NSWith the withdrawal of its last soldiers from Kabul airport, the United States ended its military operation in Afghanistan after nearly 20 years. “I am here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan,” US General Kenneth McKenzie, who heads the US Central Command’s Central Command, said via videotape with reporters at the Pentagon on Monday. This also ends the military mission to evacuate Americans, allies, and Afghans seeking protection. The last US military aircraft took off from Kabul airport one minute before midnight (local time). The US ambassador left the country with his last C-17. The diplomatic mission to allow people to leave Afghanistan continues.
According to the White House on Monday, the United States and its allies on the evacuation mission have moved about 116,700 people to safety since August 14. There are still tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan who want to flee the Taliban – most of them are Afghans.
The hardline Islamist Taliban movement hailed the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan as historic. Senior Taliban member Anas Haqqani wrote Monday evening German time on Twitter: “We are writing history again. The 20-year-old occupation of Afghanistan by the United States and NATO ended this evening. God is great.” He was very happy to see these historical moments after 20 years of jihad, of sacrifices and hardships that he was so proud of.
Taliban spokesman, Subullah Mujahid, wrote on Twitter that the last US soldier left Kabul airport around midnight Afghan time and that the country had now gained full independence. A New York Times reporter wrote on Twitter: “The sky is calm.” He would hear and see what joy shots were fired by the Taliban.
Mujahid wrote in another tweet that the current footage is joy footage, so there is no need to worry. Try to control this. Taliban supporters congratulated each other on social media. “Congratulations to all, a free Afghanistan,” the statement read. Others wrote that the myth of American immunity had been shattered in Afghanistan. And: “You had the hours, but we had the time.”
West increases pressure on Taliban
The USA and Western partners have repeatedly emphasized that there must be a possibility to bring people to safety even after the mission is over. The United Nations Security Council on Monday increased pressure on the hardline Islamist Taliban movement in Afghanistan to support human rights and allow those who wish to leave the country unhindered passage. Rarely has the most powerful body in the United Nations passed a resolution to this effect.
US President Joe Biden announced in April that all US soldiers would be unconditionally withdrawn from Afghanistan by 9/11 at the latest. The date marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks that sparked the US-led military operation in Afghanistan. As a result, NATO also announced that it would end its international mission. In July, Biden moved the full withdrawal date to August 31.