Afghans ‘gained full independence’ with US pullout: Mujahid

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Kabul

The Taliban’s top spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid congratulated Afghans on their victory on Tuesday, after the last US troops left the country following 20 years of military intervention.

“Congratulations to Afghanistan… this victory belongs to us all,” Mujahid said from the runway of Kabul airport.

“We want to have good relations with the US and the world. We welcome good diplomatic relations with them all,” he added. Mujahid said the Taliban’s victory was a “lesson for other invaders”.

Earlier in the day, the Taliban celebrated their total return to power with gunfire and diplomacy, after the last US troops flew out of Afghanistan to end two decades of war.

The United States’ 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.

A senior Taliban official, Anas Haqqani, said he was “proud” to witness “these historic moments”. Afghanistan is now free from occupation of US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization, he added.

Another Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf said, “The last U.S. soldier has left Kabul airport and our country has got complete independence.”

The reactions came after United States pulled all its troops out of Afghanistan, ending its longest war to cries of shame at home and celebratory gunfire from its victorious Taliban enemies in Kabul.

The last of the American troops overseeing a desperate evacuation effort flew out of Kabul airport on Monday night, completing a withdrawal that has raised deep questions about the United States’ status as a superpower. –Agencies

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