U.S. ends 20-year war in Afghanistan with final evacuation flights out of Kabul

U.S. ends 20-year war in Afghanistan with final evacuation flights out of Kabul

AFGHANISTAN:

America’s longest war is over.

 

The United States finished its withdrawal efforts from the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan; the Pentagon said Monday, effectively ending a two-decade conflict that began not long after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

After the Pentagon’s announcement, President Joe Biden, in a statement Monday evening; thanked the American military and said he would address the nation Tuesday afternoon about his decision not to prolong the U.S. mission in Afghanistan beyond Aug. 31.

 

“The past 17 days have seen our troops execute the largest airlift in U.S. history; evacuating over 120,000 U.S. citizens, citizens of our allies, and Afghan allies of the United States,” the president said in the statement.

 

“They have done it with unmatched courage, professionalism, and resolve. Now, our 20-year military presence in Afghanistan has ended.”

 

In the final week of the withdrawal, terrorists from the group ISIS-K killed 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghans in an attack outside the airport.

 

U.S. forces retaliated and launched strikes in a bid to thwart other attacks.

 

The last C-17 military cargo aircraft departed Hamid Karzai International Airport on Monday afternoon Eastern time according to U.S. Marine Corps General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, completing a massive evacuation effort that flew more than 116,000 people out of Afghanistan over the past two weeks.

 

ALSO READ: 100 countries cite Taliban vow to allow continued departures

McKenzie, who oversees U.S. military operations in the region, said the Taliban did not have direct knowledge of the U.S military’s time of departure; adding that commanders on the ground “chose to keep that information very restricted.”

 

“But they were actually very helpful and useful to us as we closed down operations,” McKenzie said of the Taliban.

 

McKenzie said there were no Americans on the last five flights out of Kabul.

 

“We were not able to bring any Americans out; that activity probably ended about 12 hours before our exit. Although we continue the outreach and would have been prepared to bring them on until the very last minute; but none of them made it to the airport,” McKenzie said.

 

The four-star general added that there were no evacuees left at the airfield; when the last C-17 took off and confirmed that all U.S. service members and troops from the Afghan military force along with their families were also airlifted out on Monday.

 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said later on Monday that fewer than 200 Americans are still seeking evacuation.

 

“Our commitment to them and to all Americans in Afghanistan and everywhere in the world continues.

 

The protection and welfare of Americans abroad remains the State Department’s most vital and enduring mission,” the nation’s top diplomat said in an evening address.

ALSO READ: Pregnant wife of US Marine killed in Kabul pays emotional tribute

 

As of early Monday, U.S. and allied forces evacuated 1,200 people out of the Afghan capital on 26 military cargo aircraft flights in a 24-hour period; according to the latest figures from the White House.

 

About 122,800 people have been evacuated since the end of July; including about 6,000 U.S. citizens as well as their families.

 

“A new chapter of America’s engagement with Afghanistan has begun. It’s one in which we will lead with our diplomacy. The military mission is over. A new diplomatic mission has begun,” Blinken said.

 

Blinken added that the U.S. had suspended its diplomatic presence in Kabul; and will also transfer those operations to Doha, Qatar.

 

“We will remain vigilant in monitoring threats ourselves and will maintain robust counterterrorism capabilities in the region to neutralize those threats if necessary; — as we demonstrated in the past few days by striking ISIS facilitators and even threats in Afghanistan, and as we do in places around the world where we do not have military forces on the ground,” Blinken said.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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