From Kabul Presidential Palace, Taliban claim victory: “Unparalleled Performance”

The Taliban proclaimed victory from the presidential palace in Kabul. According to one of the Taliban leaders, Mullah Baradar, it is an unparalleled achievement, but the real work is only beginning now: effectively governing Afghanistan and solving problems for the population.

The government has not yet responded to the claim made by the extremist group, who already ruled the country for the U.S. invasion in 2001, but overseas President Ghani on Facebook acknowledged that the Taliban won the power struggle.

A Taliban spokesperson said at the beginning of the evening that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan would soon be declared from the palace, but that hasnt happened yet. However, video from news channel Al-Jazeera shows that fighters and commanders of the extremist movement are walking around the building:

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the end of the afternoon (Dutch time), the Taliban ordered their troops to enter the city centre. According to the movement, thats to guard public order after the police leave.

Shortly before it became clear that President Ghani fled the country. On Facebook, he writes it was a difficult decision. According to him, there might have been a huge humanitarian disaster if he had stayed in Kabul. He suggests that Taliban fighters would have started an unrewarding offensive.

Have Win Taliban

He also writes that the Taliban won the battle and calls on the extremist movement to come up with a clear plan to remove fear and uncertainty among the population. He doesnt say where he is right now.

The presidential palace is located in the center of the city, in the so-called green zone. Thats normally Kabuls most secure and impenetrable neighborhood, full of embassies and offices of Western relief organizations, says correspondent Aletta André. But pictures show that checkpoints have now been abandoned. There has actually been no resistance to the Taliban all day.

The situation in the capital is very unclear. Explosions and gunfire have been heard in multiple places in the city, but the Afghan government claimed this afternoon that there were no large-scale battles.

Forty injured were brought in at a hospital in Kabul, a social media relief organization reports. Patients would have been injured in battles in the Qarabagh region, about 100 kilometres from Kabul.

Airport Getting Bat

The U.S. Embassy reports that the capitals airport has been shot at. US citizens were called on to seek cover and not come to the embassy or airport.

NATO chief Stoltenberg said that the airport remains open and that NATO troops ensure security. All commercial flights have been deleted to make room for military aircraft evacuations. The Taliban does not want to take the airport.

Western countries have in great haste evacuated their embassies in the Afghan capital. For example, the American flag was ironed at the embassy and most of the staff left.

Until three days ago, the US State Department insisted that there would be no evacuation. The Netherlands already evacuated the embassy in Kabul last night and moved it to a location near the airport.

Government Stands Powerless

The big question now is whether a transitional government is coming. Two Taliban officials have told Reuters news agency they wont accept such an interim government. The Taliban want power to be fully transferred to them. There seems to be little to help the government, says correspondent Aletta André.

Members of the partly fled Afghan Cabinet have said that an interim government will be discussed tomorrow in Qatar.

Fast Advance

In April, the US announced that all its troops withdraw from Afghanistan by September 1. After that, the Taliban, which had already been in power before the 2001 invasion, launched a major offensive.

The last few weeks have gone fast: at a rapid pace, the groups fighters have recaped the countrys most important cities and now they seem to have Kabul in their hands too.