The US announced the end of its 20-year war in Afghanistan when the last American military flight departed from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul shortly before the August 31 deadline.
“I am here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the mission to evacuate American citizens, third-country nationals and vulnerable Afghans,” US Central Commander Marine Corps General Frank McKenzie told reporters at a virtual press conference.
Every single US soldier is out of Afghanistan now, McKenzie said, announcing the formal end of America’s longest war, less than a fortnight before 20 York.
The terrorist attack forced the US to invade Afghanistan and overthrow the Taliban rule, which had offered safe havens for the al-Qaeda leadership at the time. Taliban rule was overthrown and replaced by US-backed Afghans, who ruled the country for 20 years, during which there were multiple general elections. This rule was overturned by the Taliban on August 15 when President Ashraf Ghani suddenly fled the country and the 300,000 US-trained Afghan forces surrendered without a fight.
The Taliban, now the ruling power in Afghanistan, welcomed the withdrawal of US troops from the country. Congratulations to all of our compatriots and our dear nation and mujahideen: Today all foreign armed forces have left our pure and martyr land, said the Taliban in a tweet in Persian.
The US special envoy for reconciliation in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said in a tweet: Our war in Afghanistan is over. Our brave soldiers, sailors, marines and aviators have served with distinction and sacrifice to the last. Our ongoing thanks and respect go to them.
With the departure of our military and the many partners who have stood by our side, the Afghans face a moment of decision and opportunity. The future of their country is in their hands. They will choose their path with full sovereignty. This is the chance to end their war too, he said.
The Taliban are now facing an examination. Can they lead their country into a secure and prosperous future where all of their citizens, men and women, have a chance to realize their potential? Can Afghanistan show the world the beauty and power of its diverse cultures, stories and traditions? he said in another tweet.
Gen McKenzie said no American civilians were on the last flight. While the military evacuation is complete, the diplomatic mission will continue to secure additional US citizens and Afghans willing to leave. Tonight’s withdrawal marks both the end of the military component of the evacuation and the end of the nearly 20-year mission that began shortly after September 11, 2001 in Afghanistan with many of its al-Qaida co-conspirators, “he said.
“And it wasn’t a cheap mission. The cost was 2,461 US soldiers and civilians killed and more than 20,000 injured. Unfortunately, 13 soldiers were killed by an ISIS-K suicide bomber last week. We honor their victims today while we remember her heroic achievements, McKenzie said.
President Joe Biden had set a deadline for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan until August 31. Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Ronna McDaniel said the failed disengagement from Afghanistan left many Americans behind.
Joe Biden left the Americans behind. His decision to cause this disaster and forsake Americans and our interests proves what we all already knew, that Joe Biden is unable to serve as Commander in Chief and that the US and the world are less safe because of him , she said.
While Biden tries to drive a winning lap on his failed withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Americans remain stranded behind the Taliban lines. To the men and women of the American armed forces and their families, Americans will always honor the sacrifice you and your loved ones have made for our country, McDaniel said in a statement.