The United States on Aug. 30 completed its military withdrawal from Afghanistan after a huge and at times chaotic airlift that cost the lives of 13 U.S. troops and left behind thousands of Afghans and hundreds of Americans still seeking an escape from Taliban rule.
For the first time since the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S. plunged the country into war, not a “single service member” from the U.S. military was in Afghanistan, the Pentagon told reporters.
“Heartbreak” was the word that U.S. Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie used as he described emotions surrounding the U.S. departure from its longest war after efforts by U.S. troops to evacuate American citizens and vulnerable Afghans.
“There’s a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure. We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out,” said McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command.
More than 122,000 people have been flown out of Kabul since Aug. 14, the day before the Taliban — which harbored the al-Qaida militant group behind the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington — regained control of the country.
Having failed to anticipate the Taliban would prevail so quickly, Washington and its NATO allies were forced into a hasty exit, leaving behind thousands of Afghans who helped them and may have qualified for evacuation, as well as others who feel at risk. (Reuters)