The United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan and ended a 20-year invasion

The Pentagon announced on Monday the takeoff of the last US military plane from Kabul, ending to the evacuation of all civilians and all troops that had remained in Afghanistan so far and 20 years of invasion. The flight took off from Hamid Karzai International Airport one minute before midnight Kabul time. President Joe Biden had set August 31 as the deadline for withdrawal. From the Pentagon they regretted not being able to evacuate as many people from Afghanistan as they wanted. The longest war in American history culminated in a humiliating defeat for the First Power and its Western allies. and sparked several criticisms against Biden.

Minutes after the closure of the US operation, shots were heard in celebration in Kabul. The Afghan capital woke up on Monday with the launch of several rockets at the airport, shot from the rear of a vehicle, in an attack that was vindicated hours later by the Afghan branch of the jihadist group Islamic State (ISIS-K).

20 years of military intervention

I am here to announce the culmination of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the mission to evacuate US citizens, third-country nationals and vulnerable Afghans, “said the head of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), Frank McKenzie. The general explained that the last US military plane, a C-17, took off from the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul this Monday at 3:29 p.m. from the east coast of the United States. On that last flight was the acting US ambassador, Ross Wilson, and the commander of the US military forces on Afghan soil, General Chris Donahue.

“It has not been a cheap mission. The cost has been 2,461 US soldiers and civilians killed and more than 20,000 wounded.”, remarked McKenzie, who explained that since last August 14, a day before the Taliban took Kabul, more than 79 thousand civilians were evacuated on United States military flights, including six thousand Americans. Along with the international coalition flights, the figure rises to more than 123 thousand civilians evacuated. These risky operations were mourned by a suicide attack perpetrated on August 26 by ISIS-K that caused more than 170 deaths, including 13 US military personnel.

“We did not evacuate everyone we wanted to evacuate”McKenzie lamented in a telematic conference with the Pentagon, specifying that the evacuations were completed “about 12 hours” before the final withdrawal, but that US forces on the ground were ready to remove from the country anyone who might have reached the airport “until the last minute”.

The American party was celebrated with shots in Kabul, as reported by witnesses. “We have made history. The twenty-year occupation of Afghanistan by the United States and NATO ended tonight.”, declared Anas haqqani, responsible for the Taliban movement on Twitter. “I am very happy after 20 years of jihad, sacrifices and difficulties, to have the satisfaction of seeing these historical moments,” he added.

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US forces entered Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 to remove the Taliban from power due to their refusal to hand over Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden following the September 11 attacks. Two decades later, the Taliban benefited from the progressive US withdrawal in recent months and the collapse of the Afghan security forces to enter Kabul on August 15 and retake power after a rapid military offensive anticipated by Washington.

Despite completing the withdrawal, McKenzie assured this Monday that The United States will “always” reserve the right to attack Al Qaeda targets or ISIS if necessary.

Unhcr anticipates a major humanitarian crisis

The truth is that the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan could get even worse after the end of the evacuations. In a document released this Monday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Unhcr) applauded the evacuation efforts that saved thousands of lives but in turn noted that some 39 million people will remain in Afghanistan when foreign missions leave.

“The air evacuation of Kabul will end and the tragedy that has unfolded will no longer be so visible. However, it will remain a daily reality for millions of Afghans. A much larger humanitarian crisis is just beginning“The agency warned. According to the UN Refugee Office, many Afghans will be forced to seek safety and better living conditions outside their country. UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Kelly Clements warned on Friday that , in the worst case scenario, up to 515,000 refugees could flee Afghanistan this year.

One of the few good news these days for Afghans was the arrival in the country of a plane with medical aid from the World Health Organization (WHO), the first since Afghanistan is in the hands of the Taliban. WHO indicated that the plane, provided by the Pakistani government, arrived in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif from Dubai with 12.5 tons of medicines and medical supplies on board.

New ISIS-K attacks

In the early hours of Monday, Kabul suffered new attacks that targeted the airport. Although no fatalities were reported, some images that were disseminated on social media and local television channels showed damage from the explosions that affected at least one home and one vehicle. Residents near the airport confirmed that they heard the sound of the missile defense system activation and that they saw projectiles falling from the sky, indicating that at least one rocket was intercepted.

The attacks took place after the city suffered two other explosions on Sunday, one caused by the launch of a US drone at a vehicle carrying suspected ISIS-K members and another by a rocket hitting a house. The attack on the house caused at least ten deaths and five injuries, mostly children.

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