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Taliban declare victory as last US trooper leaves Afghanistan

The Taliban celebrated and hailed the departure of US troops, describing it as a “historic moment”

Tuesday August 31, 2021 10:17 AM, ummid.com with inputs from Agencies

Afghanistan War ends

Kabul: Taliban fighters watched the last US planes disappear into the sky around midnight Monday and then fired their guns into the air, celebrating victory after a 20-year insurgency in Afghanistan that drove the world’s most powerful military out of one of the poorest countries.

Marine General Frank McKenzie, the head of the US Central Command, made the withdrawal announcement at a Pentagon news briefing on Monday, after the last troops sent to evacuate Americans and Afghans at risk following the Taliban’s return to power flew out of Kabul.

“I’m here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the military mission to evacuate American citizens,” McKenzie said.

"The last C-17 lifted off from Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 30, this afternoon, at 3.29 p.m. East coast time, and the last manned aircraft is now clearing the space above Afghanistan," McKenzie said.

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The General said the number of US citizens currently still stranded in Afghanistan is "in the very low hundreds", stressing that the Department of State is now in charge of assisting those evacuees.

"The military's phase of this operation has ended... The diplomatic sequel to that will now begin," he said.


Similar announcement was also made by US Secretary of State Antony John Blinken.

"US military flights have ended and our troops have departed Afghanistan. A new chapter of America’s engagement with Afghanistan has begun. It’s one in which we will lead with our diplomacy", he said.

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Suhail Shaheen, a spokesperson of the Taliban, in a tweet confirmed that the last American soldier left Afghanistan on Monday midnight.

“Tonight 12:00 pm (Afghanistan time) the last American soldier left Afghanistan,” Shaheen tweeted.

The Taliban celebrated and hailed the departure of US troops, describing it as a “historic moment”, declaring that Afghanistan has now gained “full independence”.

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"In this way, our country became completely free and independent," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid wrote on Twitter.

Shortly after Mujahid's comments on social media, Taliban members took to celebratory gun firing in Kabul, which lasted for about an hour, causing panic among residents of the capital city.

Following the firing, Mujahid said in a separate tweet that "the gunshots heard in Kabul are as a result of celebratory firing, the Kabul residents should not worry, we are trying to control it".

The development came two weeks after Taliban captured Kabul after the US supported government collapsed and former President and other office bearers fled Afghanistan on August 15, 2021.

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