Taliban declares victory over U.S. in Afghanistan

U.S. Maj Gen John K. McMullen, left, Brig. Philippe Lavigne, center, and Maj Gen Mehmet Cahit Bakir, right, salute during a handover ceremony, at the Hamid Karzai Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

After the NATO announcement Sunday that the 13-year war in Afghanistan will end on December 31, the Taliban declared victory over the U.S. military and its allies.  Although thousands of troops will remain to train the Afghani military, the Taliban stated the U.S. has “rolled up its flag” and left.

UPI reported that a statement from the Taliban on Monday said that the war accomplished nothing significant.  “We consider this step a clear indication of their defeat and disappointment,” they said.  The movement even called the U.S. military “demoralized.”

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid was reported saying, “Tens of thousands of soldiers were killed and wounded, billions of dollars wasted, their nations were exhausted, their countries faced economic turmoil and even recession, their generals failed one after the other and they lost their stature and prestige internationally.”

According to Reuters, approximately 13,000 foreign troops, mostly Americans, will remain in the country under a new, two-year mission named “Resolute Support.” The troops will conduct the training of the Afghanistan army, made up of 350,000 soldiers.  This army, along with U.S. air strikes, will continue to fight the insurgents.  However, the U.S. military is currently planning for a full withdrawal by the end of 2016.

U.S. officials and allies stated that Afghan troops and police have significantly prevented the Taliban from taking any substantial territory.  Nonetheless, violence has risen as the insurgents fight to gain ground.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the Taliban launched increasingly deadly attacks this past year, with nearly 3,200 Afghan civilians killed and more than 4,600 Afghan army and police having died in Taliban attacks.

“Our courageous nation shall continue its Jihad and struggle so long as a single foreigner remains in Afghanistan in a military uniform,” the Taliban said in their statement.

Vowing to restore their former uncompromising Islamist regime, Taliban spokesman Mujahid vowed that “the demoralized American-built forces will constantly be dealt defeats just like their masters.”

Since 2001, nearly 3,500 foreign soldiers have been killed in the war, with approximately 2,200 of them being Americans.

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