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Taliban enter presidential palace in Kabul after Afghan president leaves country, say NO transitional government on the table

Taliban enter presidential palace in Kabul after Afghan president leaves country, say NO transitional government on the table
Taliban commanders have apparently taken control of the presidential palace in Kabul shortly after President Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan. The group says it expects a total handover of power.

Taliban militants entered the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday, after a whirlwind advance that saw them take most of the country’s provinces and cities – some without firing a shot – on the heels of the US military withdrawal. Amid negotiations to surrender, US-backed President Ashraf Ghani departed shortly afterwards, reportedly bound for Tajikistan.

By Sunday evening, Taliban commanders told Reuters they had entered Ghani’s presidential palace and taken control of the building. Al Jazeera then aired exclusive footage from the palace showing a group of armed militants gathering around a table.

Though Taliban leaders and representatives of Ghani’s government had been participating in peace talks in Qatar for several months, a power-sharing deal had evidently not been reached before Ghani took off. Two officials from the Islamist group told Reuters there would be no transitional government, and it expects a complete handover of power.

Outside the palace, the Taliban moved quickly to assert control over the Afghan capital. Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the group, claimed on Sunday night that his men had “conquered” 11 districts of the city and were providing “security.” Amid reports that the group would soon declare an “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” US and other foreign diplomats and staff thronged Kabul airport in a bid to flee the country.

Also on rt.com President Ghani leaves Afghanistan, top official confirms, as US-backed govt relinquishes power to Taliban

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