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Taliban declares 'victory', "God was on our side"


One of the Taliban's most senior officials has declared that the movement's swift victory over the Afghan government was an "unrivalled feat", welcoming the prospect of again governing Afghanistan 20 years after the US intervention began. 

In a brief video statement released late on Sunday, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the head of the Taliban's political bureau and its co-founder, said the "unexpected victory", which saw all of the country's major cities fall within a week, was swift and unprecedented.

'We did not expect to succeed this way, but God was on our side,' says head of Taliban political bureau and co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, declaring victory in Afghanistan

Not long after Baradar's announcement, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem told the Qatar-based Al Jazeera news channel that the war in Afghanistan is over and that the group can assure the international community that it will provide safety for Afghan citizens and diplomatic missions.

"We are ready to have a dialogue with all Afghan figures and will guarantee them the necessary protection," Naeem said.

Noting President Ghani's decision to leave the country, Naeem said that it wasn't taken into account and "even those close to him did not expect it". 

"We have reached what we were seeking, which is the freedom of our country and the independence of our people," he said.

"We will not allow anyone to use our lands to target anyone, and we do not want to harm others," he continued, adding that the Taliban won't interfere in the affairs of others and, in return, won't allow interference in their affairs.

"We do not think that foreign forces will repeat their failed experience in Afghanistan once again," Naeem said while stressing the group's willingness to deal with the concerns of the international community through dialogue.

Suhail Shaheen Taliban spokesperson on twitter assured, “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is not interested in anyone's private property, (not in anyone's cars, land, houses, markets and shops), rather it considers protection of lives and properties of the nation its primary responsibility.”

"There are reports of the airport taking fire; therefore we are instructing US citizens to shelter in place," the US embassy said in a security alert earlier on Sunday.

Naeem, the Taliban spokesman, said that no diplomatic body or any of its headquarters have been targeted.