After the insurgents stormed into the Presidential Palace in Kabul on Sunday and the Afghan President fled the country, a Taliban spokesperson declared that Afghanistan is under their control and the war is over.
Despite the US war in Afghanistan lasting two decades and costing over a trillion dollars, the Taliban stood on the gates of Kabul on Saturday and took the capital on Sunday with no resistance.
Taliban spokesperson Mohammad Naeem said that “Today is a great day for the Afghan people and the mujahideen (Taliban),” adding, “They have witnessed the fruits of their efforts and their sacrifices for 20 years. Thanks to God, the war is over in the country.”
In an interview with Qatar based Al Jazeera TV, he said that the Taliban did not want to live in isolation and the type of rule and the form of the regime would be clear soon. On the question of women’s and minorities rights, he said that the Taliban respected women’s and minorities rights and freedom of expression within Sharia law. Naeem said the Taliban wanted to have peaceful relations and was keen to develop several channels of communication it had already opened with foreign countries. “We ask all countries and entities to sit with us to settle any issues,” he said in the interview. He added that the Taliban would adopt a policy of non-interference in others’ affairs in return for non-interference in Afghanistan. “We do not think that foreign forces will repeat their failed experience in Afghanistan once again.”
At the same time pictures and videos were coming in from the Kabul Airport of people trying to board aeroplanes to leave the country. The President of Afghanistan also fled the country in an unexpected move at the time when the Taliban was entering the capital saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed. His whereabouts are still unknown but rumours suggest that he is in Tajikistan.
This is the first time that the Taliban has entered the capital after they were ousted by the US army in 2001 after the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the WTO twin towers.
Back in the US, President Joe Biden’s administration is being heavily criticized over the hasty departure of the US armed forces from the war-torn nation and leaving them to their own fate.
In a statement on Sunday, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell blamed Biden for what he called a “shameful failure of American leadership.” McConnell said, “Terrorists and major competitors like China are watching the embarrassment of a superpower laid low.”
According to a senior administration official, President Biden is expected to address the US in the next few days about the crisis in Afghanistan.