KABUL — As the United States completed the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan, after two decades of military presence, the Taliban, on Aug. 31, fired their guns in the air in celebration.
Parts of Kabul erupted in celebratory gunfire after the last US C-17 aircraft lifted off from Hamid Karzai International Airport right before midnight, shortly after the last aircraft departed.
General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of the US Central Command, made the withdrawal announcement at a Pentagon news briefing.
“I announce the completion of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the end of the military mission to evacuate American citizens and Afghans, he said.
“The last C-17 lifted off from Hamid Karzai Airport on Aug. 30 at 3:29 pm (local time).”
Gen. McKenzie: In total, U.S. military and coalition aircraft combined to evacuate more than 123,000 civilians, which were all enabled by U.S. military service members, who were securing and operating the airfield. pic.twitter.com/94oyGY1nNB
— Department of Defense (@DeptofDefense) August 30, 2021
Following US troop’s withdrawal, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has also said the last American soldier left Kabul airport at 9 pm Afghan time.
“The last American soldier left Kabul airport at 9 pm Afghan time, and our country gained full independence, Alhamdulillah Walmana,” he tweeted.
US President Joe Biden on Aug. 30 (local time) said that over 120,000 US and foreign citizens, Afghan nationals have been evacuated in the last 17 days as the 20-year US military presence in Afghanistan has ended.
“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,” he said in a statement.
“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 American people on US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan on Aug. 31.
“Tomorrow afternoon, I will address the American people on my decision not to extend our presence in Afghanistan beyond Aug. 31,” he said, adding that “for now, I will report 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.”
Biden asked the Secretary of State to continue coordinating with the international partners to ensure safe passage for Americans, Afghan partners, and foreign nationals who want to leave Afghanistan.
“This will include UN Security Council Resolution passed today,” he said.
US President said that the Taliban have made commitments on safe passage, and the world will hold them to their obligations.
“The Taliban has made commitments on safe passage, and the world will hold them to their commitments,” he said.
“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.”
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra
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