Kabul(IP)- The Taliban stated that the war in Afghanistan was ended after insurgents took control of the presidential palace in Kabul as U.S.-led forces left, and Western nations scrambled on Monday to remove their citizens.

Iran PressAsia: Ashraf Ghani fled on Sunday as the group entered the city, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed, while hundreds of Afghans were desperate to leave flooded Kabul airport.

"Today is a great day for the Afghan people and the mujahideen. They have witnessed the fruits of their efforts and their sacrifices for 20 years," Mohammad Naeem, the Spokesman for the Taliban's political office, told Al Jazeera TV. "Thanks to God, the war is over in the country."

It took the Taliban just over a week to seize control of the country.

Naeem said the new regime in Afghanistan would be made clear soon, adding the Taliban did not want to live in isolation and calling for peaceful international relations.

"We have reached what we were seeking, which is the freedom of our country and the independence of our people," he said, adding: "We will not allow anyone to use our lands to target anyone, and we do not want to harm others."

American flag removed from its embassy

A U.S. State Department spokesperson said early on Monday that all embassy personnel, including Ambassador Ross Wilson, had been transferred to Kabul airport to await evacuation. The American flag had been lowered and removed from the embassy compound.

Hundreds of Afghans invaded the airport's runways in the dark, pulling luggage and jostling for a place on one of the last commercial flights to leave the country before U.S. forces took over air traffic control on Sunday.

"How can they hold the airport and dictate terms and conditions to Afghans?" said Rakhshanda Jilali, a human rights activist who was trying to get to Pakistan.

Failure of leadership

In Washington, opponents of President Joe Biden's decision to end America's longest war, launched after Sept. 11, 2001, said a leadership failure caused the chaos.

The Pentagon authorized another 1,000 troops to help evacuate U.S. citizens and Afghans who worked for them.

Biden has faced rising domestic criticism after sticking to a plan initiated by his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, to end the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan by Aug. 31.


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