A Taliban official said that the group raised their flag over the Afghan presidential palace in a brief ceremony on Saturday — the same day the U.S. and the world marked the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The milestone anniversary takes place just weeks after the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the return to power of the Taliban, the faction that sheltered the al-Qaida terror network founded by Osama bin Laden that carried out the attacks.
The Taliban’s new Prime Minister Mohammad Hasan Akhund raised the flag in a ceremony at 11 a.m. local time to mark the official start of work by the Taliban’s 33-member caretaker government, said Ahmadullahh Muttaqi, multimedia chief of the group’s cultural commission.
Earlier, another Taliban official said the religious militia’s black and white flag was first raised at the palace on Friday. The militant group has also painted their banner on the entry gate to the U.S. Embassy building.
The U.S. is marking the 9/11 anniversary with commemorations at New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Afghans leaving out the country
More than 250 foreign nationals have left Afghanistan in the past three days, says Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington’s special envoy and the architect of an often criticized deal with the Taliban.
The deal signed last year provided for the safe withdrawal of U.S and NATO troops but say his critics was heavily weighted in favor of the hardline-Islamic movement.
In a series of tweets Khalilzad praised both the Middle Eastern State of Qatar, whose national airline carried out the flights and the “Taliban’s cooperation in this important effort,” for the recent departure of foreign nationals from Afghanistan.
“We will continue to engage the government of Qatar, the Taliban, and others to ensure the safe passage of our citizens, other foreign nationals, and Afghans that want to leave,” Khalilzad tweeted.
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