Presidential palace in Kabul “handed over” to the Taliban

The presidential palace in Kabul has now been “handed over” to the Taliban, vacated just hours ago by government officials, including former President Ashraf Ghani who has fled the country.

According to the Al Jazeera network, which broadcast scenes of the Taliban live from the palace, one of the Taliban officials said that Kabul was a different city to the one they left 20 years ago.

“Securing Kabul is a huge responsibility. It’s different from the city we left 20 years ago,” Al Jazeera reported, quoting the Taliban official at the palace.

The Al Jazeera correspondent at the palace reported that three Afghan government officials were present for the palace “handover” to the Taliban.

A Taliban security official then said that “no blood was shed in the handover.” He also said there is a “peaceful handover of government facilities ongoing across the country.”

One of the Taliban officials also said that they want an all-inclusive government in Afghanistan.

He further said that Taliban leader as well as two of his deputies are now in Afghanistan and that they will come to Kabul when the security situation improves.

Another Taliban member present for the ceremony, spoke briefly in English to say he had formerly been held by the US in Guantanamo.

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