Photos emerged Tuesday showing Taliban supporters in Afghanistan holding a mock funeral while hoisting coffins draped with flags from the U.S. and other NATO countries.
Reuters obtained some of the photos that were taken in Khost on Tuesday, less than a day after the last U.S. troop left the country after a nearly 20-year engagement.
The U.S. completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan late Monday, ending America’s longest war and closing a chapter in military history likely to be remembered for colossal failures, unfulfilled promises and a frantic exit of 123,000.
The Reuters report said footage from the mock funeral was shared widely on social media.
Taliban leaders took over control of the Kabul airport Tuesday and marked the departure of the last U.S. plane from the country by taking a symbolic walk across the airport’s sole runway, according to a report.
“The world should have learned its lesson and this is the enjoyable moment of victory,” Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said in a livestream video. He spoke to reporters at the Hamid Karzai International Airport and said Americans “could not achieve their goal through military operations,” according to Al Jazeera.
The Biden administration has insisted that the U.S. is unwavering in commitments and placed much of the blame for the crisis in Afghanistan on the country’s military and the Trump administration.
“The previous administration’s agreement said that if we stuck to the May 1st deadline that they had signed on to leave by, the Taliban wouldn’t attack any American forces,” Biden said on Tuesday. “But if we stayed all bets were off. So we were left with a simple decision: Either follow through on the commitment made by the last administration and leave Afghanistan or say we weren’t leaving and commit another tens of thousands more troops going back to war. That was the choice. The real choice between leaving or escalating.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report