The deadly war that started after the 9/11 attacks comes to end as last of the US soldiers were flown out late on Monday.
The US completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan late on Monday, ending America’s longest war and leaving behind a socially fractured and economically depressed country that’s now under the control of Taliban.
The withdrawal of American troops closes a chapter in military history likely to be remembered for colossal failures, and unfulfilled promises.
Hours ahead of President Joe Biden’s Tuesday deadline for shutting down a final airlift, and thus ending the America’s war, US Air Force transport planes carried a remaining contingent of troops from Kabul airport.
But the completion of withdrawal comes as Washington faces criticism after a US drone strike killed ten civilians including children in Kabul. The attack was aimed at Daesh militants who took responsibility for last week’s deadly bombing at Kabul airport.
In announcing the completion of the evacuation and war effort General Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, said the last planes took off from Kabul airport at 3:29 pm Washington time, or one minute before midnight in Kabul.
The airport had become a US-controlled island, a last stand in a 20-year war that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Afghans.
President Joe Biden announced he will address his nation on Tuesday on the final US exit from Afghanistan.
“Tomorrow afternoon, I will address the American people on my decision not to extend our presence in Afghanistan beyond 8/31,” he said in a statement shortly after the Pentagon announced that the final US military plane had flown out of Kabul.
Biden’s statement praised the military for carrying out the evacuation of final US troops, diplomats, and nearly all Americans, as well as tens of thousands of Afghan allies who worked for or fought alongside international forces in the war.
“The past 17 days have seen our troops execute the largest airlift in US history, evacuating over 120,000 US citizens, citizens of our allies, and Afghan allies of the United States,” Biden said.
“They have done it with unmatched courage, professionalism, and resolve. Now, our 20 year military presence in Afghanistan has ended.”
Celebrations of Taliban
Taliban which staged a lightning swift takeover this month, on Tuesday were celebrating the withdrawal of the last US troops with gunfire.
The Taliban first governed the country between 1996 and 2001 but were ousted in a US-led invasion in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
Two decades of bitter insurgency later, they entered the capital and took control on August 15.
Now, with the US military gone, they stand poised to form a government.