KABUL: The last US Military aircraft C17 took off from Kabul airport soil on Tuesday midnight with US ambassadors on board. Officials said that the mission to evacuate those who couldn’t leave before the deadline will continue like usual. Taliban militants celebrated with gunfire after C17 took off.
This event marks the end of 20 years of American presence in Afghanistan, which fell back in the hand of the same Islamist militants which America was looking to root off when its troops first entered in 2001.
US and alliance aircraft moved more than 123,000 civilians, said Gen Kenneth McKenzie who is a top American Military Commander posted in the region.
US secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that this was one of the most challenging missions of diplomatic and humanitarian nature for the US.
Blinken said that now the responsibility is on the Taliban to ensure peace, earn legitimacy, allow citizens to move freely, protect the rights of all afghans including women and stop terror groups from gaining a stronghold.
President Joe Biden thanked all those who were involved in the 17-day long evacuation process and will later address the nation. Taliban fighters took over Kabul airport facilities after the pullout, some fighters even dressed up in discarded military uniforms and equipment.
A Los Angles Times photojournalist present there said that the Taliban fighters were already organizing supplies, checking equipment that was left behind, and securing the perimeter after the pullout.