James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Taliban holds mock UK and US funeral after troops withdraw from Afghanistan
31 August 2021, 17:29
The Taliban held a mock funeral for British, American and French-flagged coffins after international forces withdrew from Afghanistan.
In scenes that will evoke memories of the hundreds of Union Jack-draped coffins that were driven through Royal Wootton Bassett, as Britain's casualties of war were brought home, a faux procession was seen rumbling through a massive crowd.
Social media said it was held in Khost - south east of the capital Kabul - and footage shows militants with the Taliban flag looking on.
It follows the withdrawal of US forces from Kabul airport overnight.
Mock coffins draped in the Nato, French, British and American flags can be seen in the video.
Symbolic funeral prayer of US and NATO in Khost. A large number of people are participating pic.twitter.com/usRVOBTVkg— Afghanistan 24/7 (@AfghanUpdates) August 31, 2021
Besides the images of troops killed in action returning to the UK, it will evoke the scenes of US coffins being brought back to America after 13 troops lost their life in an Isis attack on Kabul airport.
"The last American occupier withdrew from (Kabul Airport) at 12 o'clock and our country gained its full independence, praise and gratitude be to God," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said on Twitter.
Celebratory gunfire was seen and heard in Kabul after the final US flight went, and Taliban leaders symbolically walked around the airport which, just a short while earlier, had been the final area to be held by American troops.
International forces waged a counter-insurgency campaign against the Taliban, hoping to prevent them from allowing sanctuary to terror groups that threaten foreign powers.
The Taliban ruled most of Afghanistan from the 90s to 2001, when US and Afghan forces opposed to the group overthrew them in the wake of the September 11 attacks, when the group harboured Al Qaeda terrorists.
Attention has now turned to how Afghans and foreign nationals still in the country will leave.
The UK estimates British nationals still in Afghanistan number in the low hundreds and it is hoped those fleeing the Taliban's rule – worried about reprisal attacks and women's rights – will be able to escape to neighbouring countries.