Taliban declare themselves victors with a ‘mountain’ of problems on top – El Financiero

The Taliban did a triumphant journey this Tuesday through the Kabul International Airport, hours after the withdrawal of troops that ended the longest war in the United States. Standing on the runway, leaders of the group promised to secure the country, reopen the airport and give an amnesty to your former rivals.

In a demonstration of control, Taliban leaders walked the runway escorted by members of the elite Badri unit. The commandos proudly posed for the press dressed in camouflage uniforms.

Putting the airport back into operation is one of the considerable challenges facing the Taliban in governing a country of 38 million inhabitants that for two decades survived on billions of dollars in foreign aid.

“Afghanistan is free at last,” he told The Associated Press on the runway at Hekmatula Wasiq airport, a Taliban leader. “The military and civil side (of the airport) are with us and under control. We look forward to announcing our government. Everything is peaceful. Everything is safe”.

Wasiq urged people to return to work and reiterated the Taliban promise to offer a general amnesty.

“The people must be patient. Little by little we will return everything to normal. It will take time, ”he stressed.

A prominent member of the Taliban political bureau congratulated the Afghans on their “great victory” in achieving “full independence for the country” with the departure of US forces.

Shahabuddin Delawar spoke to a hundred people, apparently all men, at an event in Kabul broadcast on state television. Delawar lashed out at the enemy – US and NATO forces – and accused the West of spreading propaganda to undermine the Taliban.

“Soon you will see the progress” of the nation. The image on state TV appeared with the subtitle Celebration of Independence Day and the end of the American invasion of Afghanistan.

Just hours earlier, the US Army completed its largest non-combatant aerial evacuation in history.

This Tuesday morning there are still signs of the chaos registered in recent days. In the terminal they looked suitcases and clothes lying between piles of documents. There were razor wire to separate areas and overturned cars and parked vehicles blocked routes around the civilian airport, an indication of measures taken to protect against possible suicide attacks with vehicles.

Several vehicles with Taliban fighters were running along the only runway at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in the military zone north of the airport. Before dawn, heavily armed combatants walked through the hangars of the military zone between some of the seven CH-46 helicopters used by the State Department in its evacuations before disabling them.

The group’s spokesperson, Zabihula Muyahid, addressed the members of the Badri unit present. “I trust you are very cautious in dealing with the country. Our country has suffered war and invasion and the people have no more tolerance, ”he told them.

After their intervention, the combatants exclaimed: “God is the greatest!”

In another interview with Afghan state television, Mujahid spoke about resuming activity at the airport, which remains a crucial route for those who want to leave the country.

“Our technical team will check the technical and logistical needs of the airport,” he explained. “If we can fix everything on our own, we won’t need any help. If technical or logistical assistance is required to repair the destruction, then we will ask for help from Qatar or Turkey”.

The spokesperson did not elaborate on what was destroyed.

Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of the US Army Central Command, had earlier said that troops had “demilitarized” the system so that it could no longer be used. Authorities commented that the troops had not flown equipment to ensure that the airport could be used to operate flights in the future. Additionally, McKenzie noted that U.S. troops they had disabled 27 Humvee trucks and 73 aircraft.

Dramatic scenes took place at the airport after the Taliban conquered Afghanistan in a blitzkrieg and seized Kabul on August 15. Thousands of Afghans surrounded the airport, and some died after desperately clinging to the side of a US Army C-17 transport plane taking off. Last week at least 169 Afghans and 13 US servicemen died in a suicide attack by the Islamic State extremist group on a terminal gate.

During the evacuation, US forces helped move about 120,000 US, Afghan and non-US citizens, according to the White House. Coalition forces also evacuated their citizens and more Afghans. But despite all those who left, the United States and other countries admitted that they had not evacuated all those who wanted to leave.

But this Tuesday, after a night in which Taliban fighters fired into the air in triumph, new guards kept away the curious and those who somehow still aspired to take a flight to leave.

“After 20 years we have defeated the Americans,” said Mohammad Islam, a Taliban guard at the airport, hailing from Logar province and holding a Kalashnikov rifle. “They have left and now our country is free.”

“It is clear what we want,” he added. “We want sharia (Islamic law), peace and stability.”

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative in Afghanistan who oversaw the talks with the Taliban, wrote on Twitter that “Afghans face a moment of decision and opportunity” following the withdrawal.

“The future of the country is in your hands. They will choose their path with full sovereignty, ”he wrote. “This is the opportunity to end their war as well.”

But the Taliban face what could be a succession of great crises while taking control of the country. Most of Afghanistan’s Billions of Dollars in Foreign Currency are now frozen in the United States, which puts pressure on a local currency to fall sharply. Banks have imposed controls on withdrawals for fear of a deposit run in the climate of uncertainty. Officials across the country say they have not received their wages for months.

Medical equipment continues to be in short supply and thousands of people who fled the Taliban advance live in dire conditions. In addition, a severe drought has reduced food production in the country and made imports even more important, while increasing the risk of famine.


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