The US has terminated its 20-year occupation of Afghanistan and has left the country in the hands of the Taliban.
Major General Chris Donahue, the Commanding Officer of the Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division, was the final American soldier to leave the crisis-torn country aboard a C-17 out of Kabul.
The Taliban began celebrating Friday night when the final American troops left the national capital. Except for the opposition bastion of Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan is now completely under Taliban control.
The commander of US Central Command, General Kenneth McKenzie, announced the total departure of American forces from Afghanistan.
According to Gen. McKenzie, the pullout marked not just the conclusion of the military evacuation, but also the end of the nearly 20-year operation that began in Afghanistan shortly after September 11th, 2001.
But many people doubt if the US accomplished what it set out to do in Afghanistan. The Taliban were in power when they arrived, and they will be in control again when they go.
While the military evacuation was complete, he stated that the diplomatic mission will continue to ensure that at-risk Afghans and more American citizens who wished to leave were allowed to do so.
The US Central Command chief stated that the US and coalition aircraft had evacuated over 1.23 lakh people in what he called the largest non-combatant evacuation in US military history.
The White House provided additional specifics about its evacuation operation, noting that the country’s military evacuated roughly 7,500 citizens each day on average throughout the 18-day campaign. It evacuated almost 19,000 persons in a single day on one of the days.
The White House denied that there was a deadline for Americans to leave Afghanistan, saying that the Secretary of State would work with international allies to secure safe passage for many Americans, Afghans, or foreigners who wished to depart.
‘A new era of engagement with Afghanistan has begun.’
.@SecBlinken: More than 123,000 people have been safely flown out of Afghanistan. That includes about 6,000 American citizens. This has been a massive military, diplomatic, and humanitarian undertaking – one of the most difficult in our nation’s history. pic.twitter.com/jOF9t6NFgI
— Department of State (@StateDept) August 31, 2021
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared that the departure of the country’s soldiers from Kabul marked the beginning of a new chapter in America’s engagement with Afghanistan.
The United States will lead with diplomacy in the new engagement with Afghanistan, according to Blinken, adding that the White House will hold the Taliban accountable for their commitment to freedom of movement for at-risk Afghans and foreigners.
He reaffirmed that the United States’ efforts in Afghanistan will continue. Blinken went on to say that the Joe Biden administration had a strategy for the future and was putting it into action.