Afghanistan: Taliban Celebrate Victory As U.S. Troops Leave

aliban fighters watched the last U.S. planes disappear into the sky around midnight Monday
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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban fighters watched the last U.S. planes disappear into the sky around midnight Monday and then fired their guns into the air, celebrating victory after a 20-year insurgency in Afghanistan that drove the world’s most powerful military out of one of the poorest countries.

The departure of the cargo planes marked the end of a massive airlift in which tens of thousands of people fled Afghanistan, fearful of the return of Taliban rule after they took over most of the country and rolled into the capital earlier this month.

“The last five aircraft have left, it’s over!” said Hemad Sherzad, a Taliban fighter stationed at Kabul’s international airport. “I cannot express my happiness in words. ... Our 20 years of sacrifice worked.”

In Washington, Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, announced the completion of America’s longest war and the evacuation effort, saying the last planes took off from Kabul airport at 3:29 p.m. EDT — one minute before midnight Monday in Kabul.

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