A Taliban fighter guards a street in Kabul on August 30, 2022. - The Taliban declared August 31, 2022, a national holiday and lit up the capital with coloured lights to celebrate the first anniversary of the withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan after a brutal 20-year war. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP)

In Afghanistan, the ruling radical Islamic Taliban have celebrated the first anniversary of Western troops withdrawing from the country. The Taliban declared Wednesday a national holiday, and fireworks lit up the sky over the capital Kabul the evening before.

Groups of Taliban fighters also fired joyful shots. Hundreds of white Taliban flags bearing the Muslim creed hung from lampposts and government buildings.

The USA and its allies ended their military operation in Afghanistan on August 31 of last year. The last US soldiers left the country one minute before midnight on the night of August 30/31.

After 20 years, the USA ended the longest war in its history, which it had started after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Two weeks before the end of the Western troop withdrawal, the Taliban had recaptured power in the Hindu Kush in a rapid offensive, inflicting severe humiliation on the West.

In a chaotic evacuation operation, western states attempted to evacuate their citizens and Afghan local staff from the country.

The Islamists subsequently promised a more moderate approach than during their rule between 1996 and 2001. In the past twelve months, however, the rights of women and girls in particular have been massively restricted. Human rights organizations report numerous human rights violations.

The country is also suffering from a severe humanitarian and economic crisis. So far, no country has officially recognized the Taliban government.

Despite the massive difficulties, many Afghans are satisfied with the western troop withdrawal. “We are happy that Allah cast the infidels out of our country and that the Islamic Emirate was created,” said Salmai, a Kabul resident. (AFP)