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In pictures: Triumphant Taliban march on Kabul airport after US troops leave Afghanistan

Taliban leaders have pledged to secure the country, quickly reopen the airport and grant amnesty to former opponents.
Published 31 Aug, 2021 01:37pm

The Taliban triumphantly marched into Kabul's international airport on just before dawn on Tuesday, hours after the final US troop withdrawal that ended America's longest war.

Standing on the tarmac, Taliban leaders pledged to secure the country, quickly reopen the airport and grant amnesty to former opponents.

In a show of control, turbaned Taliban leaders were flanked by the group's elite Badri unit as they walked across the tarmac.

The commandos in camouflage uniforms proudly posed for photos.

"Afghanistan is finally free," Hekmatullah Wasiq, a top Taliban official, told The Associated Press on the tarmac.

"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."

Taliban Badri special force fighters arrive at the main entrance gate of the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP
Taliban Badri special force fighters arrive at the main entrance gate of the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP

Taliban Badri special force fighters take a position at the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP
Taliban Badri special force fighters take a position at the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP

Taliban Badri special force fighters take a position at the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP
Taliban Badri special force fighters take a position at the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP

Taliban Badri special force fighters take a position at the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP
Taliban Badri special force fighters take a position at the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP

A Taliban fighter stands guard at the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP
A Taliban fighter stands guard at the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid (C, holding shawl) arrives as he is accompanied by officials to address a media conference at the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid (C, holding shawl) arrives as he is accompanied by officials to address a media conference at the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP

Taliban fighters stand inside an Afghan Air Force aircraft at the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP
Taliban fighters stand inside an Afghan Air Force aircraft at the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP

A member of the Taliban (C) walks out of an Afghan Air Force aircraft at the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP
A member of the Taliban (C) walks out of an Afghan Air Force aircraft at the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP

Taliban fighters sit in the cockpit of an Afghan Air Force aircraft at the airport in Kabul on August 3. — AFP
Taliban fighters sit in the cockpit of an Afghan Air Force aircraft at the airport in Kabul on August 3. — AFP

A Taliban fighter sits inside the cockpit of an Afghan Air Force aircraft at the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP
A Taliban fighter sits inside the cockpit of an Afghan Air Force aircraft at the airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP

Taliban fighters stand guard inside the Hamid Karzai International Airport after the US withdrawal in Kabul on August 31. — AFP
Taliban fighters stand guard inside the Hamid Karzai International Airport after the US withdrawal in Kabul on August 31. — AFP


Header image: Taliban Badri special force fighters arrive at the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 31. — AFP