Celebratory firing in the air, congratulatory messages, and takeover of the Kabul airport by the Taliban is what followed after the last of US troops took off from Afghanistan on Tuesday, 31 August, ending the 20-year war in the country.
Addressing the media from the Kabul airport on Tuesday, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said, “We do not have any doubt that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is a free and sovereign nation. America was defeated… and on behalf of my nation, we want to have good relations with the rest of the world,” Al Jazeera reported.
Mujahid said that the Taliban would protect the freedom, independence, and Islamic values of Afghans.
"American soldiers left the Kabul airport, and our nation got its full independence," he said, as the Taliban's 'Badri 313' special forces clicked pictures at the airport.
“The world should have learned their lesson and this is the enjoyable moment of victory,” Mujahid said.
Addressing the Badri forces, Mujahid urged them to be "cautious" in dealing with the nation and said that the country and its people had suffered enough because of the war and the invasion.
Amid global criticism, the US troops withdrew from Afghanistan, plunging the country into a humanitarian crisis.
"Tonight’s withdrawal signifies both the end of the military component of the evacuation but also the end of the nearly 20-year mission that began in Afghanistan shortly after September 11th, 2001," US General McKenzie observed in a statement.
The deadline for the withdrawal had been stipulated by President Joe Biden, in accordance with the Doha Agreement 2020 between the US and the Taliban.
Biden is expected to address the nation on his decision to stick to the 31 August deadline despite calls to extend it.
(With inputs from Al Jazeera.)