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Taliban declare victory from Kabul airport tarmac after US withdrawal

On Tuesday, Taliban leaders declared victory over the United States just hours after the last military force left Afghanistan. The declaration occurred on the tarmac of Kabul airport, which up until yesterday remained under US control. The airport has been the epicenter of a frenzy of evacuation missions conducted by the US and its Western allies. The site was transformed into an arena for Taliban celebrations after the departure of the last US plane, which occurred just before midnight on Monday. The event represents the end of 20 years of US military presence in Afghanistan, the US’s longest war.

Video footage showed Taliban fighters shooting guns and walking through the airport. As the sun rose, footage showed the militants searching through an abandoned hanger filled with US equipment that has been left behind. In one instance, a militant dressed in US-style uniforms and holding US-made weapons examined a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter parked inside an abandoned hangar. The Taliban were also seen posing for photographs while sitting in the cockpits of aircraft left behind. However, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby expressed that he wasn’t concerned with the images, stating that the Taliban can inspect the planes, but they lack the ability to fly them.

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