In Photos: Taliban Celebrates First Anniversary of US Troop Withdrawal

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Two weeks before the end of last year’s withdrawal, the Taliban seized power.

Kabul:

The Taliban declared Wednesday a national holiday and lit up the capital with colored lights to mark the first anniversary of the withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan after a brutal 20-year war.

The country’s new rulers – who are not formally recognized by any other country – have re-imposed their harsh version of Islamic law on the impoverished country, driving women out of public life.

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Some 66,000 Afghan troops and 48,000 civilians were killed in the conflict.

But despite the restrictions and a mounting humanitarian crisis, many Afghans say they are happy that the foreign forces that sparked the Taliban insurgency are gone.

“We are happy that Allah has expelled the infidels from our country and that the Islamic Emirate has been established,” said Zalmai, a resident of Kabul.

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The midnight withdrawal of troops, as began August 31 last year, ended America’s longest war.

The midnight troop withdrawal that began August 31 last year ended America’s longest war — a military intervention that began in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York.

About 66,000 Afghan troops and 48,000 civilians were killed in the conflict, but it was the deaths of American servicemen – 2,461 in all – that became too much for the American public.

More than 3,500 troops from other NATO countries were also killed.

“However, the burden of the war in Afghanistan extended beyond the Americans,” the US military said on Tuesday.

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Despite the Taliban’s pride in taking power, Afghanistan’s 38 million people now face a desperate humanitarian crisis.

Two weeks before the end of last year’s withdrawal, the Taliban seized power after a lightning strike against government forces.

Banners flew in Kabul on Wednesday celebrating victories over three empires — the former Soviet Union and Britain also lost wars in Afghanistan.

Hundreds of white Taliban flags proclaiming the Islamic faith flew from lampposts and government buildings.

Late Tuesday, the sky over Kabul was lit up with fireworks and celebratory gunfire from crowds of Taliban fighters.

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The Taliban have closed girls’ high schools in many provinces and barred women from many government jobs.

In Massoud Square, near the former US embassy, ​​armed fighters with Taliban flags shouted “Death to America”. Others rode honking their horns through the city.

Show off gear

Taliban social media accounts posted dozens of videos and photos of newly trained troops — many showing off US military equipment left behind in the rush of Washington’s chaotic withdrawal.

“This is how you troll a superpower after humiliating them and forcing them to withdraw from your country,” read the caption of a Twitter post with a photo of a giant Taliban flag now on the wall of the former US Embassy is painted.

Despite the Taliban’s pride in taking power, Afghanistan’s 38 million people now face a desperate humanitarian crisis — exacerbated after billions of dollars in assets were frozen and foreign aid dried up.

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They have also ordered women to cover themselves completely in public – ideally with an all-encompassing burqa.

The hardships for ordinary Afghans, especially women, have increased.

The Taliban have closed girls’ high schools in many provinces and barred women from many government jobs.

They have also ordered women to cover themselves completely in public – ideally with an all-encompassing burqa.

“Now I am at home without a job,” said Oranoos Omerzai, a resident of Kandahar, the Taliban’s de facto center of power.

Government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid emphasized that “great achievements” had been made in the past year.

“Afghans are no longer killed in wars, foreign troops have withdrawn and security has improved,” he told reporters last week.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)



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