Y. Benari, August 30, 2021 9:47 PM
TALIBAN fighters shot guns and set off fireworks over Kabul to celebrate the US retreat from Afghanistan after 20 years. A Pentagon spokesman confirmed that the last plane had left the country on Monday, signaling the end of America’s longest war.
Footage taken in Kabul shows Taliban members shooting celebratory gunfire into the air after watching the last US planes take off just before midnight local time.
Photos also show Taliban fighters inside the Kabul airport inspecting equipment that was left behind by the US military.
Hours ahead of President Joe Biden’s Tuesday deadline to leave, military planes carried the remaining contingent of troops from Kabul airport.
Thousands had been working tirelessly to try and evacuate Americans and Afghan refugees stranded in Kabul as the August 31 deadline loomed.
The last soldier to leave Kabul, US Army Major General Chris Donahue, was pictured boarding a transport plane just before midnight on Monday.
Gen. Frank McKenzie said the last planes took off from Kabul airport at 3:29 p.m. Washington time, or one minute before midnight in Kabul.
He acknowledged that some Americans—likely between 100 and 200—were still in Afghanistan.
“I’m here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the end of the military mission to evacuate American citizens, third-country nationals, and vulnerable Afghans,” he said. “And the last manned aircraft is now clearing the airspace above Afghanistan.”
Gen. McKenzie said that he believes the Americans that were left behind will still be able to leave the country.
AMERICANS LEFT BEHIND
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. would work with Afghanistan’s neighbors to secure their departure either overland or by charter flight once the Kabul airport re-opens. Blinken also noted that the US Embassy in Kabul will remain shuttered and vacant for the foreseeable future.
President Biden released a statement on Monday evening applauding US service members for facilitating the mass evacuation. “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,” he said. “They have done it with unmatched courage, professionalism, and resolve. Now, our 20-year military presence in Afghanistan has ended.”
He went on to say he will address the American public to discuss why he did not extend US presence in Afghanistan on Tuesday afternoon.
The closing hours of the US evacuation in Afghanistan saw American troops getting final evacuees onto planes while also getting themselves and some of their equipment out. That came days after a suicide bomb killed 13 American service members and some 169 Afghans on Thursday.
The final pullout represented a cowardly move by the Biden Administration which will leave its mark on America in the eyes of the world forever.
More than 1,100 troops from coalition countries and more than 100,000 Afghan forces and civilians died, according to Brown University’s Costs of War project. In Biden’s view, the war could have ended 10 years ago with the US killing of Osama bin Laden. But we will not forget that he was even against the killing of OBL.
England condemned the whole fiasco led by Joe Biden.
Washington planned to give the now-defunct Afghan government billions more to prop up its army. But the speed with which the Taliban captured Kabul on August 15 caught the Biden administration by surprise. Chaotic scenes at the airport saw Afghan’s attempting to cling to a C-17 transport plane as it sped down the runway.
Now the president faces condemnation at home and abroad for his handling of a final evacuation that unfolded in chaos.
In his Monday statement, Biden doubled down on his decision to withdraw all troops by the end of August. “I will report that it was a unanimous recommendation of the Joint Chiefs and of all of our commanders on the ground to end our airlift mission as planned,” the statement said.
‘Their view was that ending our military mission was the best way to protect the lives of our troops, and secure the prospects of civilian departures for those who want to leave Afghanistan in the weeks and months ahead.”