The United States began withdrawing its last troops from Afghanistan on Saturday, bringing their long-running war to an end and announcing the uncertain future of a country for which the Taliban is a hero.
U.S. officials say their departure is a work in progress – and May 1 is still going on – but Washington has set a date that is the last day the alliance with the Taliban in 2020 will end.
The skies above Kabul and Bagram’s airports were more frequent with U.S. helicopters than ever before, as Thursday began as a result of the NATO missile strike.
Afghan troops were on high alert on Saturday over possible repatriation of American troops.
“Americans have been evacuating Afghanistan since May 1 and the Taliban could escalate violence,” Interior Minister Hayatullah Hayat told senior police officials, according to a video provided to reporters.
Afghanistan National Security Council adviser Hamdullah Mohib said the Taliban had “decided to go to war” in an attempt to seize power after US troops withdrew, but the security forces were ready to fight the militants.
The hope of the end of US rule 20 years later comes even though the fighting is taking place across the country in the absence of a peace deal.
Chatham House’s Hameed Hakimi told Cambridge’s Al Jazeera that the evacuation plan was changing the electricity and violence around Kabul.
“What worries the US the most from my understanding is that as long as the Taliban do not attack them when they leave the country until September,” he said.
“According to the Afghan government, they believe that attacking the Taliban will force them to come and talk to each other.”
A vivid reminder of what was left came late Friday with a car bomb in Pul-e-Alam, south of the capital, killing at least 24 people and injuries 110.
U.S. President Joe Biden is determined to end what he called a “perpetual war”, announcing last month that the remaining 2,500 U.S. military personnel have been completed by the end of a 20-year strike on September 11.
“The deadly attack 20 years ago… cannot explain why we should remain in 2021,” Biden said.
The Taliban said the U.S. military should complete the operation on May 1 in accordance with its agreement last year with Washington, and it was “a clear violation” that the military had not finished.
In a statement on Saturday, Taliban militant spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the release of the last day of May 1 to “complete abolition” has opened the way. [Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan] mujahidin to take whatever they deem necessary to fight against the occupants “.
However, he said militants would await a decision from the leaders before any attack and the ruling would support “the country’s sovereignty, ideology and ambitions”.
Since the beginning of human trafficking in the US, the Taliban have not been involved in foreign direct attacks, but terrorists have mercilessly attacked rural government forces and launched a deadly campaign in the cities.
‘Who are you killing?’
The departure of US troops has only exacerbated the fears of ordinary Afghans.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani urges government forces – who have been working for months against the Taliban – to “have the full potential” not to fight Taliban freedom fighters.
He said the pull also meant that the Taliban had no reason to fight.
“Who are you killing? What are you wasting? Your false anti-tourism rhetoric is now over, “Ghani said this week.
Very dangerous analysis
However, General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, did not rule out the violence.
“With a serious analysis, you could fall for the government, the demise of the military,” he said earlier this week.
“You have a civil war and all the problems related to helping people who have gone on.”
The US-led invasion of Afghanistan began in October 2001 after threats of September 11.
Twenty years later – after the death of 2,400 Americans and tens of thousands of Afghans – Biden said the final deportation was necessary because US forces had now ensured that the country would no longer have a foreign base in which to plot west.