American soldiers left the airport in Kabul, and our nation gained full independence – said the representative of the Taliban Kari Yusuf. On Monday before midnight, the last plane with US troops left the capital of Afghanistan. Immediately after the machine detached from the airport apron over Kabul, rifle salvos resounded and fireworks flashed. Some residents celebrated in the streets of the capital. “This victory is ours, all of us,” said the Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, who arrived at the abandoned airport with a group of militants.
US Central Command (CENTCOM) General Kenneth F. McKenzie announced on Monday the end of the nearly 20-year-long US military mission and evacuation in Afghanistan. The last American plane departed Kabul at 23.59 local time (21.29 in Poland). – A new chapter in the history of US engagement in Afghanistan has begun. Our military mission is over. The diplomatic mission has started, said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The Taliban are celebrating
Rifle volleys resounded over the city just after the American plane detached from the apron of Kabul International Airport. In the footage from the night, you can also see that fireworks flared over the Afghan capital, and some townspeople were celebrating in the streets. One of Taliban spokesmen, Kari Jusuf, said that “American soldiers have left the Kabul airport and our nation has gained full independence.”
The first Islamic fighters appeared at the abandoned airport at night. The materials provided by the Reuters agency show them walking between planes standing on the tarmac. In another video shared on social media by “Los Angeles Times” correspondent Nabih Bulos, a group of Taliban in Western uniform enters a hangar where helicopters have been left behind.
This is a victory for “all” Afghans, said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. – Congratulations to Afghanistan (…). This victory is ours. We want to have good relations with the US and the world, declared Mujahid at the Kabul airport. According to a Taliban spokesman, “the American defeat is a lesson for others who would like to defeat us.” “After 20 years, we defeated them and our country is now free,” commented one of the Taliban airport rangers. – It’s clear what we expect. We want Sharia, peace and stability, he added.
Senior Taliban official Anas Hakani tweeted that the Taliban “make history”. “The 20-year occupation of Afghanistan by the United States and NATO is over this evening,” wrote Hakani. “I am very happy that after 20 years of sacrifice and hardships, I can feel proud seeing these historic moments” – he added.
The US Embassy in Kabul is suspended
US chief of diplomacy Antony Blinken said on Monday that between 100 and 250 Americans remained in Afghanistan to express their will to leave the country. – Many of them live in Afghanistan for many years. Many are dual citizens with deep roots. It is a painful choice for many, said the US Secretary of State. He assured, however, that “America’s commitment” to them continued, including to those who would change their minds about staying in the country.
Blinken stressed that in the last 18 days, American diplomats made over 55,000. phone calls and sent 33 thousand. e-mails to US citizens in Afghanistan, giving them many opportunities to leave the country. He also stated that the evacuation operation was one of the most difficult stunts in history, although he admitted that “tens of thousands” of Afghan US associates and other vulnerable Afghans remained in the country. “There is no end date for our commitment to them,” Blinken said, adding that the US would put pressure on the Taliban to allow America’s Afghan allies to emigrate.
The US diplomatic mission in Afghanistan announced that the US embassy in Kabul is suspending its operations. “With the withdrawal of US diplomatic personnel from Kabul, we will help American citizens and their families in Afghanistan from Doha, Qatar,” the release said.
Main photo source: Getty Images