Taliban celebrates defeating the United States

The hardline Islamist Taliban celebrated their total return to power on Tuesday with gunfire and diplomacy, following the last US troops flying out of Afghanistan to end two decades of war.

The US’s longest military conflict drew to a close on Monday night when its forces abandoned Kabul’s airport, where it had overseen a frenzied airlift that saw more than 123,000 people flee life under the Taliban.

Taliban fighters then quickly swept into the airport and fired weapons into the sky across the city in jubilation – an astonishing return after US forces invaded in 2001 and toppled them for supporting Al-Qaeda.

“Congratulations to Afghanistan… this victory belongs to us all,” said Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid, hours later on the runway of the airport.

Mujahid said the Taliban’s victory was a “lesson for other invaders”.

The Taliban have repeatedly promised a more tolerant and open brand of rule compared with their first stint in power, and Mujahid continued that theme.

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

He also insisted Taliban security forces would “be gentle and nice”.


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