Tibetan activist groups in the UK organised a protest outside the Chinese Embassy and condemned China’s ongoing assaults on Tibetan people….reports Asian Lite News
Tibetan activist groups in the UK observed the International Day of the Disappeared in London on Tuesday by raising slogans outside the Chinese Embassy to ‘Release Political Prisoners’.
London-based Free Tibet, Global Alliance for Tibet and Persecuted Minorities (GATPM) supported by the Tibetan Community UK and International Tibet Network organised a protest outside the Chinese Embassy to mark the day.
A vigil was held for Rinchen Kyi, a Tibetan teacher who was arrested on August 1 this year and is now missing. Weeks before Rinchen’s arrest, her school in eastern Tibet was forced to close down.
Members of the Tibetan Community in London and their supporters chanted “Release Rinchen Kyi”, “Release the Political Prisoners”, “Tibetan Culture – in Tibet”, “Free Tibet”, and “China Out of Tibet”.
Representatives from Free Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet addressed the gathering and condemned China’s ongoing assaults on Tibetan people, their language and culture. The protest ended with the recitation of Buddhist prayer – “The Prayer of Truth” and the Tibetan National Anthem.
The vigil was held from 6 pm to 8 pm outside the Chinese Embassy in London.
Tsering Passang from the GATPM also joined this protest.
In a matter of months, China is set to host the prestigious Winter Olympic Games and will use the opportunity to gloss over its violent occupation of Tibet, wide-scale human rights abuses, and the deaths and disappearance of innocent Tibetans.
Join the growing call for governments to boycott the Beijing 2022 Olympics; anything less will be seen as support for the Chinese government’s brutal occupation of Tibet and blatant disregard for human rights, GATPM said.
Tibet was invaded soon after the CCP came to power on October 1, 1949. Over 1.2 million Tibetans died as a direct result of China’s illegal occupation of Tibet. His Holiness the Dalai Lama escaped Tibet and came into exile in India in 1959 where the Tibetan Spiritual Leader is currently based.
Over 1,50,000 Tibetans are scattered across some 25 countries worldwide with the majority of them in India where the Central Tibetan Administration is based (aka Tibetan Government-in-Exile), GATPM added. (ANI)
Houthi military officials have repeatedly claimed responsibility for drone attacks on facilities belonging to Saudi Arabia…reports Asian Lite News
A bomb-laden drone on Tuesday targeted Abha airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia injuring eight persons.
This is the second such strike on Abha Airport over the past 24 hours. The earlier attack caused no casualties. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident, reported Sputnik.
Saudi state TV reported that a civilian plane too was damaged in the drone strike.
Houthi military officials have repeatedly claimed responsibility for drone attacks on facilities belonging to Saudi Arabia, reported Sputnik.
Over the past several months, Saudi territory has been the target of multiple attacks by Houthi rebels from neighbouring Yemen, where an internal conflict between government forces and rebels continues to rage on.
Riyadh has been supporting the Yemeni government since 2015, conducting air, land, and sea operations against the Houthis, who, in turn, often strike back with retaliatory attacks.
Meanwhile, A missile and drone attack hit the Al-Anad airbase in Lahj province on Sunday killing at least 30 troops, in one of the deadliest attacks in Yemen’s civil war in recent years.
Saudi Arabia strongly condemned and denounced an attack launched by the Houthi militia on a key military base in Yemen’s south, which killed and injured dozens of people, reported Arab News. (ANI)
Israel will also recognise the status of thousands of Palestinians who live in the Israel-occupied West Bank without Israeli permits….reports Asian Lite News
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz announced that his country will make “goodwill gestures” to the Palestinian authority following his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Briefing reporters, Gantz said that during the meeting on Sunday night, he and Abbas agreed on a loan worth 500 million shekels ($155 million), Xinhua news agency reported.
Israel will also recognise the status of thousands of Palestinians who live in the Israel-occupied West Bank without Israeli permits.
Most of these Palestinians moved from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank after Hamas, the Islamic Palestinian group that runs the coastal enclave, seized power in 2007.
Gantz said the purpose of the meeting was to build trust between Israel and the Palestinian authority without promoting a peace deal.
“I came to the meeting to build trust, keep the Israeli interests and the important ties with the Palestinian authority,” Gantz said, adding that he believes Israel should support the Palestinian authority.
“The stronger the Palestinian authority is, the weaker Hamas will be, and the more governance it will have,” the Defence Minister added.
The meeting was the first between an Israeli minister and the Palestinian President since 2010.
Palestinian factions slammed meeting
Leaders of the Palestinian factions, including the Islamic Hamas Movement, have slammed the meeting between Palestinian President and Israeli Defence Minister.
Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Hazem Qassem said that the Sunday night meeting “would deepen the Palestinian internal division,” adding “it will encourage some parties in the region to normalise ties with Israel”, reports Xinhua news agency.
Spokesman of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Tareq Silmi said in a statement that the group rejects the meeting, adding that “it is a stab in the back of the Palestinian people who suffer and struggle against the occupation”.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian left-wing factions, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), slammed the meeting, calling on Abbas that he should resolve the internal split and regain unity “instead of meeting Israelis”.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has been pushing the two sides to go for trust-building and resume contacts in a bid to resume the peace talks.
Khatibzadeh described the talks to revive the 2015 landmark agreement as a “technical dialogue”, and added that they will continue, on the basis of a consensus…reports Asian Lite News
The Iranian Foreign Ministry said that the country will downscale its nuclear activities if the US fully returns to “all of its commitments under the nuclear agreement and UN Security Council Resolution 2231 in a verified manner”.
“The Vienna talks are not about reaching a new text. The Vienna talks are to ensure the implementation of the nuclear deal point by point by the US,” Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for the Ministry, told reporters on Monday.
If Washington abides by its obligations in such verified way, he added that Iran will accept that the US’ delegates sit “in the nuclear agreement room” and will “stop its mitigation measures”.
Khatibzadeh described the talks to revive the 2015 landmark agreement as a “technical dialogue”, and added that they will continue, on the basis of a consensus across the ruling structures of the Iranian state.
The role of the Foreign Ministry in the upcoming continuation of the talks, he went on to say, is yet to be decided by the leadership and will be made public.
On August 22, then Foreign Minister-designate Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in his confidence vote session in Parliament that the country was willing to engage in “reasonable” negotiations that serve the Iranian people’s interests.
Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 agreement in May 2018 and unilaterally re-imposed old and new sanctions on Iran.
In response, Iran has gradually stopped implementing parts of its commitments to the deal since May 2019.
After six rounds of talks in Vienna since April, the parties said serious differences remained between Iran and the US for the revitalization of the deal.
The sixth round of talks ended on June 20, with the talks currently on hiatus.
Two days ago, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi had appointed Mohammad Eslami as the new chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
Eslami, the former minister of Transport and Urban Development, replaced Ali Akbar Salehi who has served as the AEOI chief since August 2013, reports Xinhua news agency.
The 65-year-old Eslami holds degrees in civil engineering and has also formerly served as the Governor of Iran’s Mazandaran province, a deputy minister of the Ministry of Defence and the CEO of Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company.
The AEOI is in charge of overseeing the country’s nuclear programs and handling Tehran’s cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog, namely the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Minister of State for External Affaira V. Muraleedharan met with Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and Prime Minister Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa….reports Asian Lite News
India and Bahrain are celebrating this year the golden jubilee of their diplomatic relations, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said.
Coinciding with this important occasion, V Muraleedharan, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, began on Monday a three-day visit to Bahrain. On the first day of his visit, Muraleedharan met with Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, the Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Later during the day, he visited Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
“Called on Crown Prince and Prime Minister, HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain. Conveyed greetings on behalf of PM Shri @narendramodi ji. Thanked him for Bahrain’s constant support to Indian community including during Covid-19,” the minister tweeted.
He also interacted with representatives of Indian schools in Bahrain. “Commended them for their contributions in providing quality education as well as educating Indian and Bahraini students about our glorious culture and tradition,” Muraleedharan said.
He also briefed the representatives about the initiatives and reform measures taken by the government of India in education sector including the National Education Policy.
Earlier in the day, the minister had visited Indian Embassy in Bahrain and offered floral tribute to the bust of Mahatma Gandhi.
According to the press release, Muraleedharan will hold discussions with Bahraini ministers and dignitaries during his visit. He will also meet a wide cross-section of the Indian community in Bahrain, including those in health, education, business and social service.
This is Muraleedharan’s first visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain. About 350,000 Indians live in the Kingdom and India-Bahrain bilateral trade is around one billion dollars. The visit is part of India’s continuing engagement of countries in the Gulf region.
The group is seized of issues pertaining to the safe return of stranded Indians, the travel of Afghan nationals especially minorities to India, and assuring that the territory of Afghanistan is not used in any manner for terrorism directed against India, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed a high-level group comprising of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and senior officials to focus on the immediate priorities of India in Afghanistan, sources said.
This group has been meeting regularly over the last few days amid the ongoing Afghanistan crisis.
According to the sources, the group is seized of issues pertaining to the safe return of stranded Indians, the travel of Afghan nationals, especially minorities to India, and assuring that the territory of Afghanistan is not used in any manner for terrorism directed against India.
“In view of the evolving situation in Afghanistan, Prime Minister had recently directed that a high-level group comprising of EAM, NSA and senior officials focus on the immediate priorities of India,” source told ANI.
The group has also been monitoring the ground situation in Afghanistan and international reactions, including the Resolution, passed this morning by the UN Security Council, the sources added.
The United Nations Security Council under the Indian presidency has adopted a resolution on Afghanistan in which the member states reiterated the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan and noted the Taliban’s relevant commitments.
The resolution called for the Taliban to facilitate safe passage for people wanting to leave Afghanistan, allow humanitarians to access the country, and uphold human rights, including for women and children.
On Friday, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India is closely monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and is in touch with other countries as well.
India has evacuated over 550 people in six separate flights, either from Kabul or Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe, of these, over 260 were Indians.
New Delhi also facilitated the evacuation of Indian nationals through other agencies and are in touch with various countries, like the US, Tajikistan, Iran and others.
Indian envoy meets Taliban representative
In the first formal diplomatic contact between India and the Taliban on Tuesday after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, Ambassador of India to Qatar, Deepak Mittal, met Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the head of the Taliban’s Political Office in Doha.
The meeting took place at the Embassy of India, Doha, at the request of the Taliban side, the ministry of external affairs ministry said today.
The discussions focused on safety, security and early return of Indian nationals stranded in Afghanistan.
The travel of Afghan nationals, especially minorities, who wish to visit India, also came up, external affairs minstry said.
Ambassador Mittal raised India’s concern that Afghanistan’s soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism in any manner.
The Taliban Representative assured the Ambassador that these issues would be positively addressed.
Earlier, the Taliban had lauded the development works of India in Afghanistan.
On Monday, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has demanded that the Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists. It also condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks near the Kabul airport.
The 15-member council has adopted a resolution in which the member states reiterated the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan and noted the Taliban’s relevant commitments.
The resolution called for the Taliban to facilitate safe passage for people wanting to leave Afghanistan, allow humanitarians to access the country, and uphold human rights, including for women and children.
This crucial resolution was adopted with the support of 13 members with Russia and China abstaining and no one voting against the resolution. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla was chairing the UNSC meet under the Indian presidency in which the resolution was adopted.
The final pullout came 11 days before the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks carried out by the Afghanistan-based Al Qaeda in the US in 2001….reports Arul Louis
The US has ended its longest war in a confused retreat amid a swirl of recriminations and a subdued reflection of its international role as Tuesday dawned in Afghanistan and the last US Air Force C-17 Globemaster took off from Kabul airport.
The Taliban was back in power in Afghanistan and the US that invaded the country to fight the insurgents, had spent the last days cooperating with the group and even bombing its enemies now considered common adversaries.
The final pullout came 11 days before the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks carried out by the Afghanistan-based Al Qaeda in the US in 2001.
As it had from Alexander the Great to the British and the Soviets, history seemed to have rendered its verdict on the US.
“I want to thank our commanders and the men and women serving under them for their execution of the dangerous retrograde from Afghanistan as scheduled in the early morning hours of August 31st, Kabul time, with no further loss of American lives,” President Joe Biden announced the end of the 20-year war in a statement that was a far cry from the declarations of US leaders when they invaded Afghanistan.
The military commander who saw the end of the war that began in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the US, General Kenneth McKenzie, said: “It’s a mission that brought Osama bin Laden to a just end, along with many of his Al Qaeda co-conspirators. And it was not a cheap mission. The cost was 2,461 U.S. service members and civilians killed and more than 20,000 who were injured.”
And an estimated $2.3 trillion, nearly five times the size of India’s budget, was spent by the US on the war.
In addition, over 1,000 NATO troops, 66,000 Afghan security personnel, about 50,000 civilians and 50,000 Taliban and other terrorists perished in the war.
The war’s final moments were marked by a US aerial attack on a vehicle suspected of carrying suicide bombers that reportedly also killed seven children as collateral damage.
The big gain for the US was the killing of bin Laden and clearing of the Al Qaeda, but it did not mean the end of international terrorism as the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) showed up in defiance of both the US and the Taliban.
An IS-K suicide bomber killed 13 US troops and scores of Afghans in the August 27 attack at the Kabul airport in the waning days of the American presence.
The end of the war was sealed last year for a war-weary nation by former President Donald Trump when made a deal with the Taliban to withdraw from Afghanistan by May this year.
In July Biden had said: “So let me ask those who wanted us to stay: How many more. how many thousands more of America’s daughters and sons are you willing to risk? How long would you have them stay?”
Biden extended the deadline to September to buy time to smoothen the end, but it went badly.
While the Democrats tried to shift the blame to Trump for the deal with the Taliban, the former President declared: “It’s not that we left Afghanistan. It’s the grossly incompetent way we left.”
And its denouement of the withdrawal that now haunts Biden.
He ordered troop withdrawal to begin in May, but the turning point was the abandonment of the US military base in July without a proper transfer to the Afghanistan government headed by President Ashraf Ghani.
As the US military presence dwindled, the Taliban took province after province from the demoralised 300,000-strong US-trained Afghan defence forces and Ghani having left for the United Arab Emirates they marched into a leader-less Kabul on August 15.
Several thousand US citizens and Green Card-holders had to be evacuated, along with several hundred thousand Afghans who had worked or collaborated with the US and now faced Taliban retributions.
Biden sent about 5,000 troops to secure the airport for flights to bring them to safety.
In the end, the airbridge out of Kabul managed to evacuate more than 123,000 civilians.
But when the evacuation began there were horrific images of desperate people clinging to aircraft taking off but falling to their deaths.
But thousands, probably tens of thousands, are left behind, including up to 200 US citizens.
Facing criticism, Biden shifted the responsibility to the Pentagon.
He said on Monday: “For now, I will report that it was the unanimous recommendation of the Joint Chiefs and of all of our commanders on the ground to end our airlift mission as planned. Their view was that ending our military mission was the best way to protect the lives of our troops.”
And now the prospects of those let behind to escape rests on the Taliban assurances to allow travel.
A UN Security Council resolution passed under India’s presidency on Monday demanded that the Taliban keep the promise.
Biden said that it “sent the clear message of what the international community expects the Taliban to deliver on moving forward, notably freedom of travel. The Taliban has made commitments on safe passage and the world will hold them to their commitments”.
Domestically, Biden’s image of quiet competence built up by his party during last year’s election has been dented.
The RealClear Politics aggregation of polls on Biden’s job approval shows that it is down to 47.6 per cent and 60 per cent of those polled feel the country is headed on wrong track.
Biden has faced attacks from both Republicans, who delight from the debacle, and his own party members.
“This is one of the worst foreign policy decisions in American history, much worse than Saigon,” said Mitch McConnell, Republican Party leader in the Senate
“This national disgrace is the direct result of President Biden’s cowardice and incompetence,” added Ben Sasse, a Republican senator.
Seth Moulton, a Democrat member of the House of Representatives who secretly visited Afghanistan last week, said: “In my mind this was not just a national security mistake, but a political mistake, too.”
Even US allies were alarmed by the chaotic pullout and debris of shredded and global security left behind.
British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the US withdrawal leaves a “very big problem”.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the scenario “bitter, dramatic and appalling, especially for the people in Afghanistan”.
The ignominious retreat by the Biden administration raises questions about Washington’s credibility as an ally around the world, including in the Indo-Pacific where it is seeking mutual cooperation in confronting Beijing, amid introspection by the pundit class and politicians.
It also questions Biden’s trumpeted commitments to bringing democracy around the world and to nation-building.
“We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build,” he had said.
Biden has tried to douse these doubts by repeatedly saying that backing out of Afghanistan would help the US focus its attention in the areas where “we need to meet the threats where they are today”.
He added in a July speech: “We also need to focus on shoring up America’s core strengths to meet the strategic competition with China and other nations that is really going to determine… determine our future.”
Addressing the UN Security Council on Monday, China’s Deputy Permanent Representative Geng Shuang said of the US and its allies: “It is hoped that relevant countries will effectively change the wrong practice of imposing their own models on others.”
He also took a dig at the West for its mission of fighting terrorism in Afghanistan.
The airport “terrorist attack in Kabul once again proved that the war in Afghanistan did not achieve the goal of eliminating terrorist groups in Afghanistan”, he said.
If there are flashbacks to the US withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975, there may yet be slivers of hope for the future.
There the communists have gradually loosened their grip and grew ties with the US, mainly because of economic pragmatism.
Just last week, they hosted Vice President Kamala Harris.
A Taliban-run Afghanistan that eschews support for international terrorism and global Islam and follows a Sharia regime like that of US ally Riyadh, in effect an oil-less Saudi Arabia, and as it happened this week both cooperating to fight common enemies maybe Biden’s dream scenario.
The irony is that the Taliban’s newfound arsenal was supposed to prevent Afghanistan falling into Taliban hands…reports Asian Lite News
US Republican Congressman Jim Banks has revealed that the Taliban now have more Black Hawk helicopters than 85 per cent of the countries in the world, the Daily Mail reported.
Banks, who served in Afghanistan as an officer in charge of supplying weapons, said: “Due to the negligence of this administration, the Taliban now have access to $85 billion worth of military equipment.”
The militant group’s metamorphosis from rag-tag guerrilla force to highly professional, impressively equipped army has been at the expense of Western taxpayers, the report said.
The UK and the US have picked up the tab not only for the eye-wateringly expensive hardware, but also the training budget — as the Taliban’s ranks have been swollen by defectors from the Afghan National Security Forces.
The irony is that the Taliban’s newfound arsenal was supposed to prevent Afghanistan falling into Taliban hands, it added.
The group appears to have helped themselves to the state-of-the-art MBITR-2 (Multi-band Intrateam Radios) favoured by US Green Berets but denied to most conventional UK personnel. They were issued to Afghan government forces.
What’s more, their weapons appear immaculately clean and well maintained, their uniforms looked washed and ironed and they carry their weapons as British soldiers are taught to carry theirs.
The transformation in the group’s appearance and capability could scarcely be more vivid or disturbing, the report said.
Sandals and shalwar kameez have been replaced by combat boots and tailored camouflage uniforms.
Ancient AK47s are nowhere to be seen. Instead today’s Taliban carry US Green Beret-issue M4 carbines with telescoping stocks.
The Taliban of 15 years ago were seldom if ever seen wearing helmets. But today their headwear is more expensive and more advanced than that worn by most British troops, it added.
Between 2003 and 2016, the US purchased and provided 75,898 vehicles and 208 aircraft, to the Afghan army and security forces…reports Asian Lite News
The US provided an estimated $83 billion worth of training and equipment to Afghan security forces since 2001. This year, alone, the US military aid to Afghan forces was $3 billion, Forbes reported.
Putting price tags on American military equipment still in Afghanistan isn’t an easy task. In the fog of war, or withdrawal, Afghanistan has always been a black box with little sunshine, the report said.
Between 2003 and 2016, the US purchased and provided 75,898 vehicles and 208 aircraft, to the Afghan army and security forces, according to a Government Accountability Office report.
Forbes reported estimated vehicle costs:
Armoured personnel carriers such as the M113A2 cost $170,000 each and recent purchases of the M577A2 post carrier cost $333,333 each.
Mine resistant vehicles ranges from $412,000 to $767,000. The total cost could range between $382 million to $711 million.
Recovery vehicles such as the ‘truck, wrecker’ cost between for the base model $168,960 and $880,674 for super strength versions.
Medium range tactical vehicles include 5-tonne cargo and general transport trucks were priced at $67,139. However, the family of MTV heavy vehicles had prices ranging from $235,500 to $724,820 each. Cargo trucks to transport airplanes cost $800,865
Humvees – ambulance type (range from $37,943 to $142,918 with most at $96,466); cargo type, priced at $104,682. Utility Humvees were typically priced at $91,429. However, the 12,000 lb. troop transport version cost up to $329,000.
Light tactical vehicles: Fast attack combat vehicles ($69,400); and passenger motor vehicles ($65,500). All terrain 4-wheel vehicles go up to $42,273 in the military databases.
This month, the Taliban seized Black Hawk helicopters and A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft. Black Hawk helicopters can cost up to $ 21 million.
In 2013, the US placed an order for 20 A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft for $427 million – that’s $21.3 million for each plane. Other specialised helicopters can cost up to $37 million each.
The Afghan air force contracted for C 208 light attack airplanes in March 2018: seven planes for $84.6 million, or $12.1 million each. The airplanes are very sophisticated and carry HELLFIRE missiles, anti-tank missiles and other weaponry.
The PC-12 intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance airplanes use the latest in technology. Having these planes fall into Taliban control is disconcerting. Civilian models sell new for approximately $5 million each and the military planes could sell for many times that price.
Basic fixed-wing airplanes range in price from $3.1 million to $22 million in the DLA database.
Since 2003 the US gave Afghan forces at least 600,000 infantry weapons, including M16 rifles, 162,000 pieces of communication equipment, and 16,000 night-vision goggle devices, according to the GAO report.
The howitzer is the modern cannon for the US military and each unit can cost up to $500,000; however most are in the $200,000 price range. At the higher end, there’s GPS guidance on fired shells, Forbes said.
A common price of a M16 rifle is $749, according to DLA. Adding a grenade launcher can push the price of the M16 to $12,032. M4 carbine rifles are slightly more expensive with unit prices as high as $1,278.
Just the sights on night-vision sniper rifle rifle scopes can run as high as $35,000, however, most vary in price between $5,000 and $10,000, Forbes said.
The two-decades-old war in Afghanistan came to an end on Monday midnight as the plane carrying the remaining American troops left the country, reports Asian Lite News
Taliban leaders on Tuesday symbolically walked across the runway of Kabul international airport to mark their victory in Afghanistan as the US forces completed the withdrawal process. The group that regained control over the country, a fortnight ago, also said that they “want good diplomatic relations with the US.”
“This victory belongs to us all,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said during the celebration. “The world should have learned their lesson and this is the enjoyable moment of victory,” Mujahid also said from the runway.
Until now, the airport was in control of the US forces. The two-decades-old war in Afghanistan came to an end on Monday midnight as the plane carrying the remaining American troops left the country. “Every single US service member is out of Afghanistan, I can say that with absolute certainty,” General Kenneth F McKenzie, head of the US Central Command, said.
The US-supported Afghan government collapsed on August 15 after the Taliban seized control of the capital city of Kabul. The military takeover led to chaotic scenes at the very same Hamid Karzai International airport after thousands of Afghans made a desperate attempt to flee the brutal regime of Sunni fundamentalists. Last week, an Islamic State suicide attack at an airport gate killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 US service members.
With Taliban’s return to power, panic has gripped country as many Afghan fear a repeat of Taliban’s initial rule from 1996-2001, which was infamous for their treatment of girls and women, as well as a brutal justice system.
However, since their takeover, the group has repeatedly promised a more tolerant and moderate rule compared with their first stint in power.
Over 120,000 US, foreign citizens, Afghan nationals evacuated in last 17 days
Meanwhile, President Biden on Monday said that over 120,000 US and foreign citizens, Afghan nationals have been evacuated in the last 17 days as 20-year US military presence in Afghanistan has ended.
“The past 17 days have seen our troops execute the largest airlift in US history, evacuating over 120,000 US citizens, citizens of our allies, and Afghan allies of the United States. They have done it with unmatched courage, professionalism, and resolve. Now, our 20-year military presence in Afghanistan has ended,” Biden said in a statement.
“Tomorrow afternoon, I will address the American people on my decision not to extend our presence in Afghanistan beyond August 31,” he said, adding that “for now, I will report that it was the unanimous recommendation of the Joint Chiefs and of all of our commanders on the ground to end our airlift mission as planned. Their view was that ending our military mission was the best way to protect the lives of our troops, and secure the prospects of civilian departures for those who want to leave Afghanistan in the weeks and months ahead.”
The Pentagon on Monday announced that the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has been completed, after 20 years of US military operations.
“I announce the completion of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the end of the military mission to evacuate American citizens and Afghans. The last C-17 lifted off from Hamid Karzai Airport on August 30 this afternoon at 3:29 pm (local time),” said US General Kenneth F. McKenzie.