Geen hoop meer nie: Satellite images show deserted streets where desperate Afghans had crowded to escape and abandoned aircraft at Kabul airport after last US flights leave
Kabul airport was near-deserted today as huge crowds of Afghans desperate to leave the country dispersed after the last US evacuation flight took off – taking their final hopes of rescue with it.
Taliban fighters and a handful of journalists were virtually the only people at the airstrip, which for weeks had been the scene of frenetic activity as the west’s 20-year presence in the country drew chaotically to an end.
Satellite images – which a week ago had captured tens of thousands of Afghans thronging airport gates and thousands of lucky evacuees boarding planes – today showed empty runways and streets.
The only things visible in the satellite images were a handful of aircraft that were left behind by the retreating Americans, which had mostly been disabled or stripped of weapons.
It is thought that hundreds of British and American citizens were left behind during the air-lift, along with thousands of Afghans who were promised sanctuary in return for helping western forces and are now fearing for their lives under Taliban rule.
VANDAG: Kabul airport was almost deserted today as crowds of thousands of Afghans who were desperate to flee to the west abandoned their hopes and went home after the last US plane took off
LAST WEEK: This satellite, taken on August 23, shows large crowds of people at the airport’s main southern gate (onderkant), the military north gate (regs bo) and Abbey Gate, the scene of the ISIS-K terror attack (onder regs) as people board planes
The final US flight out of Kabul took off late Monday, bringing an end to America’s longest war ahead of an August 31 deadline that Joe Biden had agreed with the Taliban.
Jihadist ‘special forces’ – bekend as Badri 313 eenhede – quickly moved in to capture the airstrip as fireworks exploded in the skies of Kabul and celebratory gunfire rattled into the night.
What they found was a treasure trove of western military kit, to add to the considerable haul they had already seized from government forces and used to arm their Badri units, who were decked head to toe in US gear.
Among the haul were A-29 light attack aircraft, not all of which looked to have been disabled, MD 530 helikopters, MRAP armoured vehicles and Humvees, and a C-130 Hercules transport plane.
Troves of American-made ammunition, grenades, lyfwapens, helmets and other tactical gear were also strewn through hangars at the airport which have now fallen into Taliban hands.
Posing in front of the captured C-130 plane this morning, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid hailed a ‘victory’ over western forces while calling it a ‘big lesson for other invaders and for our future generation.’
VANDAG: The only things left at the airport today were a collection of small military aircraft which had largely been disabled or stripped of weapons before being seized by the Taliban
VANDAG: A C-130 military transport plane which was left behind by retreating American forces is seen bottom centre. It formed the backdrop for a Taliban press conference today which took place after US troops had gone
'Dit is 'n historiese dag en 'n historiese oomblik. Ons is trots op hierdie oomblikke, dat ons ons land van 'n groot mag bevry het,’ hy het bygevoeg.
Intussen by die Bagram -lugbasis, the former stronghold of western forces in Afghanistan, its new 35-year-old Taliban commander was boasting of having ‘beaten’ Amerika gebruik weinig meer as Kalashnikov -gewere terwyl hulle sê dat die vliegveld nou ''n basis vir jihad vir alle Moslems' sal wees.
Praat met The Times, Maulawi Hafiz Mohibullah Muktaz said: 'Nooit in ons wildste drome kon ons geglo het dat ons 'n supermoondheid soos Amerika kan klop met net ons Kalashnikovs nie.
'As u jihad doen, gaan alle deure oop, ons het Amerika met ons geloof en ons gewere verslaan en ons hoop nou dat Bagram 'n basis vir jihad vir alle Moslems kan wees
'Vir enige buitelandse mag wat dit oorweeg om Afghanistan aan te val, kyk dan nou na Bagram en leer u les goed voordat u 'n dwase poging aanpak. Kyk na die magtige tegnologie van die Weste wat deur mujahidin verneder word.
‘In 15 jare as 'n mujahid wat teen die Amerikaners veg, het ek gereeld gewonder of ek kan misluk of sterf. Tog is hier 'n bewys van die krag van geloof en God en jihad. Op die agterkant van die oorwinning hoop ek dat ons Bagram kan gebruik as 'n plek om jihad verder na die streek en die Moslemwêreld te versprei.’
LAST WEEK: Thousands of evacuees form up on the tarmac at Hamiz Karzai Airport as they board military transport planes out of Afghanistan, before the flights were stopped
LAST WEEK: A large crowd of people and cars is pictured at the military north gate leading into the airport, where people crammed against on-another for more than a week trying to get inside
LAST WEEK: Satellite images show people waiting at checkpoints and crammed into a ditch at Abbey Gate, on the south side of the airport, which was hit by an ISIS-K suicide bomber just hours later
LAST WEEK: A large number of cars are seen parked outside the civilian south entrance to the airport, before the evacuation flights were stopped and the Taliban took over