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It is now the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as President, diplomats flee Kabul

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Image Credits: Al Jazeera, REUTERS/Stringer.

In picture above: Taliban leaders inside the presidential palace [Screen grab/ Al Jazeera]

“The war is over in Afghanistan. We have reached what we were seeking, the freedom of our country and the independence of our people, a spokesman for the Taliban told the television news outfit, Al Jazeera, on Sunday as the Afghan President and a plethora of diplomats fled the capital, Kabul.

The spokesman said the Taliban did not think foreign forces would “repeat their failed experience in Afghanistan again”.

Earlier on Sunday, the Taliban were pictured inside the presidential palace. They claim to have taken control of 11 district centres in the capital.

A Taliban fighter looks on as he stands at the city of Ghazni, Afghanistan August 14, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer

According to Associated Press (AP), a Taliban official says the group will soon declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace in the capital.

The Taliban insurgents entered Kabul on Sunday and President Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed, bringing the Islamist militants close to taking over the country two decades after they were overthrown by a U.S.-led invasion.

It was not yet clear where Ghani has fled to even as a senior Interior Ministry official said Ghani had left for Tajikistan.

It also uncertain how exactly power would be transferred following the Taliban’s quick sweep across Afghanistan in the past few weeks.

Their advance accelerated as U.S. and other foreign troops withdrew in line with President Joe Biden’s desire to end America’s longest war, launched after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

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But earlier, two Taliban officials told Reuters there would be no transitional government as the Taliban said it was waiting for the government to surrender peacefully.

Though there is a fear of the return to strict Islamic injunctions, the Taliban have sought to push out a more humane front, promising to respect women’s rights and protect both foreigners and Afghans.

“We assure the people, particularly in the city of Kabul, that their properties, their lives are safe,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told the BBC, saying a transfer of power was expected in days.

(with agency reports)

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