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Taliban fighters have taken over the glitzy Kabul mansion of ex-VP

Taliban fighters have taken over the glitzy Kabul mansion of one of their fiercest enemies – the warlord and fugitive ex-vice president Dostum

  • Abdul Rashid Dostum, 67, is a former warlord, and vice president 
  • He is a staunch opponent of the Taliban and has fought them for 30 years
  • He was forced to flee last month as the Taliban swept to power
  • His mansion in Kabul is packed with luxurious furniture and opulent decorations
  • It also contains a spa, an indoor swimming pool and a huge tropical greenhouse
  • It is now held by 150 Taliban fighters, but their commander has said the Islamists will not live a luxurious life 

Taliban fighters have taken over the glitzy Kabul mansion of one of their fiercest enemies.

Abdul Rashid Dostum is a former warlord, communist commander and vice president whose hatred of the Taliban saw him engage in battles with the Islamists throughout the last 30 years. 

The Afghan government hoped that his anti-Taliban stance and military guile would see Dostum, 67, take up arms and rally a group of fighters to repel the Taliban, but the aging warlord was forced to flee into his native Uzbekistan in mid-August as the Taliban swept to power across Afghanistan.

Now, his decadent villa in the Sherpur neighbourhood of Kabul, which contains luxurious carpets, lavish chandeliers, an indoor swimming pool and tropical greenhouse, is home to 150 rank and file Taliban fighters who condemn such luxury as the proceeds of years of endemic corruption.

Another of Dostum’s opulent strongholds in the northern city of Mazar-i-sharif was taken in early August, where over the years several officials illegally seized land to build luxurious palaces.

Qari Salahuddin Ayoubi (left), one of the military commanders of the Taliban, takes a seat in the opulent villa of warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum in the Sherpur neighbourhood of Kabul

Dostum’s palace in Kabul contains a tropical greenhouse of several hundred square feet, packed with exotic plants and lavish furniture

Taliban fighters have taken over the glitzy Kabul mansion of one of their fiercest enemies — the warlord and fugitive ex-vice president Dostum

Taliban fighters were pictured taking selfies inside Dostum’s palace, but Taliban commanders have warned they can not get used to the new-found luxury

Afghan General Abdul Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek, is a staunch opponent of the Taliban and has fought in battles against the group over the course of three decades

The luxury found within Dostum’s mansion would be unimaginable for most ordinary Afghans.

Along an endless corridor with a thick apple-green carpet, exotic fish glide above in huge fish tanks, while plants sprout in a tropical greenhouse spanning several hundred square feet.

Huge glass chandeliers hang in cavernous halls, large soft sofas furnish a maze of lounges and an indoor swimming pool is finished with intricate turquoise tiles.

It even boasts a sauna, a Turkish steam bath and a fully equipped gym.

It is an out of this world experience for the new occupants, who for years sacrificed creature comforts for rebellion – living in the plains, valleys and mountains of rural Afghanistan.

But the new head of the household – now the military commander of four provinces – makes it clear his men will not get used to the luxury.

Qari Salahuddin Ayoubi – one of the new regime’s most powerful commanders – installed his company of 150 men in the mansion but insisted that the Taliban will never live in such decadent surroundings.

‘Islam never wants us to have a luxurious life,’ Ayoubi told AFP, adding luxury comes in paradise, ‘the life after death’.   

In one wing of the enormous house, Taliban fighters were seen relaxing in a massive tropical greenhouse of several hundred square metres under a huge glass roof.

That is overlooked by a mezzanine dominated by a dark wood bar – a testament to the reported decadent tastes of a general renowned for a penchant for late nights and strong liquor.

In one wing of the enormous house, Taliban fighters were seen relaxing in a massive tropical greenhouse of several hundred square metres under a huge glass roof

Along an endless corridor with a thick apple-green carpet, exotic fish glide above in huge fish tanks, while exotic plants sprout in a tropical greenhouse spanning several hundred square feet.

The new head of the household – now the military commander of four provinces – makes it clear his men will not get used to the luxury

The luxury found within Dostum’s mansion would be unimaginable for most ordinary Afghans

Dostum is widely suspected to have hugely profited from the corruption and embezzlement that discredited the former government. 

A former paratrooper, communist commander, warlord and vice president, he was the very definition of a cunning political survivor who weathered over four decades of conflict in war-torn Afghanistan.

Before 9/11 he was an infamous warlord who fought in the Soviet-Afghan war of the 80s and against the Taliban in the 90s, before he became a key US ally during the 20 year campaign against the Taliban.

Dostum has a reputation for ruthless military aggression and was known for crushing prisoners alive beneath the wheels of a tank.

The hatred he holds for the Taliban is very much mutual. In 2001, he was accused of killing more than 2,000 Taliban fighters in a horrific manner – death by container.

A favourite of several Afghan warlords, death by container would see enemy fighters and prisoners locked in metal shipping containers in the middle of the desert where they suffocated under a scorching sun.

But Commander Ayoubi has thus far appeared reluctant to seek out and exact revenge.

‘If other people who had been oppressed like us came here, you would not have seen the chairs and tables. They might have destroyed them,’ he said.

But the new regime will not allow such luxury to be built with ill-gotten gains in the future, he said.

‘We are on the side of the poor.’

One of Dostum’s other decadent villas in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif was overrun by Taliban fighters in mid-August, who videoed themselves lounging on his gold furniture and inspecting his golden tea set.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=8dCuSBJtZlk%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1
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