On Monday, the Pentagon announced that the final evacuation flights were completed. The nation has finished evacuation of thousands of Americans and allies from the Hamid Karzai International Airport. The final C-17 military cargo aircraft left the Kabul airport in Afghanistan on Monday afternoon ET. This brought an end to the 20-year war with Afghanistan.
The two-decade conflict with Afghanistan began shortly after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The Taliban, who were in power in Afghanistan had provided a safe haven for the al-Qaeda group who attacked the twin towers on 9/11. The U.S. began its war soon after this incident and continued for 20 years and the Taliban is back in power in Afghanistan.
U.S. Marine Corps General Kenneth McKenzie oversaw a massive evacuation process that flew out more than 116,000 people in about two weeks. He said that the Taliban were unaware of any direct information about the departure of the U.S. military. He said that commanders “chose to keep that information very restricted.”
McKenzie also said that the Taliban were “actually very helpful and useful” to the U.S. as they were closing down their operations. He also said that the last five flights from Kabul had no (non-military) Americans on board.
He said that they had been unable to bring any Americans out about 12 hours before their final exit. They had been prepared to bring them until the “very last minute” but none of the Americans left behind could make their way to the airport.
Monday, Anthony Blinken, the Secretary of State said that less than 200 Americans were still seeking evacuation. He added that their commitment to them, to all Americans in Afghanistan and in other parts of the world continued. He also said that the protection and welfare of Americans abroad remained the most vital and enduring mission of the State Department.