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President of Afghanistan leaves the country

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KABUL, Afghanistan, (AP) - Afghanistan's embattled president has left the country, joining his fellow citizens and foreigners in a stampede fleeing the advancing Taliban. The exodus signals the end of a 20-year Western experiment aimed at remaking Afghanistan.

The Taliban said they would soon declare the restoration of their rule from the presidential palace in Kabul after earlier moving into the city. Kabul is gripped by panic, and helicopters raced overhead to evacuate personnel from the U.S. Embassy.

Several other Western missions also prepared to pull their people out. Afghans fearing that the Taliban could reimpose the kind of brutal rule that all but eliminated women's rights rushed to leave the country as well.

Taliban official says they will soon declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace in Kabul.

RELATED: US Embassy evacuations underway in Kabul, Taliban awaiting 'peaceful transfer' of power

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