Afghanistan is ‘a free nation’: Taliban celebrate US defeat | Taliban news

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Afghanistan is ‘a free nation’: Taliban celebrate US defeat |  Taliban news

The Taliban celebrate their return to power after taking possession of the Kabul airport following the departure of the last US troops from Afghanistan.

The Afghan group said on Tuesday that Afghanistan is now a “free and sovereign” nation, while greeting the exodus of US troops and describing their departure as a “historic moment”.

“Congratulations to Afghanistan… this victory belongs to all of us,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters from the runway of Hamid Karzai International Airport.

“America was defeated, they could not achieve their goals through military operations,” he said.

The United States’ longest military conflict came to an end Monday night as troops left the Kabul airport, where it had overseen a frenzied airlift that has evacuated more than 123,000 people since the Taliban took over on Aug. 15.

Taliban fighters invaded the airport and fired weapons cheering into the air over the city – an astonishing return after US troops invaded and overthrew them in 2001 for their ties to al-Qaeda, which has been blamed for the 9/9 attacks. 11.

US Central Command Naval General Frank McKenzie announced that the last US troops had flown out of Kabul just before midnight local time (19:30 GMT).

“We didn’t take out everyone we wanted. But I think if we stayed another 10 days, we wouldn’t get everyone out we wanted.”

New phase

Some Afghans are concerned about a return to the Taliban’s previous rule from 1996 to 2001, which was marked by curbing women’s rights and a brutal justice system.

However, the Taliban have repeatedly promised a more tolerant and open kind of rule compared to their first stint in power, and the Mujahid continued that theme.

“We want to have good relations with the US and the world. We welcome good diplomatic relations with all of them,” he said.

Mujahid also insisted that the Taliban’s security forces be “gentle and kind”.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford said in a report from Kabul: “From the very beginning, the Taliban have been eager to convince both Afghans and the international community that they are more aware of the needs of a functioning country in the modern world… and that we [they] have turned into another political entity.”

However, Stratford added that “trust issues” remain. “There are big countries, American rivals, that have already reached the Taliban, including China, Russia and Iran,” he said.

All eyes will now be on how the Taliban is coping with the first few days of sole control of the country, with a sharp focus on whether it will allow free departure for those who want to leave — including some foreigners. .

Blinken said a small number of US citizens remained in the country — “under 200,” but probably closer to just 100.

Many thousands of Afghans, who have worked with foreign missions or the US-backed government over the years and fear retaliation, also want to leave.

The UN Security Council a resolution passed urged the Taliban on Monday to honor a commitment to allow people to leave Afghanistan freely in the coming days and to provide humanitarian access to the UN and other aid agencies.

Talks are underway about who will now run Kabul airport. The Taliban have asked Turkey to handle logistics while maintaining control over security, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not yet accepted that offer.

Biden is criticized

The withdrawal of US troops came just before the August 31 deadline set by US President Joe Biden to end the war that killed hundreds of thousands of Afghans and more than 2,400 US military personnel.

Facing sharp criticism from both the opposition and fellow Democrats for his handling of the withdrawal, Biden said he would address the nation in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.

“We can’t fight endless wars, but the magnitude and consequences of Biden’s failure here are staggering,” Republican Senator Rick Scott said.

Biden’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, could offer little more than stern words for the Taliban.

“Every legitimacy and every support will have to be earned,” Blinken said, announcing that the US had suspended its diplomatic presence in Kabul and moved its operations to Qatar.

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