Taliban fighters take control of the Afghan presidential palace

AFGHANISTA – (WARSOOR) – Taliban fighters take control of the Afghan presidential palace after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, August 15.

Ghani, along with his vice president and other senior officials, flew out of Afghanistan on Sunday, setting the stage for Taliban insurgents to regain power in the country 20 years after a U.S.-led military invasion ousted them.

Ghani issued a statement on Facebook later Sunday, saying he left the country to prevent bloodshed. He landed in Tajikistan then left soon after for an unknown destination, RFE/RL reported.

The Taliban swept through most of the country in a little more than a week and reached the gates of the capital, Kabul, on Saturday. The insurgents initially stayed out of the city, maintaining they wanted a “peaceful transition of power” to spare Kabul of any violence.

Sunday morning, a Taliban delegation engaged prominent Afghan jihadi leaders, politicians and elders in negotiations that culminated in Ghani stepping down from office, sources directly aware of the developments told VOA.

Under a deal reportedly reached, a delegation of Afghan leaders would travel to Qatar, where “the transfer of power to the Taliban” will formally take place, sources told VOA.

The speed of the Taliban offensive has shocked both locals and the international community. While violence in the country has been high since 2020, after the Taliban signed a deal with the United States, the latest campaign against Afghan cities has been unexpectedly fast.

The U.S. is sending 1,000 troops, in addition to the 3,000 troops that were ordered last week, to help evacuate U.S. Embassy staff. Helicopters are reported ferrying staff to the Kabul airport.

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