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Taliban raises its flag above presidential palace in Kabul

Taliban also announced that its forces had assumed responsibility for the security of the presidential palace

CAIRO, August 16. /TASS/. The radical Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) has hoisted its flag above the presidential palace in Kabul late on Sunday, the Al Jazeera television reported.

The television aired footage from the residence of fugitive President Ashraf Ghani, showing Taliban commanders and soldiers celebrating their victory in palace halls and in Ghani’s office. One of the commanders told the channel that their arrival to the capital "met no objection from the United States." Moreover, he claimed that the movement coordinated the deployment of its forces in some of Kabul’s districts with the US side, avoiding facilities "held by the US forces."

The Taliban also announced that its forces had assumed responsibility for the security of the presidential palace.

The Taliban forces have also taken control over the state television’s main office, and are currently holding a live broadcast, calling upon city residents "to stay calm."

Taliban units have started to arrive to Kabul from other regions of the country.

A TASS source in the Afghan capital said shooting was heard occasionally on the city streets, and heavy weaponry was being used. Blasts are also heard, but any information about events in the city is scarce, because "leaving houses is not advised." In his words, military transport planes, presumably US ones, are taking off approximately every 50 minutes from the airport of Kabul.

Militants of the radical Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) entered Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Sunday, meeting no resistance, and started to take control of governmental offices and police stations, abandoned by pro-government forces. Sporadic clashes were reported on the city’s outskirts, but no information about casualties is available so far. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has left the country, and, according to latest reports, arrived to Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent.

Afghanistan’s acting Interior Minister Abdul Sattar Mirzakval imposed a night-time curfew in the city starting from 21:00 local time (19:30 Moscow time) in order to prevent provocations and maintain the security of the civilian population. Many diplomatic missions are evacuating their personnel and citizens, but the Taliban guaranteed total security to all foreigners.