The final US forces have departed Afghanistan, completing a complex withdrawal and putting America’s longest war to a close.
In the early hours of Tuesday, celebratory gunfire rang out throughout Kabul as Taliban leaders lauded the incident.
Both the beginning and conclusion of the US operation in Afghanistan were defined by Taliban rule, the organization that has retaken control of the nation.
The final flight from the United States took off late on Monday
The pullout occurred before the end of August 31, the deadline set by US President Joe Biden for the procedure, with the final flight departing at 19:29 GMT on Monday.
“I’m here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the military mission to evacuate American citizens,” US General Kenneth McKenzie told reporters.
Over 1,23,000 individuals were flown out of Kabul by the US
“Tonight’s withdrawal signifies both the end of the military component of the evacuation but also the end of the nearly 20-year mission that began in Afghanistan shortly after September 11th, 2001,” General McKenzie added.
He claimed that the US flew over 123,000 people out of Kabul, but conceded that not everyone who wanted to escape was allowed to do so.
100-200 US people and thousands of Afghan friends were left behind
Despite pledges that Biden and other key officials, many American citizens and Afghan supporters were nonetheless left behind. According to reports, between 100 and 200 US citizens and thousands of Afghan friends may have to wait longer for airlifts.
The American retreat is complicated by fear and disarray
America’s closing days in Afghanistan were filled with turmoil.
Thousands of Afghans flooded the Kabul airport soon after the Taliban took power, anxious to leave. Many people died.
On Thursday, a devastating blast outside the airport killed over 200 Afghans and 13 US servicemen.
In addition, a US drone attack targeting militants is said to have killed ten Afghan civilians.
‘Full independence’: Taliban applauds US withdrawal
The Taliban, which reclaimed control of Afghanistan a fortnight ago, is celebrating the US withdrawal.
“American soldiers left the Kabul airport, and our nation got its full independence,” Taliban top spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, following the departure, some Taliban members entered Kabul airport, dressed in US military clothing and inspecting Chinook helicopters stationed there.