KABUL, Afghanistan — The sound of celebratory gunfire and fireworks were heard across Kabul early Tuesday after the Pentagon and Taliban separately confirmed that the last US troops had left Afghanistan, ending a 20-year war.
“Tonight at 12:00 am Afghan time, the remaining American troops left Kabul airport and our country gained full independence,” Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s chief spokesman, said in a tweet.
“All praise to Allah.”
The Pentagon said the last flight had left in the final minute of Monday night, and that all US military personnel were now out of the country.
AFP correspondents in the city heard celebratory gunfire from several Taliban checkpoints, as well as the cheers of fighters manning security posts in the green zone.
“We made history again,” tweeted Anas Haqqani, a senior official in the hardline Islamist movement.
“I am very happy that after 20 years of jihad, sacrifices & hardships I have this pride to see these historic moments.”
Another Taliban spokesman, Bilal Karimi, told AFP by phone: “All the American troops have left Afghanistan, we are very happy — you can listen to the celebratory fire.”
The sound of small arms and heavier machine gun fire was still echoing through the night 45 minutes after the first announcement, while tracer rounds lit up the sky.
In a follow-up tweet, Haqqani urged fighters to avoid celebratory gunfire so as to make sure no innocent bystanders were hurt.