Afghan interior minister says power to be peacefully transferred to transitional government

Source: Xinhua| 2021-08-15 18:16:24|Editor: huaxia

KABUL, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Afghan acting Interior Minister Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal said here on Sunday that "power will be peacefully transferred to a transitional government", local media reported.

"It is agreed that power will be transferred in a peaceful manner to a transitional administration," he said in a televised message broadcast in local media.

"People should not worry about the safety and security in Kabul," he said after chaos and disorder in parts of the city which were caused by rumors that Taliban militants had entered the city.

An Afghan Taliban spokesman also said that the group is negotiating with the Afghan government on a "peaceful transfer" of the capital of Kabul.

"No one's life, property and dignity will be harmed and the lives of the citizens of Kabul will not be at risk," the Taliban said.

Taliban fighters have occupied the outskirts of Kabul, and sporadic gun firing can be heard in parts of the city as of midday on Sunday.

The Taliban issued a statement after occupying the outskirts of Kabul, saying they don't plan to take Kabul "by force".

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said that the outfit has ordered its insurgents to stay outside the capital and not to try to enter the city.

"The Islamic Emirate instructs all its forces to stand at the gates of Kabul, not to try to enter the city," he tweeted.

Muhahid later tweeted on Sunday that the militant group took control of Bagram prison at Bagram Airfield, 50 km north of Kabul, and released all inmates.

"All prisoners were released and were transported to a safe place," he said.

The prison homes about 5,000 to 7,000 inmates, mainly Taliban prisoners.

The Bagram Airfield, in Bagram district of eastern Parwan province, has served as a main U.S. and NATO forces for the past 20 years.

Mujahid also said Taliban members had taken control of Bamyan city, capital of central Bamyan province at around midday on Sunday.

The media office of the Afghanistan's Presidential Palace earlier denied Taliban's attack on and seizure of Kabul, saying only sporadic gun firing occurred in parts of Kabul.

No attack has taken place in Kabul, the country's security and defense forces and international partners are providing security for Kabul city, the office said on its social media account twitter.

"The situation is under control," it said.

Earlier on Sunday, several private offices and buildings were evacuated, and shops were shut down after rumors and unconfirmed reports on social media that the Taliban had entered central Kabul, causing panic among terrified civilians. Thousands of Afghans are living in parks or open spaces, not knowing what's coming next.

U.S. embassy staff have been evacuated by helicopters, with core members working at the Kabul airport, the only exit route still in the government's hand. EU staff in Kabul have been transfered to a safe and undisclosed place, reports said.

Also on Sunday, Taliban fighters captured the eastern city of Jalalabad and the Torkham border post with Pakistan, forcing Pakistan to close the border point with Afghanistan. The Taliban also took control of Maidan Shar city on early Sunday, 35 km west of Kabul. Enditem

KEY WORDS: Afghanistan,Kabul,Taliban,3rd LD