New video out of Afghanistan on Sunday showed Taliban fighters celebrating inside the country’s presidential palace in Kabul.
In the video, provided by Al Jazeera, armed men are seen walking the halls and sitting in the chair of President Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country just hours earlier.
The extraordinary images of Taliban fighters inside the palace at the nation's capital showed them lounging in chairs, strolling around with their guns and taking pictures of each other. The fighters were seen giving a tour to an Al Jazeera journalist, and at one point a fighter rolled up an Afghan flag in the palace and put it on a mantle.
Ghani left the country earlier on Sunday as Taliban fighters in Kabul reached the brink of taking complete political power in Afghanistan. His departure came after a quick Taliban offensive across the country toppled city after city, spurred by an end to the U.S. military presence after two decades.
On Sunday, Afghan forces at Bagram air base — which once saw more than 100,000 U.S. troops pass through its gates — surrendered to the Taliban, two U.S. defense officials told NBC News.
U.S. forces are evacuating all staff from the city's American embassy via Kabul's airport after Biden authorized the deployment of roughly 6,000 troops to the country.
The Taliban advance and ensuing collapse of the Afghan government has sent civilians fleeing their home both from the fighting and the prospect of a return to the harsh Islamist regime that ruled the country before 2001. In Kabul, hundreds gathered in front of private banks trying to withdraw their life savings.