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At Kabul airport, remnants of US struggle bear testimony to chaotic exit – Occasions of India

KABUL: A well-thumbed copy of “Not a Good Day to Die” — which tells how American forces almost got here undone combating in Afghanistan within the early levels of the struggle — lies on a mattress in a abandoned US barrack room at Kabul airport.
On a desk subsequent to it are two water bottles, a few empty bullet casings and a smoke grenade. A bottle of Tabasco sizzling sauce — a US navy staple — sits on one other.
In a separate room, an amazing odor of rotting meals pervades as a Taliban fighter armed with an M16 rifle takes footage on his cell phone.
A month after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, indicators of the 20-year US-led occupation are nonetheless seen at Kabul’s airport — together with clear proof of Washington’s humiliating exit.
There’s even one final message of defiance.
“Fuck you Taliban, just know you suck,” is scrawled on a wall subsequent to an image of a girl in a tight-fitting gown.
Taliban fighter Abdulrahman barely offers it a second look as he goes about his enterprise.
US medical kits, vests, sneakers, mattresses, bathroom paper, paperwork, and different objects are scattered in regards to the navy quarters of the airport, not but disposed of by the brand new rulers of the devastated nation.
The one factor that stops Abdulrahman is a big wood cross pinned to a wall, which he stares at with out saying a phrase.
Taliban fighters took Kabul on August 15 after a lightning offensive launched in Could as america and NATO started their remaining withdrawal.
Within the house of 10 days, they seized a string of provincial capitals, assembly little or no resistance in a staggering rout of US-trained and geared up Afghan authorities forces.
Washington, which had deliberate an orderly evacuation of Afghans who had helped overseas forces in the course of the 20-year occupation, instantly needed to airlift them out in a rush.
“The Taliban takeover was unimaginable… but the US exit was truly unthinkable,” mentioned an Afghan safety guard who had a front-row seat of the withdrawal operation from the civilian aspect of the airport.
The panic and confusion because the Taliban entered the capital was plain to see, he mentioned.
“It was the first time I saw US soldiers like this.”
The state of what has been left behind bears testimony to the panicked exit.
In a area clinic on the US camp, subsequent to a small fireplace station, first help kits are held on sandbags just a few metres from an outside gymnasium, a volleyball courtroom and a gathering room with pink chairs that resembles an indoor cinema.
A robust odor of disinfectant rises from the rooms, the place bins of medical tools are nonetheless untouched and folding beds lined in gray sheets are left open.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted on Monday the Biden administration had ready for worst-case situations in Afghanistan, as irate lawmakers accused the White Home of presiding over a bungled exit.
The US and its allies in the end evacuated 124,000 folks from Afghanistan — one of many largest airlifts in historical past — however even admirers of the operation painting it as “chaotic”.
In a part of the navy aspect of the airport this week dozens of broken planes and automobiles had been cordoned off by Taliban barricades made from something from umbrellas to folding steel chairs.
Deserted Afghan navy uniforms litter the flooring of hangars stuffed with bullet-riddled helicopters.
Standing subsequent to a small aircraft with no doorways, a Taliban fighter appears to be like at shattered home windows and says loudly with a smile: “Boom, boom, boom.”

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