Late on August 15, senior officials of the Taliban spoke to the Al Jazeera from the personal office of former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in the Presidential Palace in the capital, Kabul.
A few hours earlier, the Taliban entered Kabul. The group’s fighters took over the city that was abandoned by government forces. The group said that the step is meant to “prevent chaos and theft” in the capital.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) August 15, 2021
Taliban commanders and armed groups who took control of the presidential palace of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
Al Jazeera exclusive
— Tomimatsu Koichi 冨松耕一 (@yorozuyanet) August 15, 2021
— FJ (@Natsecjeff) August 15, 2021
One of the officials told Al Jazeera that all government buildings in Kabul are now under the control of Taliban fighters. The official went on to assure Afghan officials as well as army and security commanders that their safety will be guaranteed by the group.
“We entered here after twenty years of fighting foreign forces, and we preferred that Kabul be handed over peacefully,” the official said.
Another official of the Taliban, the central security commander, revealed that the group’s leadership is preparing to return to Kabul from Qatar.
The interview was held following reports of explosions near the Presidential Palace, the US Embassy and in other parts of Kabul. Some sources speculated that the explosions may have been the result of US strikes.
While Al Jazeera was airing the interview, Ghani, who reportedly arrived in Oman, issued a statement saying that he chose to resign from his position in order to prevent bloodshed. The former President claimed that the Taliban was preparing a large attack on Kabul.
Meanwhile, the situation in Kabul Airport remains chaotic. The US military announced that all commercial flights from and to the airport were suspended. Military evacuation is, however, still ongoing. Earlier, shots were reportedly fired at US troops evacuating American diplomats and citizens via the airport.
The future of Afghanistan seems uncertain. While many sources said that a plan to form an interim government is being finalized, sources close to the Taliban said that the group will soon announce the return of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”.
- Taliban Takes Over Presidential Palace In Kabul As Chaos Continue In Capital Airport (Videos, Photos)
- Ex-Afghani President Now In Dushanbe, As Ex-Afghani Army Transfers Positions To Taliban In Kabul