The last US military plane departed from Kabul airport at 11:59 PM local time on Monday, August 31st, marking the end of a war and the beginning of civil unrest in Afghanistan.
“Tonight’s withdrawal signifies both the end of the military component of the evacuation but also the end of the nearly 20-year mission that began in Afghanistan shortly after Sept. 11, 2001,” said Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, leader of the US Central Command.
Earlier this month, the Taliban gained control of the country amid the American military’s withdrawal efforts. Throughout the botched exit, the Taliban, an Islamist terrorist group, seized American military bases and began to yield its power over thousands of helpless Afghans as they attempted to flee the country.
The youngest Afghan generation never experienced life under Taliban rule, as the organization previously led the country from 1996 until 2001. Since the US entered the country after the September 11th terrorist attacks, Afghans relished freedom, including women regaining rights, which are currently under attack.
Horrific reports of the Taliban persecuting Christians, forcibly marrying young girls, and parading in American military uniforms have surfaced. Meanwhile, the Biden administration scrambled to save American citizens and Afghan refugees while saving face. Last week, 13 US service members were killed in an attack for which ISIS claimed responsibility.
ISIS, the Taliban, and the US government warned of more attacks in the upcoming days, also speaking to the internal fight for power in Afghanistan. Since the beginning, President Biden expressed a negative outlook regarding the evacuation of Americans and Afghans.
The President said, “It’s an incredible operation .. the evacuation of thousands of people from Kabul is going to be hard and painful … There is no way to evacuate this many people without pain and loss.” Despite evacuation efforts allegedly ending, the latest reports suggest over 100 American citizens are still trapped in Afghanistan.
According to the White House, the Taliban claimed they will allow travel outside of Afghanistan after August 31st. “That does not mean we trust what they say, but there is an enormous amount of international leverage,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. “There is a discussion about what our diplomatic presence may look like moving forward. Our current plan is to not have an ongoing diplomatic presence in Afghanistan.”
As the internationally-condemned debacle unfolded, three Republican House members wrote a letter to President Joe Biden announcing that they would be investigating the way his administration handled the exit from Afghanistan.
ARTICLE: ANTOINETTE AHO
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: AIR FORCE MAG
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