Brussels (Brussels Morning) The US mission in Afghanistan ended just before the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. The last US C-17 military aircraft was carrying Ross Wilson, the head of the US embassy in Kabul and a US military commander.
After the fall of the Afghan government in August, US forces and their allies took control of the airport and started the evacuation operation. Thousands of people rushed to the airport, hoping to leave the country and its barbaric, newly-installed government. The evacuation system failed to protect the civilians and soldiers. A suicide bombing attack claimed by ISIL killed more than 170 and injured dozens more.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden called the US military airlift “an extraordinary success”, with the extraction of more than 120,000 Afghans, Americans and other allies to end a 20-year war – even though more than a hundred Americans still remain and thousands of Afghans are still seeking to leave.
24 hours after the last American C-17 cargo plane left Kabul, President Biden has vigorously defended his decision to end the United States’ longest war and withdraw all American troops before the deadline of August 31.
Biden said in a speech from the White House: “I was not going to prolong this war forever,” also he added, “And I was not going to extend an outing forever.”
According to Biden, the last air force transport plane left Kabul a minute before midnight on Monday. He had set Tuesday as the deadline to end the evacuation and withdraw the troops remaining after the Taliban took control of the country.
President Biden pledged a final withdrawal to end on what he called an “eternal or forever war” that responded to the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City which killed nearly 3,000 people.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump blamed Joe Biden for ousting him from the presidency, criticising his handling of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Trump called the fall of the Afghan government one of the greatest military defeats in U.S. history.
The last US military plane left Kabul airport on the night of Monday August 30, marking the end of 20 years of US presence and war in Afghanistan. The Taliban celebrated the withdrawal of the last US troops from Afghanistan with bullets, calling the moment historic.
At the same time, the US Department of Defense announced that the evacuation operation was over. Around 123,000 civilians, including foreign nationals, Afghans who worked with US forces and people at risk, were evacuated during from Afghanistan during the exit operation.
General Kenneth McKenzie, US Chief of Staff, said more than 800,000 US troops and 25,000 civilians served in Afghanistan during this period. But the death toll of US citizens in Afghanistan over the past 20 years has risen to more than 4,000, military and civilian included. According to Mr. McKenzie, 20,000 other people were injured during the mission.
At the moment, 33 out of 34 provinces within Afghanistan are under the control of the Taliban, the only exception being Panjshir. Fahim Dashty, spokesperson of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, said in an interview with BM that even if the allies of Afghanistan have left the battlefield, they can still help Afghans in their common fight for democracy and protection of human and women’s rights against extremism, tyranny and fundamentalism. Under the Taliban’s control, Afghanistan will without doubt become ground zero for radical Islamist terrorism; plots against democracies will be hatched there once again.
The National Resistance Front is prepared to take on the Taliban once again and is fighting for the future not only of Afghanistan, but also the West. The NRF has enough equipment and weapons to hold back the Taliban offensive for now, but it is not sufficient for the longer term. More resources will be needed for the NRF to push back the Taliban from other provinces surrounding Panjshir and to expand the resistance to north and central Afghanistan in the first stage. Their military resources will be rapidly depleted unless our friends in the West can find a way to supply them without delay, Dashty told BM.
Mr. Dashty said NRF leader Ahmad Massoud is committed to this course of action: “No matter what happens, my mujahideen fighters and I will defend Panjshir as the last bastion of Afghan freedom. But we need more weapons, more ammunition, and more supplies.
“Our allies in the west do not just have the fight against terrorism in common with Afghans. We now have a long history made up of shared ideals and struggles. There is still much that you can do to aid the cause of freedom. You are our only remaining hope.”
To support the resistance, the NRF requires its allies:
- Not to recognise the Taliban’s regime as the official government of Afghanistan or any other group that has forced themselves upon the Afghan people.
- To support the NRF and provide resources including military equipment so that they can defend and push back the Taliban.
- To support the NRF politically on the global stage.
- To provide humanitarian assistance to Afghans through international organisations still active in Afghanistan, as this help is desperately needed.