The afghanistan capital is the last U.S. troops left Afghanistan after 14 years of war.
The final American soldiers departed Afghanistan on Monday, according to the Pentagon, bringing an end to America’s longest conflict. General Kenneth F. McKenzie, the commander of US Central Command, stated during a conference that “every single US military person is out of Afghanistan, I can say that with full confidence.”
According to McKenzie, the final American aircraft out of Afghanistan took off at 3:29 p.m. ET. The leaders of the State Department and Defense Department teams, Chargé d’Affaires Ross Wilson and Major General Chris Donahue, were among the last to depart.
The final soldier to depart Afghanistan was photographed by the 18th Airborne Corps, but their name was not revealed.
Our Sky Dragon Soldiers have me in awe.
This was a very difficult, high-pressure operation with many complications and constant dangers. Our soldiers showed tenacity, discipline, and compassion.
The final soldier to depart Afghanistan is shown in the photo below. pic.twitter.com/LnhBGHUf0M
30 August 2021 — XVIII Airborne Corps (@18airbornecorps)
Even though some Americans and at-risk Afghans were unable to leave, President Biden said he would speak to Americans on Tuesday about the decision not to prolong the US mission beyond the deadline.
“For the time being, I will report that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all of our ground commanders unanimously recommended that we terminate our airlift operation as planned,” Mr. Biden said in a statement released Monday afternoon. “In their opinion, terminating our military operation was the best approach to preserve our soldiers’ lives while also ensuring the possibility of civilian departures for those who wanted to leave Afghanistan in the next weeks and months.”
The military equipment left behind by US troops was “demilitarized,” or made worthless, including dozens of military vehicles and planes worth billions of dollars.
Even though the US no longer has a military or diplomatic presence in Afghanistan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated later Monday that the US remains dedicated to the country’s remaining Americans and vulnerable Afghans. Diplomats deployed to Afghanistan will now work out of Doha, Qatar. According to Blinken, “under 200, most likely closer to 100” Americans remain in Afghanistan.
A paratrooper assigned to B Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute, Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division handles security at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, according to a photo supplied by the US Army. Alexander Burnett, Master Sgt. / AP
“Military flights by the United States have stopped, and our soldiers have left Afghanistan. The United States’ involvement with Afghanistan has entered a new phase. It’s one in which we’ll use diplomacy to lead “Blinken remarked.
After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the US military invaded Afghanistan for the first time almost 20 years ago.
At the Pentagon briefing, McKenzie stated, “Your service will never be forgotten.” “Three days ago, my heart was shattered by the losses.”
Thirteen US military personnel were murdered in a suicide attack at the airport on Thursday, the bloodiest day for US soldiers in Afghanistan in almost a decade. Afghan civilians were also murdered in large numbers. The assault was claimed by an ISIS branch in Afghanistan known as ISIS-K, and in response, the US conducted airstrikes against ISIS-K locations.
When questioned about his personal thoughts on the pullout, McKenzie, who has served in Afghanistan and whose son has also been there, said he felt “conflicted.” He claimed, however, that he has been “focused” for the last several weeks on the task at hand, which is to evacuate American citizens and at-risk Afghans who assisted US forces and were eager to escape the country when the Taliban took control.
“We didn’t get out everyone we intended to get out,” McKenzie said, estimating that several hundred people were unable to escape. The final five aircraft to depart Afghanistan had no American civilians on board, and McKenzie said the ability to evacuate Americans stopped approximately 12 hours before the last military flight left.
The United States has completed its military withdrawal from Afghanistan… 03:34
Since the end of July, the US has evacuated more than 122,300 individuals from Afghanistan, including 5,400 Americans, Army Major General Hank Taylor told reporters at a Pentagon conference.
The Taliban, according to McKenzie, had been “pragmatic” in recent weeks as the US withdrew soldiers and evacuated people. “There was no talk of handing anything over or anything at all,” he added.
McKenzie stated of the Taliban, “They wanted us out, and we wanted to go out.”
McKenzie said that he would “never forget” each and every Marine, sailor, and soldier who died in the line of duty. According to him, the mission in Afghanistan has changed from a military to a diplomatic mission.
The White House said Monday that the US evacuated 1,200 individuals from Kabul in a 24-hour period from Sunday am to Monday morning, using 26 military aircraft and two coalition flights.
Approximately 2,900 people were evacuated in a 24-hour span the day before, from early Saturday to early Sunday, with 32 military flights and nine coalition planes leaving Kabul’s airport.
This article was written with the help of Melissa Quinn.