The Taliban declared victory Tuesday after the last U.S. troops left Afghanistan, with an official from the insurgent group declaring that the nation is free.
The group marched into Kabul’s international airport on Tuesday, dressed in camouflage and posing for photos, The Associated Press reported.
“Afghanistan is finally free,” Hekmatuhha Wasiq, a Taliban official, told the AP.
“The military and civilian side [of the airport] are with us and in control. Hopefully, we will be announcing our Cabinet. Everything is peaceful. Everything is safe,” Wasiq said.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid reportedly told the group at the airport that they should be “very cautious in dealing with the nation.”
“Our nation has suffered war and invasion and the people do not have more tolerance,” Mujahid said.
America’s longest war came to an end Monday after the last C-17 left Hamid Karzai International Airport at roughly 3:30 p.m. ET. The Pentagon released a photo of the last American solider boarding the flight, identified as Army Maj. Chris Donahue.
The U.S. helped evacuate 123,000 people including U.S citizens and Afghans since July. Still, just under 200 Americans remain in Afghanistan.
The Taliban took control of Kabul on Aug. 15 after quickly laying siege to strategic areas of the country.
Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Biden administration breaks down climate finance roadmap Obama to attend Glasgow climate summit Defense & National Security — Military starts giving guidance on COVID-19 vaccine refusals MORE told reporters Monday that the militant group will have to earn legitimacy.
“The Taliban seeks international legitimacy and support. Our message is, any legitimacy and any support will have to be earned,” Blinken said.