U.S. Completes Withdrawal from Afghanistan

The United States has completed the withdrawal of its troops and the evacuation efforts of remaining civilians from Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command Chief General Kenneth McKenzie confirmed on Aug. 30.

“I’m here to announce the completion of our mission in Afghanistan and the end of the military mission to evacuate American citizens, third-country nationals, and vulnerable Afghans,” McKenzie said in a virtual press briefing.

As the last U.S. plane left Kabul, the longest war in American history — lasting nearly 20 years — has effectively ended.

According the McKenzie, the Kabul airlift was the largest non-combatant evacuation operation ever conducted by the U.S. military, with over 79,000 civilians evacuated since Aug. 14 and over 123,000 civilians evacuated since the end of July.

McKenzie also assured that “every single American service member is now out of Afghanistan.”

McKenzie also said that the mission to evacuate additional U.S. citizens and eligible Afghans beyond the deadline now shifts from a military operation to a diplomatic one.

In a statement, U.S. President Joe Biden announced that he will address the nation on Sept. 1 afternoon regarding his decision not to extend the Aug. 31 deadline.

Biden further said that the decision to end the Kabul airlift mission as planned was “the unanimous recommendation of the Joint Chiefs and of all of our commanders on the ground” as it 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.”

Celebratory gunfire rang out in Kabul after the U.S. withdrawal ended, according to Axios Media.

On Twitter, Taliban’s Cultural Commission Deputy Head Ahmadullah Wasiq said, “Congratulations to all Afghans on the freedom and independence of Afghanistan from the American occupation.”

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