The United States Completes The Withdrawal Of It’s Troops From Afghanistan
The US has terminated its military mission in Afghanistan on Monday, after the departure of the last planes with its troops. A day ahead of schedule, after 20 years of war, he ends his presence in the Afghan country, where the Taliban are in command.
The announcement of the end of the mission was given by the head of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), General Frank McKenzie, at a press conference from the Pentagon, in which he intervened electronically. US President Joe Biden will address the nation on Tuesday to justify his decision not to extend the presence of US soldiers in Afghanistan beyond August 31.
“I am here to announce our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the mission to evacuate US citizens, third country nationals and vulnerable Afghans,” General McKenzie began.
McKenzie has detailed that the last US military plane, a C-17, took off from the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul this Monday at 3:29 p.m. off the US east coast (19:29 GMT).
“Now the latest drone is clearing (air) space over Afghanistan,” the CENTCOM chief said.
McKenzie added that although the military pull-back has been completed, efforts are still continuing to ensure that more US citizens and “eligible Afghans” who want to leave can do so.
Withdrawal today marks the end of the military part of the evacuation, but also the end of a mission that began nearly 20 years ago in Afghanistan, shortly after September 11, 2001,” he said.
The general recalled that it was “a mission that put an end to Osama bin Laden, along with his al Qaeda collaborators.”
Largest Noncombatant Air Evacuation In Military History
“It has not been cheap mission. The cost has been 2,461 US soldiers and civilians killed and more than 20,000 wounded,” he remarked.
The day before the Taliban took Kabul, more than 79,000 civilians, including 6,000 Americans, were evacuated by US military aircraft at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Together with the flights of the international coalition, this number increases to more than 123,000 evacuated civilians, but tens of thousands of Afghan civilians are still in danger in the country.
The head of the US Central Command during the press conference from the Pentagon. HANDOUT / DOD / AFP.
An estimated 250 US citizens would remain on Afghan soil , although authorities have not yet been able to determine whether they want to stay or leave. Besides, there are still thousands of Afghans, many of them former collaborators of the US forces, such as translators and drivers, who have not been removed from the country.
The United States has had more than 5,000 soldiers deployed in recent weeks to ensure the protection of the Afghan capital’s airport during evacuations, of which there are no longer any in the country.
McKenzie assured that the United States “always has” the right to attack the intentions of Al Qaeda or Islamic State (IS) terrorists if necessary.
Despite completing the withdrawal, McKenzie assured that the United States “always has” the right to attack targets of Al Qaeda or the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group if necessary.
Biden Will Address The Nation On Tuesday
In this way, the US puts an end to its withdrawal from Afghanistan within the deadline set by the president, Joe Biden , who set August 31 as the deadline to finish leaving the country.
According to a statement from the White House , the president will address the nation on Tuesday to justify his decision not to prolong the presence of his country’s troops in Afghanistan beyond August 31.
The president explained in said statement that this was the “unanimous” recommendation of the Defense General Staff and “all” the commanders on the ground.
Biden has added in it that, according to the point of view of the military leaders, the best way to protect the soldiers and the evacuations of civilians was by ending the military mission.
The president has indicated that he has asked the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to lead the coordination with international allies to guarantee the “safe” departure of any American, Afghan collaborators and foreign nationals who want to leave Afghanistan.
The US Will Transfer It’s Diplomatic Mission In Afghanistan To Qatar
For his part, the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has announced that Washington will transfer its diplomatic mission in Afghanistan to Qatar, a mission that will be led by the former Chargé d’Affaires of the embassy in Kabul, Ross Wilson .
From Doha – the Qatari capital – consular services will be offered, in addition to managing humanitarian aid for Afghanistan and working with allies and partners to “coordinate” the deal with the Taliban.
“A new episode in the US relationship with Afghanistan has begun. The military mission has ended. A new diplomatic mission has begun,” said the head of US diplomacy.
He explained that in this new era of US foreign policy towards the Central Asian country, Washington will focus first on continuing its “tireless efforts” to help Americans, foreign nationals and Afghans, who want to leave Afghanistan.
Taliban Celebrate Withdrawal
Another of the US priorities is that the Taliban fulfill their commitment to allow people who want to travel outside the country: “They have committed to let anyone who has the proper documents leave the country safely. and orderly “.
The Taliban have also pledged to prevent terrorist groups from using Afghanistan as a base of operations that could threaten the United States, but Blinken has admitted that the United States will remain “vigilant” for possible non-compliance.
Shortly after the withdrawal was known, members of this Islamist movement have taken control of the Kabul international airport . And a couple of hours later they have taken to the streets to celebrate the news with shots in the air.
Taliban Celebrate US Withdrawal: “We Have Made History”
“At midnight in Afghanistan, the last group of US soldiers left the Kabul airport. The withdrawal of US forces was thus completed and our country and the Afghans achieved their full independence, ” said one of the main spokespersons for the Taliban.