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Saturday, September 25, 2021

At Kabul airport, remnants of US war bear testimony to chaotic exit – Times of India

KABUL: A nicely-thumbed copy of “Not a Good Day to Die” — which tells how American forces practically got here undone combating in Afghanistan within the early levels of the war — lies on a mattress in a abandoned US barrack room at Kabul airport.
On a desk subsequent to it are two water bottles, a pair of empty bullet casings and a smoke grenade. A bottle of Tabasco sizzling sauce — a US navy staple — sits on one other.
In a separate room, an awesome scent of rotting meals pervades as a Taliban fighter armed with an M16 rifle takes footage on his cell phone.
A month after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, indicators of the 20-yr US-led occupation are nonetheless seen at Kabul’s airport — together with clear proof of Washington’s humiliating exit.
There is even one final message of defiance.
“Fuck you Taliban, just know you suck,” is scrawled on a wall subsequent to an image of a girl in a good-becoming costume.
Taliban fighter Abdulrahman barely provides it a second look as he goes about his enterprise.
US medical kits, vests, footwear, mattresses, bathroom paper, paperwork, and different gadgets are scattered in regards to the navy quarters of the airport, not but disposed of by the brand new rulers of the devastated nation.
The solely factor that stops Abdulrahman is a big wood cross pinned to a wall, which he stares at with out saying a phrase.
Taliban fighters took Kabul on August 15 after a lightning offensive launched in May because the United States and NATO started their closing withdrawal.
In the house of 10 days, they seized a string of provincial capitals, assembly little or no resistance in a staggering rout of US-trained and outfitted Afghan authorities forces.
Washington, which had deliberate an orderly evacuation of Afghans who had helped overseas forces through the 20-yr occupation, out of the blue had to airlift them out in a rush.
“The Taliban takeover was unimaginable… but the US exit was truly unthinkable,” stated an Afghan safety guard who had a entrance-row seat of the withdrawal operation from the civilian facet of the airport.
The panic and confusion because the Taliban entered the capital was plain to see, he stated.
“It was the first time I saw US soldiers like this.”
The state of what has been left behind bears testimony to the panicked exit.
In a area clinic on the US camp, subsequent to a small hearth station, first support kits are held on sandbags a number of metres from an out of doors health club, a volleyball court docket and a gathering room with purple chairs that resembles an indoor cinema.
A robust scent of disinfectant rises from the rooms, the place packing containers of medical gear are nonetheless untouched and folding beds lined in gray sheets are left open.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted on Monday the Biden administration had ready for worst-case eventualities in Afghanistan, as irate lawmakers accused the White House of presiding over a bungled exit.
The US and its allies in the end evacuated 124,000 folks from Afghanistan — one of the most important airlifts in historical past — however even admirers of the operation painting it as “chaotic”.
In half of the navy facet of the airport this week dozens of broken planes and autos have been cordoned off by Taliban barricades made of something from umbrellas to folding metallic chairs.
Abandoned Afghan navy uniforms litter the flooring of hangars full of bullet-riddled helicopters.
Standing subsequent to a small aircraft with no doorways, a Taliban fighter seems to be at shattered home windows and says loudly with a smile: “Boom, boom, boom.”

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