President Ghani leaves Afghanistan amid imminent Taliban takeover

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has left Afghanistan for Tajikistan as Taliban closes in on Kabul, according to several media reports.

Asked for comment, the president’s office told Reuters news agency it “cannot say anything about Ashraf Ghani’s movement for security reasons”.

Meanwhile, a Taliban official told Reuters they were checking reports about Ghani’s departure from the country.

Taliban fighters surrounded Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Sunday as the world waited to see what negotiations around a transfer of power would result in.

Taliban forces patrol a street in Herat [Reuters]

The armed group seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, sending thousands of internally displaced people fleeing the fighting to Kabul, seeking safety.

Taliban fighters and local residents sit on an Afghan National Army vehicle in Laghman province [AFP]

In spite of hundreds of billions of dollars spent by the US and NATO to build up Afghan security forces, the Taliban swiftly defeated, co-opted, or sent Afghan security forces fleeing from wide swaths of the country.