MWith the withdrawal of its last troops from Kabul airport, the US ended its military operation in Afghanistan after nearly 20 years. “I am here to announce the completion of my withdrawal from Afghanistan,” US General Kenneth McKenzie, chief of US Centcom Central Command, said over a video line with reporters at the Pentagon on Monday. It also ends military missions to evacuate Americans, allies, and Afghans seeking protection. The last US military plane took off from Kabul airport a minute before midnight (local time). The US ambassador left the country with the last C-17 aircraft. The diplomatic mission to allow people to leave Afghanistan continues.
According to the White House on Monday, the US and its allies on the evacuation mission have evacuated about 116,700 people since August 14. There are still thousands of people in Afghanistan who want to flee the Taliban – most of them Afghans.
The militant Islamist Taliban has described the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan as historic. High-ranking Taliban member Anas Haqqani wrote on Twitter at German time on Monday evening: “We are writing history again. US and NATO’s 20-year occupation of Afghanistan ended this evening. God is great.” He was very happy to see these historic moments, sacrifices and hardships after 20 years of jihad, which he was proud of.
Taliban spokesman Sabiullah Mujahid wrote on Twitter that the last US troops left Kabul airport at around midnight Afghan time and that the country had now achieved full independence. “The sky is calm,” wrote a New York Times reporter on Twitter. He could hear and see what kind of joy shots were fired by the Taliban.
Mujahid wrote in another tweet that the current shots are shots of happiness, people should not worry. Try to overcome this. Taliban supporters congratulated each other on social media. “Congratulations everyone,” it said, “Afghanistan is free”. Others wrote that the myth of American invincibility in Afghanistan was shattered. And: “You had watches, but we had time.”
West increased pressure on Taliban
The United States and Western partners have repeatedly emphasized that there should be a possibility to bring people to safety even after the mission ends. On Monday, the UN Security Council increased pressure on the militant Islamist Taliban in Afghanistan to uphold human rights and allow those wishing to leave the country to pass. The most powerful body of the United Nations has rarely passed a resolution to this effect.
US President Joe Biden announced in April that all US troops would be unconditionally withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11. The date marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks that triggered a US-led military operation in Afghanistan. As a result, NATO also announced that it would end its international mission. In July, Biden extended the full return date to August 31.
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