US Announces Completion Of Withdrawal From Afghanistan
Last plane carrying U.S. troops has left Afghanistan, according to the commander of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, signifying the completion of the 20-year mission that began in the country shortly after 9/11.
“I’m here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan,” McKenzie told a Pentagon briefing on Monday, August 30, a day before withdrawal deadline set by US President Joe Biden.
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Taliban extreme Islamic group once ruled Afghanistanfrom 1996 to 2001 but were ousted by US in the wake of 11, September 2001 World Trade Center attacks in New York.
Taliban were accused of providing sanctuary to suspects of the US attack – Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda movement.
Reacting, US troops were sent to Afghanistan, the insurgents were repelled and US tried to help a democratic administration build a steady nation.
However, Taliban regrouped in the country’s hinterlands, launching attacks against international forces in Afghanistan.
Then in 2020, US and the Taliban signed a peace deal with US agreeing to withdraw its troops & leave power to a new government.
However, the terror group continued to kill Afghan security forces and civilians even until 2021.
Despite concerns about the country’s vulnerability without international support, US announced its exit.
August 31 is set as the final exit date for all American forces – few days before 20th anniversary of World Trade Center attacks.
The departure is the first time in nearly two decades that the US and its allies have not had troops on the ground.
The evacuation effort met President Biden’s withdrawal deadline but has been marked by chaotic and bloody events. More than 170 people were killed, including 13 American service members, in last week’s attack near Kabul’s airport.
Following the announcement, President Biden thanked the final US forces serving in Afghanistan for executing the “dangerous retrograde from Afghanistan as scheduled,” with no further loss of American lives, in a statement released Monday evening, making the end of the United States’ longest war.
In his statement on Monday night, he stressed;
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. Now, our 20-year military presence in Afghanistan has ended.
Biden said he will address the nation on Tuesday on his decision to not extend America’s presence in Afghanistan past August 31, but said in his statement that “it was the unanimous recommendation of the Joint Chiefs and of all of our commanders on the ground to end our airlift mission as planned.”
Their view was that ending our military mission was the best way to protect the lives of our troops, and secure the prospects of civilian departures for those who want to leave Afghanistan in the weeks and months ahead.
The President also made clear he intends to hold the Taliban accountable to their commitment to allow those seeking to leave the country will be able to do so safely.
The Taliban has made commitments on safe passage and the world will hold them to their commitments. It will include ongoing diplomacy in Afghanistan and coordination with partners in the region to reopen the airport allowing for continued departure for those who want to leave and delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
Earlier on Monday, McKenzie acknowledged that the US military “did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out.”
Biden ended his statement “with a moment of gratitude for the sacrifice of the 13 service members in Afghanistan who gave their lives last week to save tens of thousands,” naming each of the American service members killed.