by the Taliban.
In a brief note on Twitter, Ross Wilson, chargé d’affaires to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, said he and his staff remain in Kabul and are working to help thousands of US citizens and vulnerable Afghans.
“@USEmbassyKabul staff & I remain in #Kabul working hard to help 1000s of U.S. citizens and vulnerable Afghans & continuing engagement here. Our commitment to the Afghan people endures,” he tweeted.
The Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday and took control of Afghanistan for the first time in almost 20 years. The Afghan government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled abroad as foreign troops withdrew.
Following scenes of panic and chaos at Kabul airport as desperate residents tried to flee the war-torn country, the US Embassy in Kabul asked potential travelers not to rush to the airport unless they are notified.
The situation still remains tense in the capital as armed Taliban kept patrolling the roads, and sporadic gunshots were heard.
Most of the banks, forex dealers, jewelry shops, and shopping malls remained closed and streets were empty.
Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, assured humanitarian workers and diplomats that their security would be ensured.
“We assure all diplomats, embassies, consulates, and charitable workers, whether they are international or national that not only no problem will be created for them on the part of IEA (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) but a secure environment will be provided to them, Inshallah,” he said in a tweet late Monday.
There were also reports of the Taliban conducting searches in homes, particularly in the western quarters of the city.
“No one is allowed to enter anyone’s house without permission,” Shaheen said. “Life, property and honor of none shall be harmed but must be protected …”
Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission appealed for urgent humanitarian rescue and relief for thousands of war-displaced Afghans stranded in various parts of the country. It said the displaced urgently need food, aid, and shelter.