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U.S. ends 20-year conflict in Afghanistan with ultimate evacuation flights out of Kabul

A US Air Pressure plane takes off from the airport in Kabul on August 30, 2021.

Aamir Qureshi | AFP | Getty Pictures

WASHINGTON — America’s longest conflict is over.

The US completed its withdrawal efforts from the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, the Pentagon mentioned Monday, successfully ending a two-decade battle that started not lengthy after the terrorist assaults of Sept. 11, 2001.

After the Pentagon’s announcement, President Joe Biden, in a press release Monday night, thanked the American army and mentioned he would deal with the nation Tuesday afternoon about his determination to not extend the U.S. mission in Afghanistan past Aug. 31.

“The previous 17 days have seen our troops execute the most important airlift in U.S. historical past, evacuating over 120,000 U.S. residents, residents of our allies, and Afghan allies of the US,” the president mentioned within the assertion.

“They’ve achieved it with unmatched braveness, professionalism, and resolve. Now, our 20-year army presence in Afghanistan has ended.”

Within the ultimate week of the withdrawal, terrorists from the group ISIS-Okay killed 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghans in an assault exterior the airport. U.S. forces retaliated and launched strikes in a bid to thwart different assaults.

The final C-17 army cargo plane departed Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport on Monday afternoon Japanese time, in keeping with U.S. Marine Corps Normal Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, finishing a large evacuation effort that flew greater than 116,000 folks out of Afghanistan over the previous two weeks.

McKenzie, who oversees U.S. army operations within the area, mentioned the Taliban didn’t have direct data of the U.S. army’s time of departure, including that commanders on the bottom “selected to maintain that data very restricted.”

“However they have been truly very useful and helpful to us as we closed down operations,” McKenzie mentioned of the Taliban.

McKenzie mentioned there have been no People on the final 5 flights out of Kabul.

“We weren’t capable of carry any People out; that exercise most likely ended about 12 hours earlier than our exit. Though we proceed the outreach and would have been ready to carry them on till the final minute, however none of them made it to the airport,” McKenzie mentioned.

The four-star normal added that there have been no evacuees left on the airfield when the final C-17 took off and confirmed that each one U.S. service members and troops from the Afghan army drive together with their households have been additionally airlifted out on Monday.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned in a while Monday that fewer than 200 People are nonetheless looking for evacuation.

“Our dedication to them and to all People in Afghanistan and all over the place on the planet continues. The safety and welfare of People overseas stays the State Division’s most significant and enduring mission,” the nation’s prime diplomat mentioned in a night deal with.

As of early Monday, U.S. and allied forces evacuated 1,200 folks out of the Afghan capital on 26 army cargo plane flights in a 24-hour interval, in keeping with the most recent figures from the White Home.

About 122,800 folks have been evacuated for the reason that finish of July, together with about 6,000 U.S. residents and their households.

“A brand new chapter of America’s engagement with Afghanistan has begun. It is one through which we are going to lead with our diplomacy. The army mission is over. A brand new diplomatic mission has begun,” Blinken mentioned.

Blinken added that the U.S. had suspended its diplomatic presence in Kabul and can switch these operations to Doha, Qatar.

“We are going to stay vigilant in monitoring threats ourselves and can preserve strong counterterrorism capabilities within the area to neutralize these threats if vital — as we demonstrated previously few days by hanging ISIS facilitators and even threats in Afghanistan, and as we do in locations world wide the place we should not have army forces on the bottom,” Blinken mentioned.

The Taliban return to energy

Taliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood within the metropolis of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.

Rahmat Gul | AP

The U.S. started its conflict in Afghanistan in October 2001, weeks after the assaults of Sept. 11. The Taliban on the time offered sanctuary to al-Qaeda, the group that deliberate and carried out the devastating terrorist assaults on the World Commerce Heart and the Pentagon.

Since then, about 2,500 U.S. service members have died within the battle, which additionally claimed the lives of greater than 100,000 Afghan troops, police personnel and civilians.

Now the Taliban are but once more in energy.

Within the ultimate weeks of a deliberate exodus of international forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban carried out a succession of surprising battlefield positive aspects.

The Taliban seized Bagram Air Base, a sprawling and once-stalwart U.S. army set up, lower than two months after U.S. commanders transferred it to the Afghan Nationwide Safety and Protection Pressure.

In 2012, at its peak, Bagram noticed greater than 100,000 U.S. troops move by means of. It was the most important U.S. army set up in Afghanistan.

Because the Taliban moved nearer to the capital, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the nation, and Western nations rushed to evacuate embassies amid a deteriorating safety state of affairs.

Biden ordered the deployment of hundreds of U.S. troops to Kabul to assist evacuate U.S. Embassy employees and safe the perimeter of the airport.

In the meantime, hundreds of Afghans swarmed the tarmac on the airport determined to flee Taliban rule.

Regardless of being vastly outnumbered by the Afghan army, which has lengthy been assisted by U.S. and NATO coalition forces, the Taliban seized the presidential palace in Kabul on Aug. 15.

In April, Biden ordered the complete withdrawal of roughly 3,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11. He later gave an up to date timeline saying the U.S. army mission in Afghanistan will finish by Aug. 31.

Following the Taliban takeover, Biden defended his determination that the U.S. would depart the war-torn nation.

“I stand squarely behind my determination. After 20 years I’ve realized the exhausting means that there was by no means a great time to withdraw U.S. forces,” Biden mentioned a day after Afghanistan collapsed to the Taliban.

“American troops can not and shouldn’t be preventing in a conflict and dying in a conflict that Afghan forces should not keen to combat for themselves,” Biden mentioned. “We gave them each probability to find out their very own future. We couldn’t present them with the need to combat for that future,” he added.

Ultimate U.S. casualties of Afghan conflict

On this picture offered by the U.S. Air Pressure, flag-draped switch circumstances line the within of a transport aircraft Sunday earlier than a dignified switch at Dover Air Pressure Base, Del. The fallen service members have been killed whereas supporting evacuations in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Jason Minto | U.S. Air Pressure

The Pentagon on Saturday launched the names of the 13 U.S. service members killed after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive close to the gates of Kabul’s airport.

The Aug. 26 assault, which killed 11 Marines, one Navy sailor and one Military soldier, is below investigation.

On Sunday, the president and first girl Jill Biden traveled to Dover Air Pressure Base to satisfy privately with the households of the fallen earlier than observing the dignified switch of American flag-draped caskets from a C-17 army cargo aircraft to a car.

A dignified switch is a solemn course of through which the stays of fallen service members are carried from an plane to a ready car. It’s carried out for each U.S. service member killed in motion.

The stays of the service members have been flown from Kabul to Kuwait after which to Germany earlier than arriving at Dover.

Sunday marked the primary time Biden has attended a dignified switch since he turned president.

US President Joe Biden attends the dignified switch of the stays of a fallen service member at Dover Air Pressure Base in Dover, Delaware, August, 29, 2021.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Pictures

Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees Mark Milley additionally attended the dignified switch, together with U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger, U.S. Military Chief of Employees Gen. James McConville, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday and U.S. Air Pressure Col. Chip Hollinger, who oversaw the army logistics of the switch.

The fallen embody:

Marine Corps Employees Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake Metropolis, Utah

Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosariopichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts

Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, California

Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California

Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Web page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska

Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California

Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio

Military Employees Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee.


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