TALIBAN fighters have taken over a luxury mansion belonging to one of their fiercest enemies complete with spa, tropical greenhouse and fish tanks.
Now in the hands of the fanatics, the huge villa was owned by the warlord and fugitive ex-vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum.
The 150 fighters at the home are part of the personal security team of Qari Salahuddin Ayoubi – one of the new regime's most powerful commanders.
Ayoubi quickly installed his band of men in the mansion on August 15, the day Kabul fell after the US dramatically pulled out of the country.
The startling pictures show luxury that would be unimaginable for most ordinary Afghans.
Huge glass chandeliers hang in cavernous halls, large soft sofas furnish a maze of lounges and an indoor pool is finished with intricate turquoise tiles.
It even boasts a sauna, a Turkish steam bath and a fully equipped gym.
The expensive home is worlds away from the mountain homes and caves where the Taliban fighters have been living.
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.
"Islam never wants us to have a luxurious life," Ayoubi said, adding that such rewards comes in paradise, "the life after death".
The mansion's owner, Dostum, is a notorious figure in recent Afghanistan's recent history.
A former paratrooper, communist leader, warlord and vice president, he weathered over four decades of conflict in war-torn Afghanistan.
Despite a series of war crimes linked to his forces, the former Afghan government hoped Dostum's military knowledge and hatred of the Taliban would help them survive.
But when the US exited the country after 20 years, his stronghold was overrun and the 67-year-old fled across the border to Uzbekistan.
Dostum is suspected to have hugely profited from the corruption and embezzlement that discredited the former government.
Several officials illegally took land to build luxurious mansions in one neighbourhood, earning it the nickname "Thieves' Quarter" among locals.
In one wing of the huge house, Taliban fighters relaxed 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 booze.
In 2001, Dostum was accused of killing more than 2,000 Taliban fighters – locking many in containers in the middle of the desert where they suffocated under a scorching sun.
But Commander Ayoubi rejected any desire for revenge.
He said: "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.”
But the new regime will not allow such luxury to be built with ill-gotten gains in the future, he added.
"We are on the side of the poor," he says, as dozens of visitors wait patiently in the corridor.
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