Marking the end of the longest war American troops have been engaged in, the United States forces left Afghanistan as the last US military planes flew out of the war-torn country.
According to several reports, five American C-17 cargo jets took off from the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Tuesday.
The Department of Defense has tweeted a picture of Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, boarding a C-17 to depart Kabul. He was the last soldier to depart the country.
The war in Afghanistan began under former President George Bush following the 9/11 terror attack in the US by al Qaeda terrorists. The nearly two-decade war cost over $2 trillion, took more than 170,000 lives, and ultimately failed to defeat the Taliban, the terror group who allowed Al Qaeda to operate there.
As of Monday, more than 122,000 people had been airlifted from Hamid Karzai International Airport since July, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told media, including 5,400 Americans.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated the end of the war marked the beginning of a new chapter of American engagement with Afghanistan. “It’s one in which we will lead with our diplomacy. The military mission is over,” he tweeted.
He assured that the United States will continue to support humanitarian aid to the Afghan people. “It will not flow through the government, but rather through independent organizations, like @UN agencies & NGOs. We expect that those efforts will not be impeded by the Taliban or anyone,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, Taliban terrorists celebrated the “full independence” of Afghanistan. Celebratory gunfire broke out across the city in the predawn hours on Tuesday in Kabul.
“The last American soldiers departed from Kabul airport, and our country has achieved a full independence, thanks to God,” Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said on Twitter.
“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. They have done it with unmatched courage, professionalism, and resolve,” President Joe Biden wrote in the statement released on Monday night while thanking the US troops.