Taliban
Snapshot of Taliban leaders seen in presidential palance in Kabul. Image credit - Al Jazeera

Taliban entered the Afghanistan capital, Kabul and took control of the presidential palace.

This has been confirmed by a top Taliban official as quoted by an Al Jazeera report.

The Taliban official was quoted as saying that the real test of governing is set to begin after the group entered Kabul.

In a brief video statement on Sunday, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who heads the Taliban’s political bureau, said the test would begin with meeting the expectations of Afghans and resolving their problems.

Al Jazeera claimed it obtained exclusive footage of Taliban leaders, surrounded by dozens of armed fighters, addressing the media from the country’s seat of power on Sunday.

Also read: President Ashraf Ghani, close aides leave Afghanistan after Taliban enters Kabul

The group entered the palace after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country amid the Taliban’s rapid advance.

The group captured 26 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals in less than two weeks.

Later, Ghani in a statement posted on Facebook said he fled to prevent further bloodshed.

“The Taliban have won with the judgement of their swords and guns, and are now responsible for the honour, property and self-preservation of their countrymen,” Ghani said.

Several countries, such as Germany and Canada, are closing their embassies in Kabul while the US and France have moved their embassies to the airport, from where reports of firing have come in.

Meanwhile, NATO is maintaining its diplomatic presence in Kabul and helping to keep the city’s airport running, said the report.

The report quoted a NATO official as saying that all commercial flights have been suspended, with only military aircraft allowed to operate.

India is gearing up to evacuate hundreds of its officials and citizens from Kabul.

It has been reported that a fleet of C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force is kept on standby to undertake evacuation missions.

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