The Afghan government and the army is folding faster than the Taliban can advance, as the city of Jalalabad fell to the Taliban without a shot. The last major population center remaining is the capital of Kabul.

Jalalabad, the key eastern city near the border of Pakistan, which is also the capital of Nangarhar province, surrendered early on Sunday morning. Its fall followed the Taliban’s seizure of Mazar-i-Sharif, a major northern city on Saturday. 

The Associated Press reported that according to Abrarullah Murad, a legislator from Nangarhar province, the Taliban moved into Jalalabad after elders negotiated the fall of the government there.

“There are no clashes taking place right now in Jalalabad because the governor has surrendered to the Taliban,” an Afghan official said to Reuters. “Allowing passage to the Taliban was the only way to save civilian lives.”

Taliban enter Herat
Taliban fighters enter the city of Herat earlier this weekend. (Reuters)

On Saturday, Taliban fighters entered Mazar-i-Sharif unopposed as security forces dropped their weapons, abandoned their equipment, and escaped up the highway to neighboring Uzbekistan about 50 miles north of the city, provincial officials said toAl Jazeera. 

Now, Taliban fighters are entering the capital of Kabul on all sides as the collapse of Afghanistan’s government is accelerating at a breakneck pace. Despite the proclamations of the U.S. government a few months ago that the U.S. withdrawal will not result in a chaotic “fall of Saigon”-type of evacuation, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said in April, that is exactly what is playing out. 

AFP photographers showed U.S. Chinook helicopters ferrying American diplomats and civilians out of the U.S. Embassy, en route to the airport. Afghan troops have abandoned the airport to U.S. and Turkish control. 

Just a week ago, U.S. intelligence estimates said that the Taliban could isolate the capital in 30 days and threaten to take it in 90. “But this is not a foregone conclusion,” the unnamed intelligence official said.