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Taliban Marks Year Since Foreign Withdrawal At Former U.S. Base; Kabul Blast Kills At Least 2

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Afghan children participate in Taliban-led festivities marking the first anniversary of the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Kabul on August 31.

The Taliban on August 31 marked the first anniversary of the final withdrawal of U.S.-led international troops from Afghanistan with victory chants and a military parade showcasing equipment left behind by American forces.

The event was held at Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, which was used for military planning by U.S. forces for two decades until the August 2021 pullout.

But a car bomb that reportedly struck a Taliban convoy in Kabul as it returned from the Bagram celebration was a powerful reminder that violence persists in Afghanistan.

The Taliban-led authorities said two people were killed and three others injured in the roadside explosion, reportedly in the Sar-e Kotal district of the capital.

The dpa news agency quoted other sources suggesting that the casualty numbers were higher from the blast.

No one initially claimed responsibility for the car bombing.

The Taliban has declared August 31 a national holiday and it marked the occasion in Kabul the previous night with fireworks and celebratory shots into the air.

The hard-line militia group's government, which came to power a year ago, has not been recognized by any country. Its rule has been marked with human rights abuses, particularly the repression of women and minority groups.

Speaking on August 31 at Bagram, Taliban Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund said the militia had fought for 20 years for the day to come. However, he admitted that the country’s economy has been paralyzed due to sanctions.

The last American soldier left Kabul International Airport on August 30, 2021, capping off a sudden and chaotic evacuation.

Based on reporting by AFP, dpa and Reuters

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