Taliban celebrate withdrawal of US after 20 years in Afghanistan
Kabul, Aug 31 (EFE).- The Taliban celebrated the end of the United States’ two-decades long presence in Afghanistan with gunfire throughout the country in the early hours of Tuesday, following the departure of the last American soldiers.
The Taliban’s 313 Badri military unit entered Kabul airport an hour after the last plane of the US forces left at midnight, and took control of it for the first time after two decades of war.
With that, the last US base officially came under the control of the Taliban.
“Last night at 12 am Afghanistan time, the last group of American soldiers left the Kabul airport. The withdrawal of American forces [was] completed and our country and Afghans achieved full independence,” Taliban spokesperson Qari Yusuf Ahmadi told EFE.
The capital, Kabul, and most of the major cities throughout the country witnessed heavy celebratory gunfire for almost an hour after the Taliban confirmed the departure of the last US soldiers from the country.
The heavy gunfire caused panic among citizens but Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid later assured on Twitter that “the sounds of shootings in Kabul city are celebratory firings to celebrate the withdrawal of the American forces.”
“Citizens should not be worried; we are trying to bring it under control,” he added.
The Taliban’s media office also shared a video showing the arrival of fighters to Kabul airport, where some out-of-service US Chinook helicopters could also be seen in a large hangar with their lights still on.
“A dark page of history has turned under the leadership of the Islamic Emirate. The Afghan Mujahid nation (has) succeeded as victorious,” Bilal Karimi, another Taliban spokesperson, told EFE.
A complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan had been the Taliban’s top demand and almost always the first pre-condition at every step of the peace process with the US and the Afghan government in the past two decades of war.
The withdrawal of the US and NATO forces is expected to enable the Taliban to accelerate efforts towards the formation of a new, inclusive Islamic government in the country representing all Afghan ethnic groups and tribes.
A complete withdrawal of all foreign troops was also the main part of a peace agreement signed between the US and the Taliban in February 2020 in Doha.
In exchange, the group promised to cut all ties with terrorist groups, particularly with al-Qaeda.
With the withdrawal of its last soldiers from the Kabul airport, the US officially ended its 20-year-long war and presence in Afghanistan, which began in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda against the US. EFE