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Taliban commanders ‘take control’ of presidential palace as British troops arrive in Kabul

Taliban has seized all major cities apart from Kabul; leader orders militants to refrain from violence as Taliban enter the capital; Joe Biden defends his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan; US and British troops arrive to help evacuate diplomats.

Key points:

Taliban fighters have reached the capital Kabul – with leaders declaring victory over Afghan government

They have already seized Jalalabad, leaving just Kabul and seven provincial capitals under government control

All commercial flights from Kabul airport suspended – NATO official
Pentagon authorises deployment of another 1,000 troops after Joe Biden defends decision to pull out of Afghanistan as he sends 5,000 troops to help evacuation of allied forces and ‘those at special risk from the Taliban advance’ – as British troops arrive in Kabul

 

US diplomats urgently destroy sensitive documents as fewer than 50 embassy officials expected to stay in Kabul

A Taliban spokesman has told Al Jazeera that the militants did not expect the speed at which they won control of the country, especially in the capital, Kabul.

They added that they have channels of communication with the international community, and want to have relations with the world and not be isolated.

He goes on to say that the Taliban respects “women’s and minorities’ rights and freedom of expression in light of Sharia”.