politics

Photos Show Turmoil and Panic as Taliban Enter Afghanistan's Capital Kabul

Wakil Kohsar | AFP | Getty Images
  • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani left the country on Sunday evening, as the Taliban entered the presidential palace and declared the war "over."
  • The rapidly evolving situation has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes, with chaotic scenes at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Monday.
  • International aid groups have warned of a humanitarian crisis.

Taliban forces entered Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul on Sunday, effectively taking control of the country following the capture of one provincial city after another over recent weeks.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday evening, and the Taliban entered the presidential palace and declared the war "over." Ghani said he left to avoid bloodshed.

It marks a stunning end to the two-decade Western campaign in which U.S. and coalition forces sought to transform the country following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The rapidly evolving situation has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes. There were chaotic scenes Monday at Hamid Karzai International Airport as Afghans and foreign nationals fearing a return to Taliban rule desperately sought to escape the country.

The United Nations has cited continued reports of serious human rights abuses and violations in the communities most affected by the fighting. International aid groups have warned of a humanitarian crisis.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed particular concern Sunday about the future of women and girls in the country, saying hard-won rights "must be protected" and "all abuses must stop."

Thousands of Afghans rush to the Hamid Karzai International Airport as they try to flee the Afghan capital of Kabul

Thousands of Afghans rush to the Hamid Karzai International Airport as they try to flee the Afghan capital of Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 16, 2021.
Haroon Sabawoon | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Thousands of Afghans rush to the Hamid Karzai International Airport as they try to flee the Afghan capital of Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 16, 2021.

Taliban patrol the streets of Kabul

Taliban fighters patrol the streets of Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.
AFP | Getty Images
Taliban fighters patrol the streets of Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.

Afghans crowd the tarmac of Kabul airport on Monday to flee the country

Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport on August 16, 2021, to flee the country as the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and conceded the insurgents had won the 20-year war.
AFP | Getty Images
Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport on August 16, 2021, to flee the country as the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and conceded the insurgents had won the 20-year war.

An Afghan family rushes to the Hamid Karzai International Airport as they flee the Afghan capital

An Afghan family rushes to the Hamid Karzai International Airport as they flee the Afghan capital of Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 16, 2021.
Haroon Sabawoon | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
An Afghan family rushes to the Hamid Karzai International Airport as they flee the Afghan capital of Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 16, 2021.

A US soldier (C) point his gun towards an Afghan passenger at the Kabul airport

A US soldier (C) point his gun towards an Afghan passenger at the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.
Wakil Kohsar | AFP | Getty Images
A US soldier (C) point his gun towards an Afghan passenger at the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.

Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace in Kabul

Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021.
Zabi Karimi | AP
Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021.

A Taliban fighter (R) searches the bags of people coming out of the Kabul airport

A Taliban fighter (R) searches the bags of people coming out of the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.
Wakil Kohsar | AFP | Getty Images
A Taliban fighter (R) searches the bags of people coming out of the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.

A man pulls a girl to get inside Hamid Karzai International Airport

A man pulls a girl to get inside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 16, 2021.
Stringer | Reuters
A man pulls a girl to get inside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 16, 2021.

Long lines seen outside a bank in Kabul

Afghan people line up outside AZIZI Bank to take out cash as the Bank suffers amid money crises in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 15, 2021.
Haroon Sabawoon | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Afghan people line up outside AZIZI Bank to take out cash as the Bank suffers amid money crises in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 15, 2021.

A U.S. military helicopter is pictured flying above the U.S. embassy in Kabul

A U.S. military helicopter is pictured flying above the U.S. embassy in Kabul on August 15, 2021.
WAKIL KOHSAR | AFP | Getty Images
A U.S. military helicopter is pictured flying above the U.S. embassy in Kabul on August 15, 2021.

Taliban fighters stand guard in a vehicle along the roadside in Kabul

Taliban fighters stand guard in a vehicle along the roadside in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.
AFP | Getty Images
Taliban fighters stand guard in a vehicle along the roadside in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.

Stranded Afghan nationals arrive to return back to Afghanistan at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman

Stranded Afghan nationals arrive to return back to Afghanistan at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman on August 16, 2021 as the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and conceded the insurgents had won the 20-year war.
AFP | Getty Images
Stranded Afghan nationals arrive to return back to Afghanistan at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point in Chaman on August 16, 2021 as the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and conceded the insurgents had won the 20-year war.

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani addresses the nation in a message in Kabul on Aug. 14th. Ghani then fled the country

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani attends a security meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan August 14, 2021.
Afghan Presidential Palace | Reuters
Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani attends a security meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan August 14, 2021.

President Joe Biden is seen during a meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris, their security team and senior officials to obtain updates on the ongoing security situation in Kabul

U.S. President Joe Biden is seen during a meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris, their security team and senior officials to obtain updates on the draw down of civilian personnel in Afghanistan, evacuations of SIV applicants and other Afghan allies, and the ongoing security situation in Kabul, in this handout photo obtained from The White House Twitter account on August 16, 2021.
Twitter @WhiteHouse | via Reuters
U.S. President Joe Biden is seen during a meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris, their security team and senior officials to obtain updates on the draw down of civilian personnel in Afghanistan, evacuations of SIV applicants and other Afghan allies, and the ongoing security situation in Kabul, in this handout photo obtained from The White House Twitter account on August 16, 2021.

Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, Ghulam M. Isaczai waits to speak during a UN security council meeting on Afghanistan

Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, Ghulam M. Isaczai waits to speak during a UN security council meeting on Afghanistan on August 16, 2021 at the United Nations in New York.
Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images
Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, Ghulam M. Isaczai waits to speak during a UN security council meeting on Afghanistan on August 16, 2021 at the United Nations in New York.

US soldiers take up their positions as they secure the airport in Kabul

US soldiers take up their positions as they secure the airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.
Shakib Rahmani | AFP | Getty images
US soldiers take up their positions as they secure the airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule.

Displaced Afghans at a makeshift IDP camp in Share-e-Naw park in Kabul

Charyar,70, from the Balkh province sits alongside his family at a makeshift IDP camp in Share-e-Naw park to various mosques and schools on August 12, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Paula Bronstein | Getty Images
Charyar,70, from the Balkh province sits alongside his family at a makeshift IDP camp in Share-e-Naw park to various mosques and schools on August 12, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

A mother sits with her children in a tent at a makeshift IDP camp in Share-e-Naw park

Farzia, 28, who lost her husband in Baghlan one week ago to fighting by the Taliban sits with her children, Subhan, 5, and Ismael ,2, in a tent at a makeshift IDP camp in Share-e-Naw park to various mosques and schools on August 12, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Paula Bronstein | Getty Images
Farzia, 28, who lost her husband in Baghlan one week ago to fighting by the Taliban sits with her children, Subhan, 5, and Ismael ,2, in a tent at a makeshift IDP camp in Share-e-Naw park to various mosques and schools on August 12, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

A worker at a beauty salon paints over a large photo of a woman on the wall in Kabul

A worker at a beauty salon paints over a large photo of a woman on the wall in Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021, following news that the Taliban swept into the Afghan capital.
Kyodo | AP
A worker at a beauty salon paints over a large photo of a woman on the wall in Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021, following news that the Taliban swept into the Afghan capital.

Afghans wait in long lines for hours at the passport office, desperate to get their travel documents

Afghans wait in long lines for hours at the passport office as many are desperate to have their travel documents ready to go on August 14, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Paula Bronstein | Getty Images
Afghans wait in long lines for hours at the passport office as many are desperate to have their travel documents ready to go on August 14, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Displaced Afghan women and children from Kunduz pray at a mosque that is sheltering them

Displaced Afghan women and children from Kunduz pray at a mosque that is sheltering them on August 13, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Paula Bronstein | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Displaced Afghan women and children from Kunduz pray at a mosque that is sheltering them on August 13, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Germany's Bundeswehr prepares to evacuate German citizens and local Afghan forces from Kabul

Airbus A400M transport aircraft of the German Air Force stand at the Wunstorf air base in the Hanover region. In view of the rapid advance of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Bundeswehr plans to begin evacuating German citizens and local Afghan forces from Kabul on Monday Aug. 16th.
Julian Stratenschulte | picture alliance | Getty Images
Airbus A400M transport aircraft of the German Air Force stand at the Wunstorf air base in the Hanover region. In view of the rapid advance of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Bundeswehr plans to begin evacuating German citizens and local Afghan forces from Kabul on Monday Aug. 16th.

Demonstrators shout "Peace in Afghanistan" and hold up signs as they gather in front of the White House in Washington

Ken Cedeno |Reuters
Demonstrators shout "Peace in Afghanistan" and hold up signs as they gather in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., August 15, 2021 on the day Taliban insurgents entered Afghanistan's capital Kabul.

Jan Runyon visits her husband George William Runyon's grave site at Arlington National Cemetery on the day Taliban insurgents entered Afghanistan's capital Kabul

Jan Runyon visits her husband George William Runyon's grave site in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., August 15, 2021 on the day Taliban insurgents entered Afghanistan's capital Kabul.
Ken Cedeno | Reuters
Jan Runyon visits her husband George William Runyon's grave site in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., August 15, 2021 on the day Taliban insurgents entered Afghanistan's capital Kabul.
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