WASHINGTON: The US army introduced the departure of the final US troops from Afghanistan Monday, concluding a 20-year battle that ended with the Taliban seizing management of the nation.

“I am right here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the tip of the army mission to evacuate Americans,” mentioned Common Kenneth McKenzie, the pinnacle of the US Central Command.

The final flight, a big C-17 army transport, took off from Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport one minute earlier than midnight Kabul time, McKenzie mentioned.

On board had been US troops, their commander, and US Ambassador Ross Wilson, forsaking a shuttered embassy that after buzzed with tons of of diplomats.

It got here after an airlift that had evacuated round 123,000 international nationals and Afghans fleeing the ultra-conservative Taliban.

The ultimate flight happened below heavy safety following two assaults on the two-week evacuation operation by Islamic State-Khorasan — one a suicide bombing that left greater than 100 individuals lifeless, together with 13 US troops.

Earlier this yr, US President Joe Biden set a deadline of August 31 for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.

Most of the Afghans who had been evacuated had labored for the US army and embassy and different nations within the worldwide coalition.

McKenzie mentioned the airlift ended about 12 hours earlier than the ultimate flight and that a number of hundred US residents remained behind.

“There’s plenty of heartbreak related to this departure. We didn’t get all people out that we needed to get out,” mentioned McKenzie.

“However I feel if we might stayed one other 10 days, we would not have gotten all people out that we needed to get out.”

“There have been no evacuees left on the airport,” he added.

He mentioned the Taliban had been “very useful and helpful” in conducting the evacuation and conserving safety across the airport, regardless of the deep enmity between the 2 sides.

“The Taliban have been very pragmatic and really businesslike as we now have approached this withdrawal,” he mentioned.

US troops led a NATO coalition to eject the Taliban from energy in 2001 after the September 11, 2001 assaults on the US by Al-Qaeda, which was based mostly in Afghanistan and guarded by the Taliban.

The sound of gunfire was heard throughout Kabul after the US army confirmed their exit to finish the 20-year warfare.

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