Celebratory gunfire echoes in Kabul as US forces exit Afghanistan
Gunshots echoed around Kabul early on Tuesday morning, August 31, as Taliban soldiers celebrated the exit of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, marking the end of a 20-year war that left the country at the mercy of jihadi militants.
Footage shows gunfire, cheers, and whistles ringing throughout the capital while the Taliban took control of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, the site of much chaos as thousands of Afghans tried to escape from the militant regime.
The last of the U.S. military planes left one minute before midnight in Kabul.
Marine General Frank McKenzie, commander of the US Central Command, announced the completion of the pull-out which he said evacuated more than 123,000 civilians from Afghanistan.
He said: "There’s a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure. We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out. But I think if we’d stayed another 10 days, we wouldn’t have gotten everybody out."
Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the US withdrawal signals the start of Afghanistan’s "complete independence."
He said: "At 12 o’clock tonight, the last American troops left Kabul airport, on which account Afghanistan was completely liberated and independent."