The Taliban welcomed the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan shortly after the U.S. Central Command announced that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Asian country has completed, a Taliban spokesman said early Tuesday.
The last U.S. soldiers were evacuated from Kabul airport at mid-night on Monday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid wrote on social media platform twitter.
“In this way, our country became completely free and independent,” he said.
The final evacuation flight was conducted on the last hours of Monday night Aug. 30, airlifting the last U.S. military and non-military personnel back home one day before the Aug. 31 deadline set by U.S. President Joe Biden.
Shortly after Mujahid’s comments on social media roughly at 1:00 a.m. Tuesday local time, Taliban members started celebratory gun firing in Afghan capital Kabul, which lasted for about an hour, causing panic in Kabul residents.
Following the firing, Mujahid said in a separate tweet that “the gunshots heard in Kabul are as a result of celebratory firing, the Kabul residents should not worry, we are trying to control it.”
The formal stance of the Taliban about the U.S. withdrawal is yet to be made amid the absence of any statement.
The U.S. Central Command announced Monday that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan has completed, ending 20 years of U.S.-led invasion into the country.
“I’m here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the mission to evacuate American citizens, third country nationals and vulnerable Afghans,” Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, announced during a news conference in Washington, which was held by the Department of Defense.
“The last C-17 lifted off from Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 30, this afternoon, at 3:29 p.m. East coast time, and the last manned aircraft is now clearing the space above Afghanistan,” McKenzie said.
While paying tribute to the 2,461 U.S. service members killed — including the 13 soldiers who lost their lives on Thursday to a terror attack aimed at sabotaging the evacuation mission — and over 20,000 U.S. personnel injured during the longest war Washington has engaged in throughout history, McKenzie told reporters that no American citizens embarked on the final five evacuation flights leaving Kabul.
The general said the number of U.S. citizens currently still stranded in Afghanistan is “in the very low hundreds,” stressing that the Department of State is now in charge of assisting those evacuees. Enditem