Taliban member Najeebullah Karokhi said around 3,000 people had been granted amnesty.
“Those coming from other provinces will receive a three-day temporary amnesty letter so they can go to their home provinces, where they must receive another long-term amnesty letter from our officials,” he said.
In the shaded part of a courtyard on the site, hundreds sat patiently while a man with amnesty certificates called out one name after another for them to be collected.
The mundane 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 fief – had vowed to defend the city with his militia and urged government forces to show more backbone.
But the city’s defenses vanished seemingly overnight as troops retreated to a base outside the city and Khan was captured by the Taliban.
The warlord’s spokesman said he was allowed to return to his residence after talks with the Taliban, but it was unclear exactly what had been agreed between the two.
“We had to leave the city to prevent further destruction,” a senior Herat government security source told AFP.
The fear of Taliban revenge is not unfounded: the insurgents brutally punished their opponents and anyone who violated their strict Islamic laws when they were in power from 1996 to 2001.
They were recently accused of committing war crimes, including massacres of civilians and soldiers outside of combat.
The insurgents deny committing such atrocities.