On Wednesday, members of the Taliban held a parade at a former U.S. air base commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Fall of Afghanistan. The demonstration openly displayed American military equipment that had been captured just one year earlier.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that the celebration took place at the former Bagram air base, which had widely been seen as the most strategically significant air base in the nation while the United States was conducting its 20-year war there. The base had also been the scene of pure chaos and anarchy in the final days of the war, as Afghan civilians desperately tried to board American aircraft that were fleeing the collapsing nation; some tried to cling to the outside of departing aircraft, only to fall to their deaths.
Taliban fighters operated dozens of vehicles left behind by the American forces, including Humvees, armed personnel carriers, and Black Hawk helicopters. At the ceremony, Taliban Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan gave a speech commemorating the “victory” over the United States one year earlier, and praising the “ideals of jihad.”
The celebration at the former air base included numerous diplomats and representatives from various other nations, including Russia, China, Pakistan, and Turkey.
There was another parade on Tuesday in front of the former U.S. embassy. Later that night, celebrations included fireworks and dancing.
The collapse of Afghanistan began in August of 2021. Under the conditions of a peace agreement negotiated by President Donald Trump and the Taliban in February of 2020, all American forces agreed to withdraw by May of 2021. But upon taking office, Joe Biden arbitrarily extended the withdrawal date to September 11th, 2021, hoping to make a symbolic gesture out of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Although he then scaled the withdrawal date back down to August 31st, the Taliban saw the altering of the date as a violation of the terms of the agreement, and thus waged their own campaign to retake the nation.
After capturing numerous regions over the course of just a few weeks, the Taliban marched into the capital city of Kabul on August 15th, causing Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to flee the country. For the remaining two weeks, American troops, diplomats, and other civilians scrambled to escape the country, resulting in a chaotic withdrawal that saw numerous Americans left behind, while simultaneously taking many unvetted Afghan refugees to the United States instead. The Biden Administration was universally condemned, both at home and internationally, for what was widely seen as a poor handling of a logistical and military operation that had been planned out years in advance.