Now in the arms of rank and file Taliban fighters, the opulent villa has given the austere Islamists a peek into the lives of Afghanistan’s former rulers, and so they say the posh is the proceeds of years of endemic corruption.
Along an countless hall with a thick apple-inexperienced carpet, a younger fighter sleeps slumped on a settee, his Kalashnikov rifle resting in opposition to him, as unique fish glide above him in one of seven big tanks.
The fighter is an element of the non-public safety element of Qari Salahuddin Ayoubi — one of the brand new regime’s strongest commanders — who put in his firm of 150 males in the mansion on August 15, the day Kabul fell.
The luxurious AFP noticed on a tour of the mansion can be unimaginable for many odd Afghans.
Huge glass chandeliers cling in cavernous halls, giant comfortable sofas furnish a maze of lounges and an indoor swimming pool is completed with intricate turquoise tiles.
It even boasts a sauna, a Turkish steam bathtub and a totally geared up health club.
It is an out of this world expertise for the brand new occupants, who for years sacrificed creature comforts for riot — residing on their wits in the plains, valleys and mountains of rural Afghanistan.
But the brand new head of the family — now the army commander of 4 provinces — makes it clear his males is not going to get used to the posh.
“Islam never wants us to have a luxurious life,” Ayoubi informed AFP, including luxurious comes in paradise, “the life after death”.
The mansion’s proprietor, Dostum, is a infamous determine woven into the material of Afghanistan’s latest historical past.
A former paratrooper, communist commander, warlord and vp, he was the very definition of a crafty political survivor who weathered over 4 a long time of battle in battle-torn Afghanistan.
Despite a collection of battle crimes linked to Dostum’s forces, the previous Afghan authorities hoped his army acumen and seething hatred of the Taliban would assist them survive.
But his stronghold was overrun and the greying 67-yr-previous fled throughout the border to Uzbekistan.
Dostum is broadly suspected to have massively profited from the corruption and embezzlement that discredited the previous authorities.
Several officers illegally took land to construct luxurious mansions in one neighbourhood, incomes it the nickname “Thieves’ Quarter” amongst locals.
In one wing of the big home, Taliban fighters relaxed in a large tropical greenhouse of a number of hundred sq. metres below an enormous glass roof.
That is neglected by a mezzanine dominated by a darkish wooden bar — a testomony to the reported decadent tastes of a normal famend for a penchant for late nights and powerful liquor.
The Taliban have good motive to hate Dostum.
In 2001, he was accused of killing greater than 2,000 fighters — locking many in containers in the center of the desert the place they suffocated below a scorching solar.
But Commander Ayoubi rejected any need for 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 mentioned.
But the brand new regime is not going to enable such luxurious to be constructed with sick-gotten positive factors in the longer term, he mentioned.
“We are on the side of the poor,” he says, as dozens of guests wait patiently in the hall, idly watching the detached fish.
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