The Taliban still celebrating a year after taking control of Afghanistan | World News

For days, the Taliban leadership told us that no celebration was planned for August 15, the day their fighters arrived in the capital.

“This is for you and the West,” a senior figure told us. “Our celebration is August 31, the day we drove out the foreign forces.”

Organized or not, the Taliban they were on the street since early in the morning.

From the rooftop where I first caught a glimpse of their arrival exactly one year ago, I could see their black and white flags attached to trucks, cars and motorcycles, walking down the road, honking their horns.


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The Taliban flag was a popular sight when the cars rolled into Kabul a year after the US withdrawal

This was supposed to be a day of celebration for the Taliban, but I did not see large crowds in the streets applauding their success 12 months ago.

Only convoys of his loyal supporters and lots and lots of heavily armed fighters.

A year ago, the Taliban couldn’t believe it they took Kabul so easily. They celebrated it then and they celebrate it now. The day was declared a new holiday, Independence Day, as they say, and they took to the streets with their famous pickup trucks and captured armored vehicles left behind by the United States and its NATO allies.

For this conquering army, NATO’s biggest failure was never in doubt. We met a group of men who had traveled to the capital from Helmand province, they told us they always knew this day would come.

“Yes, we were 100% sure that this would happen, that we would take Kabul and Afghanistan”, they told me when I asked them what the birthday meant to them.

“The foreign army fought us, but we always knew that one day we would conquer again and celebrate.”

Exactly one year on the Taliban continued a new tradition of a televised media event.

It was open to the international media, but had an overwhelming participation of important and faithful personalities.

Special forces soldiers, guarding the gates and conducting security checks, struggled to hold back people eager to enter the packed auditorium next to the US Embassy in the heart of the Green Zone, built by foreign forces for 20 years.

This mostly male gathering was mobbed by a handful of predominantly foreign journalists, producers and photographers.

At first my producer Dominique Van Heerden was told that the women had to go up and watch from a balcony, within minutes we realized it was nonsense and she came down and joined a small group of women in the main room.

The Taliban held a televised media event a year after taking control of Afghanistan
Image:
The Taliban held a televised media event a year after taking control of Afghanistan

The Taliban guards seemed a little lost as to what to do with them, especially since they can’t actually touch or throw them, so they simply refused to leave and the Taliban surrendered.

In the audience, some of the movement’s biggest names are essentially Taliban royalty, including Anas Haqqani, a powerful 28-year-old leader and negotiator with the United States in Doha.

His arrival sparked a flurry of activity from the press corps eager for photographs of him. By pure chance he sat right behind me.

The flunkies begged him to go to the front of the meeting, to the VIP seats that had been reserved for people like him.

My Afghan producer told me he wanted to stay where he was because he wasn’t going to stay for the whole event.

I then suggested to my producer that we ask him for an interview. He swallowed hard and said, “Stuart, you better ask him and I’ll translate for you.”

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Taliban officer in girls’ education

The Haqqani family is very powerful and, for all Afghans, very scary. So I turned in my seat, introduced myself, and asked if we could have an interview. He looked at me closely and asked, “What’s wrong?”.

I said the importance of the day perhaps and the economic and human rights issues his government faces in the eyes of the West.

He said, “You have two questions, and then I’m off.”

After about 45 minutes he tapped me on the shoulder and told me to leave.

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The Sky News team moved en masse out of the auditorium.

In his interview with Sky News, he hinted at a compromise on the issue of girls’ education, but explained that they need time.

“There is no politics involved with this, and over time this issue will be resolved,” he told me.

“We want the international community and other institutions not to use it negatively, or use it against us, and it should not be a condition for aid.”

It’s nuanced stuff, but for a member of the Haqqani family, an ultraconservative group, that’s a big deal.

Read more:
“Don’t use restrictions on girls’ education against us,” says the Taliban leader
The evacuation of Kabul took place with “tragic but avoidable results”, claims a damning report
Former British army chief Lord Dannatt calls for aid to be sent to Afghanistan despite human rights abuses

For Western governments, this would be a huge leap of faith. But there is a growing consensus among some governments, and NGOs, that doing nothing and letting thousands die of starvation, lack of medical facilities and the freezing cold of winter here would be unacceptable.

Back in the streets, however, for the foot soldiers celebrating outside the now-crisis US embassy, ​​a symbol of the failed campaign to change Afghanistan, none of these complicated issues really it matters

In fact, many of these Taliban were infants when the war began.

A trillion dollars and 21 years later…they are in complete control.

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