Afghanistan: Taliban use gunfire to celebrate US leaving Kabul
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Gunfire was heard echoing across Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul after the last remaining US troops withdrew from the city prompting celebrations from the Taliban. The US mission which ended on August 31 saw all US troops leaving Afghanistan marking the end of a two-decade conflict that ended with the Taliban ruling Afghanistan once more. BBC Foreign Correspondent Lyse Doucet was on the ground as weapons fired into the night sky as billions of dollars worth of US military equipment was left behind in the rush to exit the country.
Reporting from Kabul, Ms Doucet told BBC News: “The guns are going off, you can see the streams of red lights behind me, the tracer fire going up into the night sky.
“All day we heard the American warplanes circling above the city, flying low as we thought the last American flights were taking off and providing extra cover in these last few hours…
“And this is what you are hearing now, the eruption of celebratory gunfire by Taliban supports in the city of Kabul.”
The US Department of Defence tweeted a photo of Major General Chris Donahue who was the last US service member to leave the country.
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Despite pressure to extend the date, President Joe Biden pushed ahead with the withdrawal on August 31 despite many people being left behind including billions of dollars worth of military hardware.
Soon after the US planes left, Taliban forces entered Kabul Airport and seized equipment that was left behind including a fleet of helicopters and weapons.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the withdrawal marked a “new chapter” with Afghanistan as diplomatic missions to the country will operate from Doha, Qatar.
Gen McKenzie, head of US Central Command, said: “The last C-17 lifted off on 30 August at 3.29pm (EDT) and the last manned aircraft is clearing the airspace above Afghanistan now.”
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Over 120,000 US citizens and Afghan allies were evacuated since the mission began in mid-August as now refugees begin to resettle across the world.
It comes as ISIS-K terrorists targetted Baron Hotel and Abbey Gate killing dozens of Afghans and US soldiers.
They claim another rocket attack was launched against the airport on Monday but was intercepted by Taliban security systems.
There are also fears the Taliban have now secured a large arsenal of Western equipment left behind at Kabul Airport as priority was given to passengers rather than goods.
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President Joe Biden has come under intense fire for the withdrawal in Afghanistan after the Taliban were able to retake control of the country soon after the US began leaving.
World leaders are now exploring ways to keep the Taliban in check over fears they may resort back to their oppressive regime of the 1990s.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has suggested withholding the £283million in frozen Afghan funds from the Taliban in exchange for safe passage for refugees and the upholding of women’s rights.
Mr Biden is set to address the withdrawal at 6pm GMT on Tuesday but has earned the ire of many for his botched press conference appearances.
The US head of state claimed no one “questioned” US credibility on Afghanistan despite top politicians and former diplomats blasting his decision to exit.
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