Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers celebrated Tuesday on the tarmac at the Kabul airport that had served as a global focal point until the last U.S. planes flew out around midnight.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman for the fundamentalist group, declared victory in the 20-year war against U.S. forces as jubilant fighters surveyed helicopters and supplies used in the frantic effort to evacuate more than 120,000 Americans and allied Afghans from the country that fell swiftly.
However, Mr. Mujahid told a commando unit to be “very cautious” in dealing with Afghans, according to The Associated Press.
“Our nation has suffered war and invasion, and the people do not have more tolerance,” he said.
Many are skeptical of the leaders’ pledge to be a kinder, gentler Taliban than the hardliners of the 1990s. They fear reprisals against those suspected of helping the U.S. war effort.