Taliban marked the first anniversary of the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan on Wednesday with a parade. The militant organisation called on the world to learn from the experience and accept them as a legitimate government.
The withdrawal was officially completed a minute before midnight on August 30 of last year and was immediately succeeded by the Taliban sweeping power after the 20-year insurgency against US-led forces that first invaded the country after the 9/11 attacks.
“The experience of the past 20 years can be a good guide…any kind of pressure and threats on Afghanistan’s people in the last 20 years has failed and just increased the crisis,” the Taliban said in a statement.
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (a name the Taliban give their government) is the “legitimate government of the country and the representative of the brave Afghan nation”, the statement continued.
No country has recognised the Taliban, who took over Afghanistan with a speed and ease that took the world by surprise, following which President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and his government collapsed.
The Taliban statement called on the international community to allow Afghans to have an independent Islamic government that has a “positive interaction with the world”.
The international community has pressed the Taliban on human rights, particularly those of girls and women whose access to school and work has been limited. It has also urged the Taliban to stop harassing critics, activists, and journalists.
Fireworks lit up the Kabul sky on Tuesday night on the first anniversary of the withdrawal of foreign troops which the Taliban are marking as “Freedom Day”.
Wednesday was also a public holiday, with small celebrations across Kabul including parades by Taliban forces.