The Taliban were in full control of Kabul’s international airport on Tuesday, after the last US plane left its runway, marking the end of America’s longest war.
Vehicles carrying the Taliban drove towards the Hamid Karzai International Airport on Tuesday, soon after the last US plane left its runaway marking the end of a 20-year war.
The group is now full in control of the airport. It hailed the departure of foreign troops, declaring that Afghanistan has now gained “full independence”.
“This independence belongs to the whole nation and all our people were involved in it, they have suffered hardship in these 20 years, I congratulate them all,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman said.
However the Taliban have repeatedly promised a more tolerant and open brand of rule compared with their first stint in power.
“We want to have good relations with the US and the world. We welcome good diplomatic relations with them all,” Mujahid said.
America’s longest war took the lives of an estimated 240,000 Afghans and 2,500 US troops, and cost some $2 trillion.
The Taliban’s “special forces” were also present at the airport – soldiers in new uniforms equipped with looted American equipment.
Pictures and videos of fighters in the so-called “Badri 313” unit have been posted online by the group to underline how the Taliban have better equipped and trained men at their disposal than in the past.
The soldiers are shown in uniforms, boots, balaclavas and body armour similar to those worn by special forces around the world – unlike the shalwar kameez, turban and sandals of the traditional Taliban fighter.
‘Fear and uncertainty’
While there was triumph and elation on one side as the Taliban celebrated their victory, fear and uncertainly prevailed on the other side among Afghans.
If I let my thoughts linger on what we have lost, I will lose my mind. I have to look ahead towards the future. To do that, I have to engage with the reality of our present moment. I have to believe that slowly, through a political process of negotiation, we will win it all back.
— Muska Dastager (@DastagerMuska) August 31, 2021
Thousands of Afghans have already fled the country, fearing Taliban reprisals.
Afghanistan Comes Full Circle! A Thread 👇
20 years ago in October 2001 I was watching BBC World Service late at night in Peshawar. They ran a ‘Breaking News’. Pres. Bush announced from the White House that the US had started bombing Taliban & Al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan 1/6 pic.twitter.com/SVhbosHbDb
— Hameed Shuja (@hameedshuja) August 30, 2021
More than 123,000 people were evacuated from Kabul in a massive but chaotic airlift by the United States and its allies over the past two weeks, but many of those who helped Western nations during the war were left behind.
Afghans who remember the Taliban’s brutal rule from 1996-2001 have watched with growing fear as the group took over the country while international forces withdraw.
It is not over. It is just the beginning of new chapter. History has proven no one can win this war. Tried so hard build a life. But it is all gone. We are a broken nation.
— Fatima Faizi (@FatmaFaizi) August 30, 2021
Many fear the Taliban will reverse two decades of gains by women and ethnic minorities while restricting the work of journalists and NGO workers.
Source: TRTWorld and agencies