Taliban declare victory at Kabul airport, say ‘world should have learned their lesson’

The Taliban on Tuesday morning addressed the media at the Kabul airport hours after the exit of US troops on the final deadline for withdrawal. The Taliban have said the “victory” belongs to all Afghans.

Taliban leaders symbolically walked across the Kabul international airport’s runway after the US withdrawal to mark their victory.

“This victory belongs to us all,” said the Taliban spokesperson at the Kabul airport where he was accompanied by a host of other leaders of the insurgent group.

Zabihullah Mujahid further added, “We want good diplomatic relations with the whole world.”

Zabihullah Mujahid said in a live stream posted by a Talib as he walked through the Kabul airport facility, “The world should have learned their lesson and this is the enjoyable moment of victory.”

Taliban officials filmed the empty airfield at the Kabul airport on their mobile phones, surrounded by special forces members of the insurgents.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Taliban will have to earn international legitimacy and support by meeting their commitments on freedom of travel, counterterrorism, respecting the basic rights of the Afghan people, including women and minorities.

Blinken said the US will engage with the Taliban not on the basis of what a Taliban-led government says, but what it does to live up to its commitments.

The US completed the withdrawal of its forces from Kabul, ending 20 years of war that culminated in the Taliban’s return to power on August 15.

The Taliban stormed across Afghanistan, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, two weeks before the US was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war.

Blinken said the US engaged with the Taliban during the past few weeks for evacuation operations.

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