Gunfire fills the air in Kabul as Taliban celebrate airport takeover

Taliban spokesman says Afghanistan has ‘gained complete independence’ as fighters enter hangars occupied by US forces hours earlier

As the last US military transport aircraft lifted off from Kabul airport on Monday night, marking the end of two decades of American troops in Afghanistan, celebratory gunfire rang out the capital as Taliban fighters revelled in the end of America’s longest war.

Just two weeks earlier, Taliban fighters had taken Kabul and toppled the government without force as President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. It was a rise to power so swift that it had taken the US and even Taliban leadership by surprise.

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Kabul airport comes under rocket fire as US Afghanistan evacuation enters final 48 hours

US vows to press on with operations after rockets fired at international airport, as Afghan official says children among victims of earlier US drone strike

Several rockets were fired at Kabul airport on Monday, less than 48 hours before the United States is due to complete its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Eyewitnesses said the rockets were launched from a car and were aimed towards the airport on Monday morning. It appears Salim Karwan, a neighbourhood adjacent to the airport, was hit in one of the blasts. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Afghanistan: thousands stranded in Kabul as Taliban go door-to-door

Taliban checkpoints and paperwork prevent evacuees from getting to airport as militants search for those who worked with previous regime

Tens of thousands of foreigners and Afghans who collaborated with US and Nato forces remain stranded in Kabul, as governments grappled with an overwhelming backlog of visas and Taliban checkpoints which were preventing people safely reaching the airport.

With the 31 August deadline set by Biden for complete US withdrawal looming, tens of thousands of people eligible for US evacuation were yet to be airlifted out, many who were among the crowds gathered around Kabul airport brandishing their papers or proof they had worked on US military bases. The UK government was also struggling to evacuate its allies.

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