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Senin, 30 Agustus 2021

United States completes withdrawal from Afghanistan after final plane leaves Kabul - ABC News

The United States says its war in Afghanistan is over, after the last plane carrying US troops left Kabul airport this morning.

General Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, confirmed the last flight left Hamid Karzai International Airport just before President Joe Biden's deadline for completing the exit.

General McKenzie said US troops did not evacuate everyone they wanted out of Afghanistan, and the number of US civilians left behind was in the low hundreds.

"There's a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure. We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out," he said.

"But I think if we'd stayed another 10 days, we wouldn't have gotten everybody out."

General McKenzie said the plane left at 3:29pm Washington DC time.

Kabul is eight and a half hours ahead of Washington DC, meaning the final flight left at 11:59pm on August 30, one minute before the Mr Biden's August 31 deadline. 

Thousands of troops had spent two weeks protecting a hurried and risky airlift of tens of thousands of Afghans, Americans, Australians and others seeking to escape a country once again ruled by Taliban militants.

The airport had become a US-controlled island, the last stand in a 20-year war that claimed more than 2,400 American lives.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement that the airport was now without air traffic control services.

The closing hours of the evacuation were marked by extraordinary drama.

American troops faced the daunting task of getting final evacuees onto planes while also getting themselves and some of their equipment out, even as they monitored repeated threats — and at least two actual attacks — by the Islamic State group's Afghan affiliate ISIS-K.

A suicide bombing on August 26 killed 13 American service members and around 169 Afghans.

"The threat to our forces, particularly from ISIS-K was very real and tragically resulted in the loss of 13 service members and dozens of Afghan civilians," General McKenzie said.

The final pullout fulfilled Mr Biden's pledge to end what he called a "forever war" that began in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Taliban spokesman declares 'complete independence' for Afghanistan

Gun fire lights up the night sky over Kabul.
Celebratory gunfires lighting up the night sky in Kabul after the last US aircraft left Afghanistan. (

AFP

)

Taliban fighters watching the last US plane leave Afghanistan fired their guns in celebration.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf said Afghanistan was now an independent country.

"The last US soldier has left Kabul airport and our country gained complete independence," Al Jazeera TV reported him as saying.

A Taliban fighter stationed at the airport in Kabul, Hemad Sherzad, said the two-decade war which saw the group lose power had "worked".

"The last five aircraft have left, it's over," he said, according to the Associated Press.

"I cannot express my happiness in words.

"Our 20 years of sacrifice worked."

The departure of the cargo planes marked the end of a massive airlift in which tens of thousands of people fled Afghanistan, fearful of the return of Taliban rule after the militant group, which ruled from 1996 to 2001, took over most of the country and rolled into the capital earlier this month.

Many Afghans remain fearful of the Taliban or further instability, and there have been sporadic reports of killings and other abuses in areas under Taliban control despite pledges to restore peace and security.

Wires/ABC

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2021-08-30 20:51:08Z
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