Conflicts & War

Afghanistan marks 2nd anniversary of US withdrawal with silence

Kabul, Aug 31 (EFE).- The de facto Afghan government of the Taliban marked the second anniversary of the withdrawal of foreign soldiers with silence and no loud celebration, unlike last year.

Two years ago on this day, the US ended nearly two decades of war in Afghanistan — the longest war in American history – after the plane carrying the last Americans, including troops and civilian workers, took off from Kabul just before midnight on August 31.

Last year, the Taliban government celebrated the day to mark Afghanistan’s “freedom from American occupation.”

The government declared Aug.31 a public holiday across the country in 2022.

But this year, silence stood out with no fanfare and gun salutes.

Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhund asked the government not to celebrate even as it had decreed it as a day of national joy, a Taliban official told EFE, requesting anonymity.

But dozens of students from religious seminaries celebrated the day in Kandahar by waving the flag of Islamists bearing the Shahada, which in Arabic reads: “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is Allah’s messenger.”

Afghanistan usually celebrates Aug.19 as its Independence Day to the end of British rule.

The Taliban observed the second anniversary of seizing power in Kabul on Aug.15 with celebrations and a public holiday, marking their return.

Even as the Taliban remained silent on the troop withdrawal, US President Joe Biden said it was the day “to remember the selfless service of generations of brave women and men over the course of the conflict.”

Some 2,461 US service members died, and 20,744 sustained wounds during America’s military campaign in Afghanistan.

“These servicemembers dared all, risked all, and gave all to our nation. We owe them and their families a debt we can never fully repay.”

Biden urged Congress to pass legislation that proposes grants to Afghans who sought refuge in the US after the 2021 troop withdrawal.

“Just as they contributed to our mission in Afghanistan for twenty years, our Afghan allies are now making vast contributions across our nation,” Biden said in a press statement.

“And, just as they stood with us, I remain committed to standing with them—including urging Congress to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act so we can provide a pathway to permanent legal status for our Afghan friends and neighbors.”

The US agreed to pull its forces from Afghanistan in 2021 after the historic 2020 Doha agreement after security guarantees from the Islamist militia.

The chaotic US exit, completed just in some weeks, left the Afghan forces without their fundamental support to resist the Taliban’s arrival.

When the fundamentalists seized power, the Americans were trying to evacuate Afghan citizens who worked for them, helping a desperate movement of people trying to flee, with crowds camped outside the Kabul airport for days. EFE


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