Mith the withdrawal of its last soldiers from Kabul airport, the US ended its military operation in Afghanistan after almost 20 years. “I am here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan,” said US General Kenneth McKenzie, who heads US Centcom Central Command, on a video line with journalists in the Pentagon on Monday. This also ends the military mission to evacuate Americans, allies and Afghans seeking protection. The last US military aircraft took off from Kabul airport one minute before midnight (local time). The US ambassador left the country with the last C-17 aircraft,
According to the White House on Monday, the US and its allies on the evacuation mission have brought around 116,700 people to safety since August 14. There are still tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan who want to flee the Taliban – most of them are Afghans.
West increases pressure on Taliban
The USA and the Western partners have repeatedly emphasized that there should be the possibility of bringing people to safety even after the end of the mission. On Monday, the UN Security Council increased the pressure on the militant Islamist Taliban in Afghanistan to uphold human rights and allow those wishing to leave the country to pass unhindered. The most powerful UN body has rarely passed a resolution to this effect.
US President Joe Biden announced in April that all US soldiers would be unconditionally withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11th at the latest. The date marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks that sparked the US-led military operation in Afghanistan. As a result, NATO also announced that it would end its international mission. In July, Biden moved the full withdrawal date to August 31.
After Biden’s announcement, the Taliban’s triumphant advance accelerated, the militant Islamists took over one provincial capital after another – the Afghan security forces often offered little or no resistance. On August 15, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled abroad, the Taliban marched into the Afghan capital Kabul without a fight and occupied the presidential palace. The US embassy was closed and the diplomats fled to the airport.
The airport in Kabul remained under the control of US troops even after the Taliban came to power. The US flew in 5,000 additional soldiers to secure the evacuations. US commanders coordinated with the Taliban. Dozens of Afghans and 13 US soldiers were killed in an attack by the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) last Thursday in front of the airport. ISIS and the Taliban are enemies with one another.