'This is a lesson for the world': Taliban stand on Kabul airport runway as they brag about defeating the West and celebrate with fireworks after last US flight took off, leaving hundreds of citizens and allies behind

 The West's retreat from Afghanistan should serve as 'a lesson for the world,' the Taliban bragged today, as its fighters paraded at Kabul airport after the last American troops departed on Monday night. 

Zabihullah Mujahid, the group's chief spokesman, addressed the media from the tarmac this morning - posing in front of Taliban 'special forces' units wielding American-made rifles and US military gear, who had seized control of the airstrip just hours earlier. Elsewhere, Taliban fighters posed with captured aircraft, helicopters, and vehicles.

'Congratulations to Afghanistan... this victory belongs to us all,' Mujahid said, calling the day a 'big lesson for other invaders and for our future generation.' 'It is an historical day and an historical moment. We are proud of these moments, that we liberated our country from a great power,' he added.

Overnight, fireworks and celebratory gunfire had lit up the night sky over the Afghan capital after it emerged the last US evacuation flight had departed, putting an end to America's longest war.

But hundreds of American and British citizens were left behind, along with thousands of Afghans who helped western troops on a promise of sanctuary that was ultimately broken. Many now fear for their lives.  

Mujahid insisted today that Taliban security forces will be 'pleasant and nice' to those left behind, despite reports already emerging of summary executions and persecution against women reminiscent of the Taliban of old.

Meanwhile at Bagram air base, the former stronghold of western forces, its new Taliban commander was boasting of having 'beaten' America using little more than Kalashnikov rifles while saying the airfield will now be 'a base for jihad for all Muslims'.

Badri 313 units post for the cameras at Kabul airport today, carrying American-made rifles and wearing US military gear

Badri 313 units post for the cameras at Kabul airport today, carrying American-made rifles and wearing US military gear

Taliban Badri special force fighters pose with American-made weapons under their white flag at Kabul airport today

Taliban Badri special force fighters pose with American-made weapons under their white flag at Kabul airport today

Taliban Badri special force fighters take a position at the airport in Kabul after taking over security from US forces

Taliban Badri special force fighters take a position at the airport in Kabul after taking over security from US forces


Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid (centre right) speaks to journalists at Kabul airport in front of a line of Badri 313 'special forces' troops armed with US weapons, and in front of a captured American C-130 plane

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid (centre right) speaks to journalists at Kabul airport in front of a line of Badri 313 'special forces' troops armed with US weapons, and in front of a captured American C-130 plane

Taliban 'special forces' soldiers display their newly-captured weapons and gear during a press conference at Kabul airport

Taliban 'special forces' soldiers display their newly-captured weapons and gear during a press conference at Kabul airport

Taliban 'special forces' troops - known as Badri 313 units - stand guard at Kabul airport on Tuesday morning after retaking it from American forces overnight

Taliban 'special forces' troops - known as Badri 313 units - stand guard at Kabul airport on Tuesday morning after retaking it from American forces overnight


A Taliban fighter poses in the cockpit of a C-130 Hercules transport plane that was left behind during the evacuation

A Taliban fighter poses in the cockpit of a C-130 Hercules transport plane that was left behind during the evacuation

An A-29 attack plane is surrounded by kit left behind by western forces as they retreated from Kabul airport

An A-29 attack plane is surrounded by kit left behind by western forces as they retreated from Kabul airport

A-29 attack planes which appear largely intact are seen alongside a huge amount of western body armour and tactical helmets left behind by retreating troops

A-29 attack planes which appear largely intact are seen alongside a huge amount of western body armour and tactical helmets left behind by retreating troops

American military gear is pictured lying on the floor of a hangar at Kabul airport after the last US troops withdrew

American military gear is pictured lying on the floor of a hangar at Kabul airport after the last US troops withdrew

American-made ammunition left behind by retreating forces has now been picked up by the Taliban

American-made ammunition left behind by retreating forces has now been picked up by the Taliban

Taliban fighters are pictured in the cargo bay of an American transport plane abandoned at Kabul airport

Taliban fighters are pictured in the cargo bay of an American transport plane abandoned at Kabul airport

A Taliban fighter takes a picture of a damaged MD 530 helicopter that was abandoned at Kabul airport by retreating troops

A Taliban fighter takes a picture of a damaged MD 530 helicopter that was abandoned at Kabul airport by retreating troops

An American MRAP vehicle is pictured at Kabul airport alongside other armoured vehicles after falling into Taliban hands

An American MRAP vehicle is pictured at Kabul airport alongside other armoured vehicles after falling into Taliban hands

A Russian Mi-17 helicopter is pictured alongside Taliban fighters after it was seized from retreating western troops

A Russian Mi-17 helicopter is pictured alongside Taliban fighters after it was seized from retreating western troops


A transport plane with the propeller removed is examined by Islamist fighters at Kabul airport this morning

A transport plane with the propeller removed is examined by Islamist fighters at Kabul airport this morning

A Taliban fighter walks past an aircraft and an assortment of other military and civilian vehicles at the airport in Kabul

A Taliban fighter walks past an aircraft and an assortment of other military and civilian vehicles at the airport in Kabul

Planes, helicopters and vehicles left behind by western forces have now fallen into the hands of the Taliban

Planes, helicopters and vehicles left behind by western forces have now fallen into the hands of the Taliban

Badri special force fighters climb up on a vehicle at the airport in Kabul after the US pulled all its troops out of the country

Badri special force fighters climb up on a vehicle at the airport in Kabul after the US pulled all its troops out of the country

Taliban forces flying their flag drive down the runway at Kabul airport in an American Humvee after troops withdrew

Taliban forces flying their flag drive down the runway at Kabul airport in an American Humvee after troops withdrew

Taliban fighters inspect a US Humvee at the airport in Kabul, after seizing a huge number of vehicles from western forces

Taliban fighters inspect a US Humvee at the airport in Kabul, after seizing a huge number of vehicles from western forces

Britain and America officially ended their military presence in Afghanistan late last night with the final US troops flying out from Kabul's airport. Pictured: Taliban fighters from the Fateh Zwak unit, wielding American supplied weapons, equipment and uniforms, storm into the Kabul International Airport

Britain and America officially ended their military presence in Afghanistan late last night with the final US troops flying out from Kabul's airport. Pictured: Taliban fighters from the Fateh Zwak unit, wielding American supplied weapons, equipment and uniforms, storm into the Kabul International Airport


Speaking to The Times, 35-year-old Maulawi Hafiz Mohibullah Muktaz said: 'Never in our wildest dreams could we have believed we could beat a superpower like America with just our Kalashnikovs.

'When you do jihad all doors open, we defeated America with our faith and our guns and we hope now that Bagram can be a base for jihad for all Muslims

'For any foreign power considering attacking Afghanistan then look at Bagram now and learn your lesson well before embarking on foolish endeavour. See the West's mighty technology humbled here by mujahidin.

'In 15 years as a mujahid fighting the Americans I wondered often if I may fail or die. Yet here is proof of the power of faith and God and jihad. On the back of victory I hope we can use Bagram as a place to spread jihad further into the region and Muslim world.'

Reflecting on America's withdrawal from the other side of the conflict, head of U.S. Central Command General Frank McKenzie said on Monday night: 'There's a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure.

'We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out. But I think if we'd stayed another 10 days, we wouldn't have gotten everybody out,' he insisted.

At the same time the US released a night-vision image of Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, who was the last soldier to board a plane out of the country.

All eyes will now turn to how the Taliban handles its first few days with sole authority over the country, with a sharp focus on whether it will allow other foreigners and Afghans to leave. 

Reports suggest many are already fleeing through Pakistan to the east and Iran to the west. The US and UK are still working on arrangements to allow people to be evacuated from these neighbouring countries. 

More than 123,000 people were evacuated from Kabul in a massive but chaotic airlift by the United States and its allies over the past two weeks, but tens of thousands who helped Western nations during the war were left behind.

A contingent of Americans, estimated by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken as fewer than 200, and possibly closer to 100, wanted to leave but were unable to get on the last flights.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab put the number of UK nationals in Afghanistan in the low hundreds, following the evacuation of some 5,000.

Hekmatullah Wasiq, a top Taliban official, said today that 'Afghanistan is finally free.'

'The military and civilian side (of Kabulairport) are with us and in control,' he said. 'Hopefully, we will be announcing our Cabinet. Everything is peaceful. Everything is safe.

Wasiq also urged people to return to work and reiterated the Taliban pledge offering a general amnesty. "People have to be patient," he said. "Slowly we will get everything back to normal. It will take time."

Taliban spokesman Mujahid also 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: 'Allahu Akbar' or "God is greatest!"

In an interview with Afghan state television, Mujahid also discussed restarting operations at the airport, which remains a key way out for those wanting to leave the country.

"Our technical team will be checking the technical and logistical needs of the airport," he said. "If we are able to fix everything on our own, then we won't need any help. 


'If there is need for technical or logistics help to repair the destruction, then we might ask help from Qatar or Turkey.' He didn't elaborate on what was destroyed.

While the international community appears to have accepted the reality of Taliban rule, the UK and US remain willing to take on Islamic State, also known as Daesh.

British forces are prepared to launch air strikes to target so-called Islamic State terrorists in Afghanistan, the head of the RAF indicated as the US-led military presence in the country came to an end.

The group's Afghan offshoot, Isis-K, carried out the bloody attack on Kabul airport in the final days of the evacuation effort which killed two Britons and the child of a British national, along with 13 US service personnel and scores of Afghans.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the global coalition against the terrorist group was ready 'to combat Daesh networks by all means available, wherever they operate'.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston indicated the RAF could strike Isis-K targets in Afghanistan.

'Ultimately what this boils down to is that we've got to be able to play a global role in the global coalition to defeat Daesh, whether it's strike, or whether it's moving troops or equipment into a particular country, at scale and at speed,' he told the Daily Telegraph.

'If there's an opportunity for us to contribute I am in no doubt that we will be ready to - that will be anywhere where violent extremism raises its head, and is a direct or indirect threat to the UK and our allies.

'Afghanistan is probably one of the most inaccessible parts of the world, and we're able to operate there.'

The attack on Kabul airport on Thursday has led to a transatlantic blame game, with US sources indicating the gate that was attacked was kept open to facilitate the British evacuation.

According to leaked Pentagon notes obtained by Politico, Read Admiral Peter Vasely, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, had wanted to close Abbey Gate but it was kept open to allow UK evacuees into the airport. 

The US Army then released a nightvision image of Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, the last U.S. soldier to leave Afghanistan as the Pentagon announced the last American forces left Kabul airport 24 hours ahead of schedule

The US Army then released a nightvision image of Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, the last U.S. soldier to leave Afghanistan as the Pentagon announced the last American forces left Kabul airport 24 hours ahead of schedule

Taliban Badri special force fighters arrive at the airport in Kabul after the US pulled all its troops out of the country

Taliban Badri special force fighters arrive at the airport in Kabul after the US pulled all its troops out of the country

Taliban forces cross the tarmac at Kabul airport, carrying the group's white flag in front of press cameras

Taliban forces cross the tarmac at Kabul airport, carrying the group's white flag in front of press cameras

Members of the Taliban Badri 313 military unit walk past a torn down banner featuring a picture of late Afghan Mujahideen leader Ahmed Shah Massoud at Kabul airport

Members of the Taliban Badri 313 military unit walk past a torn down banner featuring a picture of late Afghan Mujahideen leader Ahmed Shah Massoud at Kabul airport

'The last manned aircraft is now clearing the airspace above Afghanistan,' said Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command, while Pentagon spokesman John Kirby looked on

'The last manned aircraft is now clearing the airspace above Afghanistan,' said Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command, while Pentagon spokesman John Kirby looked on

Fireworks, gunfire and explosions erupted in Kabul's night sky as the Taliban celebrated victory over the U.S. and declared 'full independence' after the final flight left the city's airport carrying troops and diplomats just after midnight

Fireworks, gunfire and explosions erupted in Kabul's night sky as the Taliban celebrated victory over the U.S. and declared 'full independence' after the final flight left the city's airport carrying troops and diplomats just after midnight

Taliban let off fireworks near Kabul airport as they celebrate America's departure from Afghanistan after 20 years

Taliban let off fireworks near Kabul airport as they celebrate America's departure from Afghanistan after 20 years

Taliban fighters from the Fateh Zwak unit, wielding American supplied weapons, equipment and uniforms, storm into the Kabul International Airport and inspect equipment that was left behind. Celebratory gunfire can be seen flying overhead

Taliban fighters from the Fateh Zwak unit, wielding American supplied weapons, equipment and uniforms, storm into the Kabul International Airport and inspect equipment that was left behind. Celebratory gunfire can be seen flying overhead

Taliban gunmen lit up the night sky over Kabul with tracer fire after the final U.S. military transport plane left the airport

Taliban gunmen lit up the night sky over Kabul with tracer fire after the final U.S. military transport plane left the airport

The last plane left soon after midnight on Tuesday morning to beat President Biden's August 31 deadline for the withdrawal

The last plane left soon after midnight on Tuesday morning to beat President Biden's August 31 deadline for the withdrawal

Despite the end of ground operations, British forces are prepared to launch air strikes to target so-called Islamic State terrorists in Afghanistan, the head of the RAF indicated as the US-led military presence in the country came to an end. Pictured: A No. 2 Squadron Tornado during operations in southern Afghanistan

Despite the end of ground operations, British forces are prepared to launch air strikes to target so-called Islamic State terrorists in Afghanistan, the head of the RAF indicated as the US-led military presence in the country came to an end. Pictured: A No. 2 Squadron Tornado during operations in southern Afghanistan


The Ministry of Defence said that throughout the operation at the airport 'we have worked closely with the US to ensure the safe evacuation of thousands of people'.

The final US troops left Kabul on a flight shortly before midnight local time on Monday, meeting President Biden's commitment to withdraw ahead of the deadline.

The Taliban proclaimed 'full independence' for Afghanistan after the US withdrawal.  

The leaving U.S. troops destroyed more than 70 aircraft, dozens of armoured vehicles and disabled air defences that had thwarted an attempted Islamic State rocket attack on the eve of their departure.

But as the Taliban watched U.S. troops leave Kabul on Monday night, eight of their fighters were killed in clashes in the Panjshir valley north of the capital, said Fahim Dashti, a spokesman for the recently formed National Resistance Forces.

Several thousand anti-Taliban fighters, from local militias, remnants of army and special forces units, have gathered in the valley under the command of regional leader Ahmad Massoud.  

In a statement, President Joe Biden defended his decision to stick to Tuesday's withdrawal deadline. He said the world would hold the Taliban to their commitment to allow safe passage for those wanting to leave Afghanistan.

'Now, our 20-year military presence in Afghanistan has ended,' said Biden, who thanked the U.S. military for carrying out the dangerous evacuation. He plans to address the American people on Tuesday afternoon.

Biden has said the United States long ago achieved its objectives set in ousting the Taliban in 2001 for harbouring al Qaeda militants who masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks.

He has drawn heavy criticism from Republicans and some fellow Democrats for his handling of Afghanistan since the Taliban took over Kabul this month after a lightning advance and the collapse of the U.S.-backed government.

Blinken said the United States was prepared to work with the new Taliban government if it did not carry out reprisals against opponents in the country.

'The Taliban seeks international legitimacy and support,' he said. 'Our position is any legitimacy and support will have to be earned.'

Mujahid said the Taliban wanted to establish diplomatic relations with the United States despite two decades of hostility.

'The Islamic Emirate wants to have good diplomatic relations with the whole world,' he said.

Neighbouring Pakistan's foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, told a news conference in Islamabad that he expected a new 'consensus government will be formed in the coming days in Afghanistan'.

The Taliban must revive a war-shattered economy without the foreign aid running into billions of dollars that had flowed to the previous ruling elite and fed systemic corruption.

People living outside Afghan cities face what U.N. officials have called a catastrophic humanitarian situation worsened by a severe drought.

It was not supposed to be like this. Plans for an orderly departure evaporated as the Taliban advanced rapidly across the country as they capitalized on an Afghan army that fell apart when it knew its strongest army was leaving. 

McKenzie shrugged off questions about his feelings at leaving the country in the grip of religious hardliners that American had gone to war to vanquish.  

The gates of Hamid Karzai airport remained locked to ordinary Afghans today as the Taliban promised to restart civilian flights 'soon' and that those with visas wanting to leave would be allowed to do so

The gates of Hamid Karzai airport remained locked to ordinary Afghans today as the Taliban promised to restart civilian flights 'soon' and that those with visas wanting to leave would be allowed to do so

Afghans queue up outside a bank in Kabul as they try to withdraw cash, with reserves running desperately low amid warnings that the country is on the brink of economic collapse

Afghans queue up outside a bank in Kabul as they try to withdraw cash, with reserves running desperately low amid warnings that the country is on the brink of economic collapse

Afghanistan is suffering a cash shortage that means business owners cannot pay staff and workers are struggling to buy basic necessities, as the UN says food could start running out within a month

Afghanistan is suffering a cash shortage that means business owners cannot pay staff and workers are struggling to buy basic necessities, as the UN says food could start running out within a month

Taliban fighters sit on the back of a pick-up truck at the airport in Kabul

Taliban fighters sit on the back of a pick-up truck at the airport in Kabul

Taliban fighters stand guard inside the airport in Kabul after the last US forces withdrew from the country

Taliban fighters stand guard inside the airport in Kabul after the last US forces withdrew from the country

Taliban fighters patrol along a street in Kabul after the Islamist group seized control of Afghanistan

Taliban fighters patrol along a street in Kabul after the Islamist group seized control of Afghanistan


'No words from me could possibly capture the full measure of sacrifices and accomplishments of those who serve, nor the emotions they're feeling at this moment, but I will say that I'm proud that both my son and I have been a part of it,' he said. 

He said the final plane carrying American civilians left about 12 hours before the final flight. 

That could leave as many as 250 stranded in the country as negotiations continue about setting up a mechanism to allow them to leave.

'I believe we're going to be able to get those people out,' said McKenzie. 

'I think we're going to negotiate very hard, very aggressively to get our other Afghan partners out.'

Turkey has offered to run the airport but wants to deploy its own troops for security - a possible sticking point with the Taliban. 

The withdrawal was dominated by a hurriedly thrown together evacuation effort. 

A coalition of countries worked around the clock to rescue their citizens and Afghans who worked for their militaries.

More than 122,000 people have been flown out of Kabul since Aug. 14, the day before the regained control of the country.  

It leaves those left behind in a perilous state.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said in a notice that Hamid Karzai International Airport was without air traffic control service after the U.S. exit. 

The Pentagon remained tight-lipped about its final operations on Monday and refused to discuss when its last troops would leave.

Earlier in the day, spokesman John Kirby told reporters 'there is still time' for Americans to join the massive airlift that has allowed more than 116,000 people to leave since the Taliban swept back into power two weeks ago.

All day Monday, U.S. military transport jets came and went despite a rocket attack early in the morning. 

The crisis has been the biggest test of Biden's presidency.

He has faced repeated questions about whether his decision triggered the collapse of the government in Kabul and the rapid return to power of the Taliban. 

International allies have said they blindsided by the rush to the exit, and Democrats and Republicans have delivered a withering stream of criticism.

On Sunday, he came to face to face with the consequences of his decision to bring home U.S. troops home.

He met families of 13 service members killed in a suicide attack outside Kabul airport, as they protected the evacuation, and then watched in solemn silence as their remains were carried from a C-17 transport plane at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

But the war is not over with America's departure. The return of the Taliban brings with it the spectre of safe havens for U.S. enemies.

And he Biden administration faces a dilemma about its commitment to launch 'over the horizon' strikes on terrorist threats. 

A C-17 Globemaster takes off as Taliban fighters secure the outer perimeter, alongside the American controlled side of of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday. A day later the U.S. said the last flight had left

A C-17 Globemaster takes off as Taliban fighters secure the outer perimeter, alongside the American controlled side of of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday. A day later the U.S. said the last flight had left

The final flight out followed a difficult and dangerous period, as U.S. officials monitored multiple threats. On Monday morning five rockets were fired at Kabul airport from a car that caught fire afterwards

The final flight out followed a difficult and dangerous period, as U.S. officials monitored multiple threats. On Monday morning five rockets were fired at Kabul airport from a car that caught fire afterwards

A girl stands next to a damaged car after multiple rockets were fired in Kabul on Monday

A girl stands next to a damaged car after multiple rockets were fired in Kabul on Monday

The rockets targeted the airport on Monday morning s the final US flights took off from Kabul. Other Western nations had already left the region and the final U.S. flight left soon after midnight on Tuesday morning local time

The rockets targeted the airport on Monday morning s the final US flights took off from Kabul. Other Western nations had already left the region and the final U.S. flight left soon after midnight on Tuesday morning local time

President Joe Biden attended on Sunday the dignified transfer of the remains of service members killed in the Kabul airport attack last week

President Joe Biden attended on Sunday the dignified transfer of the remains of service members killed in the Kabul airport attack last week

'This is a lesson for the world': Taliban stand on Kabul airport runway as they brag about defeating the West and celebrate with fireworks after last US flight took off, leaving hundreds of citizens and allies behind 'This is a lesson for the world': Taliban stand on Kabul airport runway as they brag about defeating the West and celebrate with fireworks after last US flight took off, leaving hundreds of citizens and allies behind Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:02 Rating: 5

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