September 29, 2021

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Mission completed: The last American troops withdrew from Afghanistan

Status: 08/31/2021 3:28 am

US mission completed in Afghanistan: US withdraws its last troops from Kabul airport. This marks the end of the longest war in the United States in almost 20 years.

The U.S. military has completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan. “I’m here to complete our withdrawal from Afghanistan,” US General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the U.S. Central Command, said in a video conference with reporters at the Pentagon. The military mission to expel Americans, allies and Afghans seeking protection is coming to an end. The last U.S. military plane took off from Kabul airport a minute before midnight (local time).

U.S. President Joe Biden thanked the military commanders and veterans involved. They would have completed the “dangerous” withdrawal “without losing American lives.” The president has paid tribute to the eviction work over the past two and a half weeks. The soldiers acted with “courage, professionalism and determination” on “the greatest flight in American history”. “Our 20-year military presence in Afghanistan is now over,” Biden said.

More than 122,000 civilians were evacuated

McKenzie said the United States and its allies had expelled more than 122,000 civilians from the country. The Bundeswehr has already completed its expulsion mission on Thursday. There are still tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan who want to leave the Taliban – most of them Afghans.

“We couldn’t evict everyone we wanted to leave,” McKenzie said. You had the opportunity to expel more American citizens until the last moment. But some would not have come to the airport. “If we had stayed ten more days (…) I think we would not have taken out all those who wanted to leave,” the General continued. McKenzie said the military phase of the operation was now over. Now the diplomatic start begins.

“There is no time limit for our commitment”

According to US Secretary of State Anthony Blingen, more than 100 American citizens want to leave the country. Their numbers are thought to be “under 200, probably close to 100”. The US government will continue to search for them. This also applies to American citizens who have family roots in Afghanistan and should not decide to leave the country later. “We will help them get out.”

Blingen said serious efforts were also being made to expel Afghanistan, which had worked closely with the United States. “We came out a lot, but there are still a lot.” Someone will continue to work to help them, Blingen said and promised: “There is no deadline for our commitment to you.” Blingen stressed that the Taliban had promised to allow Afghanistan to leave the country “including those who worked for the Americans.”

There is no longer a diplomatic presence in Kabul

However, the United States has no diplomatic presence in Afghanistan. Blingen said diplomatic operations have been shifted to the Qatari capital, Doha. One now wants to organize diplomatic affairs from Doha, but also to manage humanitarian aid and organize cooperation with allies.

Blingen announced that the United States would continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghans. This aid will come not through the Taliban government, but through independent organizations such as the United Nations or aid organizations.

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The Taliban-led government needs international legitimacy and support, Blingen said. To do this, they must fulfill the promises of freedom of movement, respect fundamental rights and form an inclusive government. They are not allowed to harbor terrorists or retaliate against enemies.

The Taliban are celebrating their departure

The Taliban celebrated with gunfire the final withdrawal of American troops. Taliban senior envoy Anas Haqqani took to Twitter to say, “We have made history again.” The US and NATO’s 20-year occupation of Afghanistan ended tonight. ” . “

Biden moved the withdrawal date forward

In April, US President Joe Biden announced that all U.S. troops would be unconditionally expelled from Afghanistan by September 11. September 11, 2001 marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks that sparked US-led military action in Afghanistan. As a result, NATO announced the end of its international mission.

In July, Biden changed the full withdrawal date to August 31. The president wants to address the public on Tuesday, among other things, to explain why he stuck to his early exit from Afghanistan.

More than 100,000 soldiers are temporarily suspended in the United States. Tens of thousands of soldiers from about 40 NATO allies took part in the operation.