The U.S. officially concluded its 20-year presence in Afghanistan, with the departure of the last American military plane from Kabul on Tuesday.
End of America’s longest war: The head of U.S. Central Command, General Kenneth McKenzie, announced the completion of the military mission which sought to evacuate “American citizens, third-country nationals and vulnerable Afghans,” reported Bloomberg.
- The military had reportedly evacuated over 123,000 people since Aug. 14, the day before the Taliban regained control of the country.
- The Costs of War Project by Brown University’s Watson Institute and Boston University’s Pardee Center estimated that the war in Afghanistan cost the U.S. $2.313 trillion to date.
- The report also counted 241,000 deaths, including at least 71,344 civilians; 2,442 American service members; 78,314 Afghan military and police; and 84,191 opposition fighters.
- Just a week ago, a suicide bombing, carried out by the Islamic State Khorasan, otherwise known as ISIS-K, killed 13 U.S. service members and 170 others outside the Kabul’scapital city’s airport, the New York Times reported.
- According to General McKenzie, some Americans were left behind because they could not get to the airport in time.
- “There’s a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure. We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out,” McKenzie said in a Pentagon news briefing.
End of America’s “nation-building”: In his public address on Tuesday, President Joe Biden attributed the withdrawal’s perceived success to the “incredible skill, bravery, and selfless courage of the United States military and our diplomats and intelligence professionals.”
- According to Biden, “98% of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave.”
- “For those remaining Americans, there is no deadline. We remain committed to get [sic] them out if they want to come out,” he said.
- He declared that the U.S. must now learn from its mistakes and move on from the mindset that “large-scale troop deployments will make us stronger and more effective and safer at home.”
- “The fundamental obligation of a President, in my opinion, is to defend and protect America — not against threats of 2001, but against the threats of 2021 and tomorrow,” Biden said.
The Taliban, which the U.S. ousted from power shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has now regained control of nearly the entirety of Afghanistan.
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