In the aftermath of the announcement by the United States of the end of the withdrawal of military troops from Afghanistan, after 20 years of occupation, supporters and members of the Taliban gathered in some cities in the Asian country to celebrate what ‘they called it a “freedom day”.
In one of the images recorded, the crowd marches by carrying coffins covered with flags of the United States, European countries and NATO (Western military alliance that supported the occupation in the country and, in 2014, announced the end of his combat mission in Afghanistan).
The commemoration was recorded in Khost, capital of the Afghan province of the same name, located in the east of the country, 230 kilometers from Kabul and close to the border with Pakistan. Coffins covered with the flags of France and the United Kingdom were also seen at the site.
Some of the crowd also raised weapons, while others waved Taliban flags or recorded the celebration on cell phones. In Kabul, same Monday, gunshots and fireworks had already been heard after the takeoff of the last American plane.
“August 31 is our official Freedom Day. On that day, US occupation forces and NATO forces fled the country,” Taliban official Qari Saeed Khosti told a local television station. , according to Reuters.
This Monday (30), the United States concluded the withdrawal of its troops from the country. The occupation began a few weeks after the attacks of September 11, 2001, in retaliation against the terrorist groups that shelter the country, such as al-Qaeda, responsible for the attack.
Since October 2001, there have been 160,000 deaths (including 2,298 American soldiers, 3,814 mercenaries, 1,145 allies and the rest of the Afghans), according to a study by Brown University (USA). The war cost $ 2.26 trillion, a figure the Pentagon estimates at $ 1 trillion.
Now, with the departure of the foreign armed forces, the Afghans face a dilemma as to the future of the country in the hands of the Taliban, who already ruled the country between 1996 and 2001. In power, the group was accused of having suppressed opponents. through torture and death and restricted several civil liberties. Women, for example, were not allowed to attend schools and universities.
Now the Taliban promise moderate government, but recent episodes involving the murder of artists and control of the press show contradictions in this discourse. Actions over the next few months will tell if the fundamentalist group gets the support of the Western community.
This Tuesday (31), Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban, reinforced his interest in maintaining “good relations with the United States and with the world”.
So far, the Taliban have received nods from the Russians and the Chinese.
In the midst of the crisis, it remains to be seen how the economy of the country and the lives of the Afghan people will be. On Tuesday, UN Secretary General António Guterres warned of the possibility of a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan and called on UN member states to provide “timely, flexible and comprehensive funding” to respond to the crisis. fate of the Afghan people.
He also recalled that “nearly half of the Afghan population, 18 million people, needs humanitarian aid to survive.”