Hours after the last U.S. troops departed Afghanistan and effectively ended America’s longest war, the Taliban triumphantly marched into Kabul’s international airport and declared victory.
In a show of power, the Taliban stood on the Tarmac and pledged to secure the country.
“Afghanistan is finally free,” a top Taliban official said to The Associated Press on the tarmac. “The military and civilian side (of the airport) are with us and in control. Hopefully, we will be announcing our Cabinet. Everything is peaceful. Everything is safe.”
All around the airport were signs of the prior day’s chaos that erupted as the U.S. attempted to evacuate its citizens and allies.
Now that the U.S. has officially completed it’s withdrawal, the Taliban will move forward in governing a nation of 38 million people.
Vehicles carrying the Taliban raced back and forth along the Hamid Karzai International Airport’s sole runway on the military side of the airfield. Before dawn broke, heavily armed Taliban fighters walked through hangars, passing some of the seven CH-46 helicopters the State Department used in its evacuations before rendering them unusable.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid addressed the gathered members of the Badri unit. “I hope you be very cautious in dealing with the nation,” he said. “Our nation has suffered war and invasion and the people do not have more tolerance.”
At the end of his remarks, the Badri fighters shouted: “God is the greatest!”Military Times
As the final US troops departed Afghanistan, they left behind up to 200 Americans and thousands of desperate Afghans who couldn’t get out and will now be forced to rely on the Taliban to allow their departure.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
Following the Pentagon’s announcement on the withdrawal completion, Secretary of State Antony Blinken remarked that the U.S. will still attempt to help the remaining Americans and Afghans trapped in the country.
However, Blinken didn’t elaborate much on how they actually plan to achieve this.
The terror threat in Afghanistan has only gotten worse as the Taliban released a number of ISIS members from prison during the last several weeks.