Leaving Kabul airport as Taliban takes control, satellite images show

Kabul airport was nearly deserted today as huge crowds of Afghans desperate to leave the country dispersed after the last US evacuation flight departed — taking with them their last hopes of rescue.

Taliban fighters and a handful of journalists were virtually the only people on the runway, which had been the scene of frenetic activity for weeks as the West’s 20-year presence in the country came to a chaotic end.

Satellite images — which captured tens of thousands of Afghans crowding through airport gates and thousands of happy evacuees boarding planes a week ago — showed empty runways and streets today.

All that could be seen in the satellite images were a handful of planes abandoned by the retreating Americans, most of them disabled or stripped of weapons.

Hundreds of British and American citizens are believed to have been left behind during the airlift, along with thousands of Afghans who were promised refuge in exchange for helping Western troops and who now fear for their lives under the Taliban rule.

TODAY: Kabul airport was nearly deserted today as crowds of thousands of Afghans desperate to flee west gave up hope and headed home after the last US plane took off

TODAY: Kabul airport was nearly deserted today as crowds of thousands of Afghans desperate to flee west gave up hope and headed home after the last US plane took off

LAST WEEK: Taken on Aug. 23, this satellite shows crowds of people at the airport's main south gate (bottom), the military north gate (top right), and Abbey Gate, the scene of the ISIS-K terror attack (bottom right) when people board airplanes

LAST WEEK: Taken on Aug. 23, this satellite shows crowds of people at the airport's main south gate (bottom), the military north gate (top right), and Abbey Gate, the scene of the ISIS-K terror attack (bottom right) when people board airplanes

LAST WEEK: Taken on Aug. 23, this satellite shows crowds of people at the airport’s main south gate (bottom), the military north gate (top right), and Abbey Gate, the scene of the ISIS-K terror attack (bottom right) ) when people board airplanes

The last US flight from Kabul departed late Monday, ending America’s longest war ahead of an August 31 deadline that Joe Biden agreed with the Taliban.

Jihadist ‘special forces’ – known as Badri 313 units – rushed in to take the runway as fireworks exploded in the sky of Kabul and celebratory gunfire rattled into the night.

What they found was a wealth of Western military equipment, to add to the considerable loot they had already captured from government forces and used to arm their Badri units, decked out from head to toe in American equipment.

Among the catch were A-29 light attack aircraft, not all of which appeared to have been taken out, MD 530 helicopters, MRAP armored vehicles and Humvees, and a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.

Also, US ammunition, grenades, body armor, helmets and other tactical equipment were scattered throughout the airport’s hangars, which have now fallen into the hands of the Taliban.

Posing in front of the captured C-130 plane this morning, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid praised a “victory” over Western forces, calling it a “great lesson for other invaders and for our future generation.”

TODAY: All that remained at the airport today was a collection of small military aircraft that had been largely disabled or depleted of weapons before being seized by the Taliban

TODAY: A C-130 military transport aircraft abandoned by retreating US forces is seen at center bottom. It was the setting today for a Taliban press conference, which took place after US troops left

“It is a historic day and a historic moment. We are proud of these moments when we have liberated our country from a great power,” he added.

Meanwhile, the new 35-year-old Taliban commander at Bagram Air Force Base, the former stronghold of Western troops in Afghanistan, boasted that he had “beaten” America with little more than Kalashnikov rifles, saying the airport is now “a base will be for jihad’. for all Muslims’.

Maulawi Hafiz Mohibullah Muktaz told The Times: “Never in our wildest dreams could we have believed that we could defeat a superpower like America with just our Kalashnikovs.

“When you do jihad all doors open, we defeated America with our faith and our weapons and we now hope that Bagram can be a base for jihad for all Muslims.”

“For any foreign power contemplating attacking Afghanistan, look now to Bagram and learn your lesson well before embarking on a foolish venture. See the mighty technology of the West here humiliated by mujahideen.

“In the fifteen years that I fought against the Americans as a mujahideen, I often wondered whether I would fail or die. Yet here is proof of the power of faith and God and jihad. After the victory, I hope that we can use Bagram as a place to further spread the jihad in the region and the Muslim world.”

LAST WEEK: Thousands of evacuees form on Hamiz Karzai Airport's tarmac as they board military transport planes from Afghanistan, before flights were halted

LAST WEEK: Thousands of evacuees form on Hamiz Karzai Airport's tarmac as they board military transport planes from Afghanistan, before flights were halted

LAST WEEK: Thousands of evacuees form on Hamiz Karzai Airport’s tarmac as they board military transport planes from Afghanistan, before flights were halted

LAST WEEK: A large crowd of people and cars is pictured at the military north gate leading to the airport, where people banged each other for over a week to get in

LAST WEEK: A large crowd of people and cars is pictured at the military north gate leading to the airport, where people banged each other for over a week to get in

LAST WEEK: A large crowd of people and cars is pictured at the military north gate leading to the airport, where people banged each other for over a week to get in

LAST WEEK: Satellite images show people waiting at checkpoints 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: Satellite images show people waiting at checkpoints 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: Satellite images show people waiting at checkpoints 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 parked outside the civilian southern entrance to the airport, before evacuation flights were halted and the Taliban took over

LAST WEEK: A large number of cars parked outside the civilian southern entrance to the airport, before evacuation flights were halted and the Taliban took over

LAST WEEK: A large number of cars parked outside the civilian southern entrance to the airport, before evacuation flights were halted and the Taliban took over

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