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The Taliban celebrated the one-year anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan Wednesday by parading in front of the former U.S. embassy in Kabul.
The anniversary marked the end of the longest U.S. military campaign and a 20-year war that resulted in the fall of Kabul and its democratic government to the insurgent group last August.
The Taliban, which remains unrecognized as the official government of Afghanistan by any nation, has made Aug. 31 a national holiday, according to Reuters.
Images surfaced Wednesday that showed the Taliban and its supporters celebrating the day by parading in Kabul while holding rifles, siting in the back of trucks and on top of heavy armored vehicles.
A military parade was also reportedly held at the Bagram air base – which the U.S. vacated in July 2021.
Men walked in formation on the air base’s runway as helicopters and military vehicles followed as Taliban officials stood and watched under the protection of a shaded area, posts on social media showed.
The U.S. officially left Afghanistan one minute to midnight Aug. 30, 2021, which the Taliban have deemed it “Freedom Day” and celebrated by launching fireworks over Kabul Tuesday night.
Though the return of the Taliban has meant anything but liberty for all.
Since overthrowing the capital and the evacuation of former President Ashraf Ghani last year, the insurgent group has reimplemented harsh Islamic laws not seen since before the U.S. invaded in 2001, which have had devastating effects on the rights of women and girls.
Girls are no longer allowed to attend secondary school which has meant their education stops after the sixth grade.
Forced marriages have begun to be reported at an increasing rate as parents struggle to provide food for their families amid a crippling economy and harsh punishments have once again begun to reemerge, such as stoning and the mutilation of hands for thievery.
Women are once again required to wear the hijab, be escorted by men when ordering a taxi or traveling any distance and they are no longer allowed to work unless it is in the medical or educational sector.
The United Nations has called on the Taliban to reverse its oppressive policies and for the international community to step in to provide humanitarian relief for those most effected by Afghanistan’s flagging economy and oppressive policies.