Taliban member Najeebullah Karokhi said around 3,000 people were given amnesty.
“Those who are from other provinces will be provided a three-day temporary amnesty letter so they can get to their home provinces, where they need to get another long-term amnesty letter from our officials,” he said.
In the shaded part of a courtyard on the compound, hundreds sat patiently as a man holding amnesty slips shouted names one by one for them to be collected.
The banal bureaucratic process belied the shocking speed and efficiency of the Taliban’s victories across Afghanistan.
Just weeks ago, a defiant and angry Ismail Khan – who ruled Herat as his fiefdom – had vowed to defend the city with his militia, and called on government forces to show more backbone.
But the city’s defences seemingly evaporated overnight as troops retreated to a base outside the city and Khan was captured by the Taliban.
The warlord’s spokesman said he had been allowed to return to his residence following talks with the Taliban, but it was unclear exactly what deal had been cut between the two.
“We had to leave the city in order to prevent further destruction,” a senior government security source from Herat told AFP.
The fear of Taliban revenge is not unfounded: The insurgents have imposed brutal punishments on opponents, and anyone who violated their harsh brand of Islamic law when they were in power from 1996 to 2001.
They have recently been accused of committing war crimes, including massacres of civilians and soldiers outside combat.
The insurgents deny committing such atrocities.