'Welcome to Kabul': Taliban take over golden era British hotel

Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul

The Taliban member advanced across the lobby to shake hands and beamed a smile: “Welcome to our hotel,” he said.

Moments earlier fighters had raised the movement's white banner up the pole outside, setting the Taliban flag above one of Kabul's most famous buildings.

The state-owned Inter-Continental Hotel has been a landmark in the Afghan capital since the late 1960s, through decades of war and political upheaval.

The latest round of the hotel's turbulent history has now seen it returned to the control of the austere Islamist movement, after the fall of Kabul and the Taliban's shock return to power a month ago.

A Taliban functionary called Mohammad Abdul Samad Tayeb has been given the unlikely job of Taliban hotelier, as deputy head of the Inter-Continental.

Speaking to the Telegraph in his office at the 200-bed hotel, he said he had been appointed first along with a detachment of fighters to keep the hotel ticking over and ensure it did not get looted.

“The first day when we captured the hotel, it was like a military zone. It will improve more in the future,” he said.

Hotel Intercontinental in Kabul – CAMERA PRESS

The hotel's Facebook page makes it clear the hotel wants to get back to business as normal, offering luxurious service and what it says are rooms fit for a king. Recent posts since the Taliban takeover have advertised its coffee shop, restaurants and function rooms.

Staff said the Taliban had inherited around a dozen guests and already a couple of foreigners caught in the capital had stayed there, including a German guest.

Waiters in black shirt and trousers continued to fuss around the lobby coffee shop, but Mr Tayeb said the hotel was short

staffed because large numbers had been laid off in the weeks prior to the fall of Kabul. “We are welcoming our staff back,” he said.

Taliban guards may now be securing the hotel, but it is the Taliban themselves who have been its biggest threat in recent years.

The building perched on a hill and set among several acres of garden became a high-profile target during the Taliban's bloody insurgency, with gunmen twice breaking in to murder guests and staff.

In January 2018, the hotel was stormed by gunmen who killed 22 people, including 14 foreigners. That attack was blamed on the Taliban's Haqqani network faction, led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is now the interior minister.

An Afghan security personnel stands guard as smoke billows from the Intercontinental Hotel during a fight between gunmen and Afghan security forces in Kabul on January 21, 2018 – WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP

Seven years earlier, the hotel had also been stormed, in another Taliban attack killing at least 21.

The hotel was built by British firm Taylor Woodrow and opened by the Afghan king in 1969. For many Kabul residents of a certain age it harks back to a golden era of the 1970s before the country was engulfed in war.

The hotel declares it is open to domestic and foreign guests, but with no commercial flights arriving in the country, it appears unlikely that many foreign guests will arrive soon.

The hotel was built by British firm Taylor Woodrow and opened by the Afghan king in 1969. For many Kabul residents of a certain age it harks back to a golden era of the 1970s before the country was engulfed in war.

The hotel declares it is open to domestic and foreign guests, but with no commercial flights arriving in the country, it appears unlikely that many foreign guests will arrive soon.

The Taliban foray into the tourism industry comes as fighters, many armed, have been appearing around Kabul's leisure attractions too, with gun-toting officials seen in the city's zoo on Friday.

Taliban soldiers cradling AK-47s and M16 assault rifles mingled among families, a novelty experience for many of the young fighters from rural Afghanistan.

As visitors set up picnic spots in the shaded grounds, enjoying ice creams and salted pomegranate seeds, heavily armed Taliban gunmen peer into the enclosures housing lions, leopards, camels, wolves, ostriches and macaques.

Hotel Intercontinental staff stack chairs – CAMERA PRESS

After years of fighting in the countryside, the capture of the capital was the first time many had entered a large city, let alone a zoo.

They take selfies and pose for group photos, but the relative tranquillity is upended suddenly when one fighter grabs a deer by its antlers and his friends roar with laughter.

One Taliban member, 40-year-old Abdul Qadir, who now works for the interior ministry, said he was sightseeing with a group of male friends.

“I really like the animals, especially those which can be found in our country,” he says. “I like lions very much.”

Asked about the armed presence – unheard of in other zoos around the world – he says the Taliban were in favour of barring guns from the venue so that “children or women should not feel scared”.

The zoo was long a haven for women, children and young lovers in a capital that has little public space for anyone but men.

A unit of six armed men from the Taliban's intelligence directorate – wearing full military fatigues, combat webbing bursting with ammunition and steel handcuffs, peaked caps and knee pads – huddle for a team picture with a turbaned mullah.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Danny Cowley sends defiant Portsmouth message

© Provided by Football League World League One – Portsmouth v Accrington Stanley Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley has told The News that he is determined to prove people wrong as ... Read more »

One in four Brits earn extra £530 a month - thanks to a second source of income

One in four Brits have taken to boosting their earnings with a secondary income stream – bringing in an extra £530 each month. Research of 2,000 employed adults found that ... Read more »

Lewis Hamilton explains his off track relationship with Max Verstappen ahead of US GP

Lewis Hamilton insists his relationship with Max Verstappen is “no different” from any other year, despite being embroiled in an intense tug of war for the lead of the Formula ... Read more »

Clips of Giovani Lo Celso failing at football vs Vitesse sum up Spurs' woeful performance

© GiveMeSport It was game to forget for Giovani Lo Celso… Tottenham face an uphill battle to stay in the Europa Conference League after slipping to a 1-0 defeat against ... Read more »

Ten-year-old Black girl arrested at school in Hawaii after drawing picture of pupil who was bullying her

© Getty Images iStock-458549705.jpg Police arrested a 10-year-old Black girl at her school in Hawaii after she drew a picture of a student who was bullying her. Honolulu police visited ... Read more »

Friday briefing: Booster jabs at five months?

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Karwai Tang/Getty Images Top story: ‘Get boosted, get protected’ © Photograph: Karwai Tang/Getty Images A care worker receives a Covid booster jab in Borehamwood, ... Read more »

'Out' - Phil Hay delivers damaging Leeds injury news before Wolves

Leeds United pair Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling have been ruled out of the Premier League clash with Wolves, Phil Hay has confirmed. © Provided by Transfer Tavern Bamford The ... Read more »

'Disgrace', 'Get him gone' - Many West Ham fans slam 'painful player' after 'shocking' display

As West Ham United eased past Genk 3-0 at the London Stadium last night, many Hammers fans marked out winger Andriy Yarmolenko for criticism after his display. © Provided by ... Read more »

UPDATE 1-APEC finance ministers agree to step up vaccine efforts

(Adds details of meeting, quotes) Oct 22 (Reuters) – Finance ministers from Asia-Pacific trade group APEC met on Friday and agreed to step up efforts to expand COVID-19 vaccine manufacture ... Read more »

Electrified cars hit almost a fifth of EU Q3 vehicle sales

By Nick Carey © Reuters/Eric Gaillard FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a cable to charge a Renault utility vehicle at a dealership in France LONDON (Reuters) – Nearly one in ... Read more »

Bei Dreharbeiten: Hollywood-Star Alec Baldwin erschießt Kamerafrau

© ANGELA WEISS /Getty Images Alec Baldwin Tödlicher Unfall: Alec Baldwin erschießt während Dreharbeiten eines neuen Westerns die Kamerafrau, der Regisseur wird verletzt. Wie es dazu kommen konnte. Es klingt ... Read more »

KPS secures RM91.6mil water treatment contract from Air Selangor

© Provided by New Straits Times KUALA LUMPUR: Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor Bhd’s (KPS) 51 per cent subsidiary Aqua-Flo Sdn Bhd (AFSB) today secured a supply contract from Pengurusan Air Selangor ... Read more »

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah says Madame Tussauds London waxwork is ‘a blessing'

Liverpool footballer Mohamed Salah at the unveiling of the new figure of himself at Madame Tussauds London (Aaron Chown/PA) Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah described his waxwork at Madame Tussauds London ... Read more »

‘Plan B' restrictions are already in force in Wales – but Covid cases are still rising

Shoppers in Cardiff – Matthew Horwood/Getty Images Covid cases in Wales are increasing at almost the same speed as those in England despite the country implementing some “Plan B” restrictions. ... Read more »

ICC T20 World Cup 2021: Ahead of India vs Pakistan, Shoaib Akhtar makes BIG statement about Sachin Tendulkar - WATCH

© Provided by DNA As the days’ inch closer to the most awaited match of the year – India vs Pakistan – the off-field banter between and fans and former ... Read more »

Cash injection for basin water projects

The Morrison government will pump $330 million into five NSW water recovery projects in the Murray-Darling Basin. © Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS Federal Water Minister Keith Pitt said works on the ... Read more »

NCR COVID-19 reproduction number down to 0.46 —OCTA

© Danny Pata People living in high-rise condominiums as well as in small residential houses in Makati City stay in their homes on Monday, April 5, 2021, as the enhanced ... Read more »

How to catch a small size Pumpkaboo in Pokémon Go

© Provided by GamePur Some of the Pokémon in Pokémon Go may only appear if you do specific things or wait for certain times of the day. Therefore, it requires ... Read more »

How long does it take to beat Inscryption? Answered

© Provided by GamePur Inscryption is not a fast-paced game by any standard. There are rogue-like elements that can cause a run to simply end — bad RNG, such as ... Read more »

19 Stock Perks That Will Blow Your Mind

© cjp / Getty Images Louis Vuitton Shop Windows The main reason investors buy stocks is to make money. Returns on stocks generally come in two forms: dividends and capital ... Read more »

Watch CNBC's Sustainable Future Forum Asia: Technology & Innovation

[The stream is slated to start at 2 a.m. ET. Please refresh the page if you do not see a player above at that time.] Click on the stream above ... Read more »

J K: NIA raids multiple locations in South Kashmir in terrorism conspiracy case

he National Investigation Agency (NIA) The National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted searches at multiple locations in South Kashmir in connection with conspiracy cases to undertake violent terrorist attacks by members ... Read more »

Sub-judge convicted of raping, cheating woman in Jammu

© Provided by Hindustan Times Image for representation. (HT photo) A fast-track court in Jammu on Thursday convicted suspended sub-judge Rakesh Kumar Abrol of raping and cheating a woman, who ... Read more »

PM Modi changes his Twitter profile picture to celebrate 100 crore plus vaccines

After addressing the nation on the vaccination drive crossing 100 crore vaccines being administered, the Prime Minister’s twitter display image has also changed to celebrate the same. Speaking of it ... Read more »

JEE Advanced AAT 2021: Result to be declared today on jeeadv.ac.in, check steps to download

© Provided by Zee News New Delhi: Joint Entrance Examination Advanced Architecture Aptitude Test (JEE Advanced AAT) 2021 result will be declared on Friday (October 22). Candidates who appeared for ... Read more »

Only 21% Indians fully vaccinated: Congress leaders attack PM Modi, BJP on 100 crore dose celebrations

100 crore vaccine dose As PM Narendra Modi addressed the nation to mark the 100 crore vaccine doses achievement, the Opposition started taking jibes at the PM and Centre over ... Read more »

Islamic State, Al-Qaeda have increased online propaganda, warns FATF

© Provided by Hindustan Times Both Islamic State and Al-Qaeda have a presence in Afghanistan, which was taken over by the Taliban following the collapse of the elected government in ... Read more »

Pfizer and BioNTech Announce Phase 3 Trial Data Showing High Efficacy of a Booster Dose of Their COVID-19 Vaccine

First results from any randomized, controlled COVID-19 vaccine booster trial demonstrate a relative vaccine efficacy of 95.6% against disease during a period when Delta was the prevalent strain In trial ... Read more »

Official: Narrative of riders filming train rape is false

MEDIA, Pa. (AP) — The narrative that passengers watched a man rape a woman on a train in suburban Philadelphia last week and “filmed it for their own gratification instead ... Read more »

Ayushmann Khurrana's Anek to release in theatres on March 31, 2022

Ayushmann Khurrana is playing the role of Joshua in Anek. Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer Anek will hit the theatres on March 31, 2022. The actor took to social media to announce the ... Read more »

Anushka Sharma looks radiant in her Friday morning selfie from Dubai

Anushka Sharma glows in her latest selfie from Dubai. Anushka Sharma is currently in Dubai with her husband Virat Kohli and daughter Vamika. The actress has been sharing snippets from ... Read more »

The Big Picture: Sara Ali Khan and Janhvi Kapoor kidnap Ranveer Singh; take over hosting duties in this hilarious promo

© Provided by Desimartini Sara Ali Khan and Janhvi Kapoor set the internet on fire each time they are snapped together. May it be on a casual lunch date, at ... Read more »

FAA proposes giving flight attendants 1 more hour of rest

© Provided by Associated Press FILE – In this Dec. 2, 2020, file photo, an American Airlines flight attendant hands out snack bags aboard a Boeing 737 Max jet before ... Read more »

E-sukan: UiTM sasar hantar wakil ke Sukan Olimpik 2028

© Provided by Sinar Harian SHAH ALAM – Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) meletakkan sasaran bagi menghantar wakil atlet mereka ke temasya Sukan Olimpik 2028 di Los Angelas, Amerika Syarikat. Naib ... Read more »

WA police appeal for footage in Cleo hunt

Police investigating the disappearance of four-year-old Cleo Smith are seeking footage from within a 1000km radius of her West Australian campsite. © PR HANDOUT IMAGE PHOTO A land search for ... Read more »

Brave Blossoms plotting Wallabies boilover

Renegade lock Jack Cornelsen has warned rugby fans to write the Brave Blossoms off at their peril ahead of Saturday’s showdown with the Wallabies in Oita. © Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS ... Read more »

Matildas claims no distraction: Gustavsson

Matildas coach Tony Gustavasson insists allegations of harassment and abuse within the national set-up have not threatened the build-up to their first game on home soil in close to two ... Read more »

Tornado damages Brisbane airport as supercell storm batters south-east Queensland

A tornado has damaged buildings at Brisbane airport as a supercell thunderstorm battered south-east Queensland. The Bureau of Meteorology confirmed a tornado formed near the airport at about 10am on ... Read more »

A 55-year-old mother of 9 was sentenced to death by hanging for possessing around 4 ounces of meth

© Provided by INSIDER A Malaysian single mother of nine was given a death sentence for drug-trafficking related charges. Getty Images/naruecha jenthaisong A Malaysian mother of nine was given the ... Read more »

Meghan McCain said Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were 'funeral crashers' and 'had no goddamn business' being at her father's memorial service

© Provided by Business Insider Meghan McCain said she was angered to see Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner at her father’s memorial service in 2018. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic