US quits Afghanistan after a 20-year military presence
According to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the beginning of a new chapter in American engagement with Afghanistan has begun
NEW DELHI — On Tuesday morning, US soldiers departed Afghanistan, bringing an end to a tumultuous and complex withdrawal from America’s longest battle.
The final American military jets left Afghanistan. Five American C-17 cargo jets took off from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Tuesday morning, according to the New York Times.
Start of a new chapter in Afghanistan
It’s the start of a new chapter in American engagement with Afghanistan, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The Taliban’s effective takeover of Afghanistan, the collapse of the Afghan government, hurried foreign force withdrawals that left tens of thousands of Afghans anxious to escape the country, and horrible terrorist attacks that murdered dozens of Afghans tarnished the US’ final days in Afghanistan.
The last US soldier to leave Afghanistan
Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, boarded a C-17 to depart Kabul, according to the Department of Defense. He was the country’s last soldier to leave.
On Monday, US Central Command’s senior general, Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, informed reporters that Donahue and the top US diplomat in Kabul, Charge d’Affaires Ross Wilson, were the final two US officials to leave Afghanistan and board a US military plane.
Taliban in celebratory mood
Taliban celebrated Afghanistan’s “full independence,” according to the New York Times. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, celebratory gunfire erupted around Kabul.
Furthermore, the Taliban were given charge of the airport, claiming that they were still hammering out the details of their new administration.
The cost of US engagement in Afghanistan
Following the 9/11 terror assault in the United States by al Qaeda militants, former President George W. Bush declared war on Afghanistan. The almost two-decade war cost more than $2 trillion, claimed more than 170,000 lives, and failed to destroy the Taliban, the extremist group that permitted Al Qaeda to operate there.
UNSC counting on Taliban to ensure ‘safe passage’ for those wishing to leave
According to Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby, more than 122,000 individuals have been evacuated from Hamid Karzai International Airport since July, including 5,400 Americans.
As US forces exit Afghanistan, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to establishing a “safe passage” zone for individuals wishing to exit the country through Kabul’s airport after the US leaves.
The Council is counting on the Taliban to ensure that Afghans and international nationals wishing to leave the country have a safe path out.