As we’ve reached the August 31 withdrawal deadline, the last of the U.S. troops and evacuation flights departed Afghanistan after 20 years in the country.
The 20 years troops spent in Afghanistan marks America’s longest foreign war. Indeed, troops first arrived after the 9/11 terror attacks and remained there until now.
The last American Soldier leaves AfghanistanMajor General Chris Donahue, commander of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division, @18airbornecorps, boards a C-17 cargo plane at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/qi5RqQfZQL
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) August 31, 2021
Upon departure of the final U.S. troops, the Taliban took control of Kabul airport, as celebratory gunfire echoed throughout the city.
Taliban fighters storm into the Kabul International Airport, wielding American supplied weapons, equipment & uniforms – after the U.S. Military have completed their withdrawal. Fighters celebrated with gunfire & chants through the night. #Afghanistan https://t.co/kyktWDxTrU pic.twitter.com/DM75FapxkB
— Marcus Yam 文火 (@yamphoto) August 30, 2021
In a speech at the airport, one of the Taliban’s top officials, Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, called for investment and national unity.
“I invite you all to come and invest in Afghanistan,” he said. “Your investments will be in good hands. The country will be stable and safe,” adding that after years of war “the people do not have more tolerance.”
U.S. officials acknowledged they were not able to evacuate everyone. Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that between 100 and 200 Americans remain in Afghanistan and want to leave. As reported by the Washington Post, the Group of Seven nations will work to help reopen Kabul’s civilian airport “as soon as possible.”
Biden is expected to deliver an address sometime Tuesday.