Taliban mark anniversary of foreign troop exit with military parade-Zamkuwire
The Taliban celebrated the first anniversary of the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan on Wednesday with victory chants and a military parade showcasing equipment left behind by US-led forces.
Afghanistan’s new rulers – not formally recognized by any other nation – reimposed their harsh version of Islamic law on the impoverished country, with women squeezed out of public life.
Despite the restrictions, and a deepening humanitarian crisis, many Afghans say they are glad the foreign forces that prompted the Taliban insurgency left after a brutal 20-year war.
“Since the Americans left, there is no war, and that makes us happy,” Kabul shopkeeper Naseer Ahmad Safi told AFP. “Business was good when foreign forces were present, but it will get better again. It’s been only one year of the Islamic Emirate.”
In a statement, the government said the day marked “the country’s freedom from American occupation.”
“So many mujahideen (people who engage in jihad) were wounded, so many children orphaned, and so many women became widows.”
The authorities held an official celebration that included a military parade at Bagram Airbase, the nerve center of US operations during the war.
Groups of Taliban fighters – dressed in traditional shalwar kameez and carrying rocket-propelled grenades – marched as helicopters flew by. Minutes later, dozens of military vehicles including humvees and artillery tanks, seized in the war or left behind by US forces during their chaotic withdrawal, were paraded.
Celebrations were also held in several provinces, with locals reading poems and verses from the holy Koran.
In Kandahar, the Taliban’s de facto power center, hundreds of the group’s fighters chanted victory slogans as they drove through the area in convoys.