China Media Says Afghanistan Failure Shows U.S. Not as Powerful as It Thinks

China's state media commentary has branded the Afghanistan war as "a painful lesson" for the United States, as Beijing's envoy to the United Nations warned that the withdrawal of American troops in no way meant the end of its responsibility.

The Taliban celebrated Afghanistan's "independence" on Monday as the last U.S. personnel flew out of Kabul to meet the August 31 deadline. It marked a frenzied end to two decades of U.S. and NATO intervention in the country, made worse by an ISIS-K terror attack that killed nearly 170 Afghan citizens and 13 U.S. service members.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the U.S. Embassy in Kabul would suspended all operations on Tuesday local time, with services being relocated to Doha, Qatar. The U.S. will continue to facilitate the departure of the "under 200" U.S. citizens still in the country, he said.

President Joe Biden is scheduled to address the nation from the White House on Tuesday afternoon.

U.S. Completes Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps, boards a C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport August 30, 2021, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Donahue is the final American service member to depart the country, completing the U.S. mission to evacuate American citizens, Afghan Special Immigrant Visa applicants, and vulnerable Afghans. U.S. Central Command via Getty Images

Hu Xijin, the editor of China's Communist Party tabloid the Global Times, said the war in Afghanistan "should be remembered as a painful lesson in U.S. history."

"The U.S. is not as powerful as Americans themselves think," he wrote on Tuesday in separate posts on Twitter and Weibo. "They can't change the world; they must learn to be humble and give up the crazy idea of America as a 'beacon of democracy.'"

At a UN Security Council meeting on Monday, Chinese representative Geng Shuang said the "recent chaos in Afghanistan" was a direct result of the "hasty and disorderly withdrawal" of foreign troops from the country.

"We hope the relevant countries realize that withdrawal is not the end of responsibility but the beginning of reflection and correction," he added. "The actions of foreign troops in Afghanistan over the past 20 years, including criminal liability for the indiscriminate killing of Afghan citizens by U.S. and Australian forces, cannot be written off and must be investigated."

Geng and Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia abstained as 13 of the 15 council members voted in favor of a resolution demanding that Afghanistan not be used as a shelter for terrorism—something the Taliban has promised publicly since taking over de facto control of the country.

At the session, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the U.S. had evacuated more than 122,000 Americans, foreign nationals and Afghan citizens since July.

"The Security Council expects the Taliban to live up to its commitment to facilitate safe passage for Afghans and foreign nationals who want to leave Afghanistan, whether it's today, tomorrow, or after August 31," said Thomas-Greenfield.

"Consistent with the right to leave any country, including one's own, everybody must be allowed to safely leave Afghanistan, for whatever reason, whenever they want, by air or by land. This is of the utmost importance to us," she added.

The Taliban has embraced the prospect of working with China, which has hinted at its readiness to recognize a new Afghan government. The group says it wants good relations with the U.S., too.

U.S. Completes Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan
Taliban Badri special force fighters take a position at the airport in Kabul on August 31, 2021, after the U.S. has pulled all its troops out of the country to end a 20-year war. WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images

Correction 9/17/21: This article was updated to correct the spelling of Antony Blinken.