Taliban militants on Sunday took over the Afghan capital and President Ashraf Ghani fled abroad, leaving the government in collapse, as a U.S.-led military operation began to airlift Western diplomats and civilians.

Media reports say demoralized Afghan security forces offered no resistance as the Taliban militants who seized most of the country in just over a week, appeared Sunday morning on Kabul’s outskirts.  While the Taliban initially said they wouldn’t enter the capital while a transitional government is being formed, they reversed their stance by nightfall, saying that someone needed to maintain public order after Afghan police deserted their posts.

“To prevent chaos and looting, the Islamic Emirate has ordered the mujahedeen to get control of the abandoned areas,” a Taliban statement said, according to The Wall Street Journal

The statement reportedly added that Taliban militants wouldn’t bother any civilian or military officials of the former regime.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who fled the presidential palace and spent Sunday morning at the U.S. Embassy, reportedly left the Afghan capital Sunday afternoon.