After the United States concluded the plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, the spokesman for the Taliban, an extremist group that came to control the country, held a press conference this Tuesday (31) at Kabul airport, a scenario of tension in the country. last few weeks during the American operation.
Zabihullah Mujahid congratulated Afghans on the withdrawal of US troops after 20 years of occupation.
“Congratulations to Afghanistan. This victory belongs to all of us,” he said during the interview at the terminal, which until a few hours earlier was controlled by US forces. “The defeat of the United States is a great lesson for other invaders and for our future generations.”
The spokesman, however, said that the Islamic fundamentalist faction wants to have “good relations with the United States and with the world”. “We welcome good diplomatic relations with everyone.”
The last American plane took off at 23:59 (16:29 GMT), after an operation to evacuate 122,000 people since August 14, the eve of the Taliban’s takeover of the capital.
Initiated 19 years, 10 months and 24 days ago, the action consisted of the longest US military engagement.
It ended with a chaotic retreat marked by fiascos: from the images of an Afghan falling from the sky after grabbing a C-17 freighter taking off to the attack that took place last Thursday (26), which, with nearly 200 dead, was the most lethal in the capital throughout the war.
On the final flight, the last to board were General Chris Donahue, commander of the country’s military forces on Afghan soil, and Ambassador Ross Wilson. Still, General Kenneth McKenzie, head of Central Command, said, “We don’t take out all the ones we’d like.”
About 6,000 Americans were rescued from the country, and about 200 of those who still wanted to leave ended up being left behind. The Taliban, campaigning to appear moderate, said anyone who wants to leave when commercial flights take place will not be stopped.
Over the two decades, according to a study by Brown University (USA), about 160,000 people died (of which 2,298 American soldiers, 3,814 mercenaries, 1,145 allies; the rest, Afghans). The cost was $2.26 trillion, a number that the Pentagon puts at around $1 trillion.
Combat actions peaked from 2010 to 2012, when around 100,000 soldiers operated in the country. In 2014, they were closed and only a residual force remained in Afghanistan, transferring bases and missions to the local army.
These forces failed to contain the Taliban, which, after spreading across the country and carrying out terrorist attacks, gradually gained ground in the Afghan interior.
Last year, President Donald Trump kept his promise to disengage the United States from what he called futile wars and signed a peace deal with the Taliban, believing in the assumption that the group would negotiate its way into a coalition government.
Biden was elected in November and, after taking office in January of this year, announced in April that he would stick to the agreement — but he would leave by September 11, not in May, as agreed. The Taliban used this as an excuse to tear up their part of the deal.
He started a campaign through the Afghan interior and co-opted tribal leaders. The result was an overwhelming military campaign against major urban centers, which in two weeks saw the entire country capitulate and Kabul occupied without resistance, with President Ashraf Ghani fleeing to Abu Dhabi.