Last Flight Out of Afghanistan

last flight

The last flight of US military aircraft left the Kabul airport at midnight Kabul time. Is it the end of the 20 year war in Afghanistan? As the planes flew off into the distance, celebratory gunfire erupted throughout the city. The last troops, the Afghan army members who guarded the airport and their families left Afghanistan, leaving about 600 Americans and Afghan SIV applicants behind.

I’m here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the military mission to evacuation American citizens, third-country nationals, and vulnerable Afghans…There’s a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure. We didn’t get out everyone that we wanted to get out. But I think if we stayed another ten days we wouldn’t have gotten everybody out that we wanted to get out, and there still would have been people who would have been disappointed in that.

CENTCOM Commander Gen McKenzie

The US Embassy will operate out of Qatar for the time being, according to the State Department.

It was not supposed to end this way. The administration’s plan, after declaring its intention to withdraw all combat troops, was to keep the U.S. Embassy in Kabul open, protected by a force of about 650 U.S. troops, including a contingent that would secure the airport along with partner countries.

AP

None of that happened. The Taliban takeover was so swift that it left many flat-footed –even though intelligence agencies warned the Biden administration that things were rapidly going south.

According to the Pentagon, the State Department will now take the reins of attempting to evacuate all who remain. Or it could turn into a nasty hostage situation. General McKenzie stated that the Taliban will have a problem trying to secure the Kabul airport and city. Stories surfaced today that the Taliban had offered the city/airport to the United States as they took over the country – which is highly unlikely, given the history of the Taliban. But it’s done and they won.

It wasn’t leaving Afghanistan that created the problem – it was the way in which the evacuation was conducted. The dumping of Bagram Air Base in the middle of the night without even telling the Afghan commanders they were leaving was egregious. That air field was securable, the Hamid Karzai International Airport was not. Thirteen US service members lost their lives in this fiasco. We’re in for a rough time now with weak leadership at the helm.

*****

Featured photo: screenshot of last US flight out of Afghanistan via twitter WSOC

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