Insight Online News
Kabul/Washington, Aug 31 : As the last of the US forces left Afghanistan ending America’s presence after nearly 20 years, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd J Austin said no other military in the world could have accomplished what the US did with its allies in evacuating thousands from Kabul.
The US military helped evacuate 6,000 Americans and more than 123,000 people from Afghanistan, which is now under Taliban control.
Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport was under the control of the US military, and every country, including India, was coordinating evacuation efforts with the US to bring out their citizens.
The final C-17 US cargo plane carrying service members lifted off from the Kabul airport at 3:29 pm US Eastern Time.
As soon as the last US plane left, Taliban men from the Fateh Zwak unit, wielding American supplied weapons, equipment and uniforms, stormed into the Kabul International Airport to secure the airport and inspect the equipment that was left behind.
The last American Soldier to board the C-17 cargo plane was Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the US Army 82nd Airborne Division.
Austin in a statement said the US had completed the military evacuation of civilians and the removal of all forces from Afghanistan.
He expressed sadness at the loss of 13 US troopers in the suicide explosion at Kabul airport on Thursday as well as around 170 others who were killed and wounded by the ISIS-K.
“I hope that all Americans share my pride in all the troops and diplomats who raced to help save lives during those critical days of August. No other military in the world could accomplish what we and our allies and partners did in such a short span of time,” he said.
He expressed gratitude for all those who “laboured so hard and under such difficult circumstances over the past few weeks, including dozens of our diplomats, to move some 6,000 of our fellow citizens out of harm’s way and evacuate more than 123,000 people from Afghanistan.”
He said the end of the operation “also signals the end of America’s longest war. We lost 2,461 troops in that war, and tens of thousands of others suffered wounds, seen and unseen. The scars of combat don’t heal easily, and often never heal at all.”
“For my part, I am proud of the part that we played in this war. I am proud of the men and women who led me. I am proud of those with whom I served and led. And I am proud of the intrepid, resilient families who made what we did possible,” he said in another tweet.
Separately, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the Taliban who now control Afghanistan “need to meet” their commitments and obligations on freedom of travel, respecting basic rights of people, upholding commitments on counterterrorism, and not carry out reprisal violence against those who stayed back, and form an inclusive government.