Taliban leaders declare “the war is over” in Afghanistan, hours after entering the capital Kabul and shortly after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
The swift pace of the Taliban advance, which came as US and NATO troops continued their near-complete withdrawal, surprised Western governments, who continued on Monday to scramble to evacuate their diplomats, citizens and some local Afghan staff.
Meanwhile, Afghans in the country’s capital, from which the Taliban had been deposed 20 years ago, faced an uncertain future as fighters from the group began roaming the streets on Monday.
So far, the Taliban have promised to maintain stability in the country and avoid further violence, with spokesman Mohammad Naeem telling Al Jazeera the type and form of the new government in Afghanistan will be made clear soon.
On Sunday night, more than 60 nations released a joint statement saying that those in power and authority across the country “bear responsibility — and accountability — for the protection of human life and property, and for the immediate restoration of security and civil order”.
The statement concludes, “The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity. We in the international community stand ready to assist them.”
Here are more world reactions as of Monday:
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has said the US “military failure” in Afghanistan offers an opportunity to establish lasting peace in the country.
Washington has accused Iran in the past of providing covert aid to Taliban fighters against US forces. Tehran, which supports an inclusive Afghan government that would include all ethnic groups and sects, has denied this.
“America’s military defeat and its withdrawal must become an opportunity to restore life, security and durable peace in Afghanistan,” Iran’s state TV quoted Raisi as saying.
“Iran backs efforts to restore stability in Afghanistan and, as a neighbouring and brother nation, Iran invites all groups in Afghanistan to reach a national agreement.”
China on Monday said its embassy will remains open in Kabul and expressed a willingness to support the country’s reconstruction.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying did not answer directly when asked on Monday whether Beijing would recognise the Taliban as the new government but said that China would respect the choice of the Afghan people.
She noted the Taliban pledged to negotiate the establishment of an inclusive Islamic government and to ensure the safety of both Afghans and foreign missions.
China, she added, hopes that would “ensure a smooth transition of the situation in Afghanistan”.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi assured a visiting delegation of the former Afghan government on Monday that his country will continue to play the role for peace and stability in Afghanistan, according to the foreign ministry.
Former Afghan parliament speaker, Mir Rahman Rahmani, lead the delegation.
The statement made no reference to the takeover of the Afghan capital Kabul by the Taliban.
The Kremlin envoy to Afghanistan on Monday said on Moscow will decide whether to recognise the new Taliban government based on its conduct.
Zamir Kabulov told the Ekho Moskvy radio station that “no one is going to rush” the decision. “Recognition or non-recognition will depend on the conduct of the new authorities,” Kabulov said.
Russia labelled the Taliban a terrorist organisation in 2003, but has since hosted several rounds of talks in Afghanistan, most recently in March, that involved the group.
US President Joe Biden has not spoken publicly on the situation in Afghanistan since Saturday, when he defended the decision to withdraw troops. He is expected to make an address in the coming days.
On Monday, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the failure of the Afghan military is to blame for the Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan.
Sullivan said Biden did not want the US to enter a “third decade of conflict” in Afghanistan and believed it was time for the Afghan army to defend the country two decades after billions of dollars of investment and training by the US.
In an interview on CNN late Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US can only “work with and recognise” a government that “upholds the basic rights of its people and that doesn’t harbour terrorists”.
EU foreign ministers are set to meet for an emergency videoconference on Tuesday, the bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, announced on Monday.
The meeting will be used to make a “first assessment” of the situation, Borrell wrote on Twitter.
“Afghanistan stands at a crossroad. Security and wellbeing of its citizens, as well as international security, are at play,” he said.
UN aid agencies
The UN humanitarian aid coordination agency says it and partners “are staying and delivering to people in need” despite a complex security situation in Afghanistan following a sweep by Taliban forces across the country.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid, or OCHA, said, “The humanitarian community – both the UN and nongovernmental organisations – remains committed to helping people in the country.”
OCHA said thousands of internally displaced people who have been identified in recent weeks have received assistance including food, cash, healthcare, water, and sanitation support.
“While the security environment is highly complex, humanitarian agencies are staying and delivering to people in need,” OCHA said.
The German government has called on the Taliban to show restraint, protect the lives of the Afghan people and make sure needed humanitarian aid can reach them.
A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said on Monday that Germany “is concerned about the fates of individual Afghans as well as the development of the entire country”.
Steffen Seibert said Monday that “these are bitter developments, when looking at them against the background of the years-long missions of the Western community of states.”
Qatari foreign minister Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, speaking in Jordan on Monday, called for stability for the Afghan people.
“There is an international concern about the escalation of events in Afghanistan and we stress the importance of not compromising the security of the Afghani people, and the importance of establishing stability in Afghanistan as soon as possible,” he said.
The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan is a “failure of the international community”, the UK’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Monday, assessing that the West’s intervention was a job only half-done.
“All of us know that Afghanistan is not finished. It’s an unfinished problem for the world and the world needs to help it,” he told BBC television.
Wallace later told Sky News Wallace told Sky News it was “not on the cards that we’re going to go back”.