Taliban declares 'war is over', chaos engulfs airport

The Taliban declared the war in Afghanistan was over on Monday after they took control of the presidential palace in Kabul.

In a video released from the Taliban in an unidentified location, deputy leader Mullah Bararda Akhund made their address:

"We congratulate the great victory to the whole Afghan nation especially to the people of Kabul and to our Mujahideens. The way we have come through was unexpected as we have reached the position which was never expected. But, with the help of Allah, that he has given us, the victory and there is nothing like this in the history of the world, so we should thank Allah."

It has taken the Taliban just over a week to seize control of the country after a lightning sweep that ended in Kabul.

Afghan forces, trained for years and equipped by the U.S. at a cost of billions of dollars - faded away.

On Sunday, President Ashraf Ghani fled the country saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed.

Hundreds of Afghans flooded Kabul's airport in the dark, desperate to leave on one of the last commercial flights before U.S. forces took over air traffic control.

On Monday, U.S. officials said troops fired in the air to prevent hundreds of civilians from running on the tarmac.

A Taliban leader told Reuters that the insurgents were regrouping in different provinces, and would wait until foreign forces had left the country before creating a new governance structure.

The leader, who requested to be anonymous, said Taliban fighters had been "ordered to allow Afghans to resume daily activities and do nothing to scare civilians."

Many Afghans fear the Taliban will return to past harsh practices in their imposition of sharia, or Islamic religious law.

During their rule from 1996 to 2001, women could not work and punishments included stoning and hanging.

The Taliban appears to be trying to project a moderate image in statements and to media outlets.

A spokesman told the BBC that women will have access to education and work.

Meanwhile, U.S. Present Joe Biden has faced rising domestic criticism - after sticking to his predecessor Donald Trump's plan to end America's longest war, launched two decades ago.

The U.S ferried embassy staff out by helicopters on Sunday.

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

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