US troops exit Afghanistan, ending America’s longest war

Kabul: The United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 30, ending America’s longest war likely to be remembered for colossal failures, unfulfilled promises and a hasty exit that cost the lives of more than 180 Afghans and 13 US service members.

America’s 20-year-old military presence in Afghanistan has ended, President Joe Biden announced, hours after the United States withdrew all of its soldiers from the war-ravaged country.

Thousands of troops had spent a harrowing two weeks protecting the airlift of tens of thousands of Afghans, Americans and others seeking to escape a country once again ruled by the Taliban.

Ahmadullah Wasiq, the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, said, “Occupying US troops withdrew from Afghanistan after a 20-year military mission, killing and wounding thousands of soldiers and inflicting unprecedented financial losses.”

Celebratory gunfire rang out in Kabul after the completion of the US pullout. The Taliban fighters watched the last US planes disappear into the night sky and then fired their guns into the air and lit crackers, celebrating victory after the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf said, “The last US soldier has left Kabul airport and our country gained complete independence.” However, a contingent of Americans, estimated to be around 100 people, who wanted to leave Afghanistan are still stranded in the country.

In announcing the completion of the evacuation and war effort. Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, said the last planes took off from Kabul airport at 3:29 pm Washington time, or one minute before midnight in Kabul.

The final pullout fulfilled Biden’s pledge to end what he called a “forever war” that began in response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

More than 1,100 troops from coalition countries and more than 100,000 Afghan forces and civilians died, according to Brown University’s Costs of War project.

Image courtesy of (Photo: Flickr)

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