(Kabul) The last American soldiers have left Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced on Monday and, after the longest war in US history, left the country to the Taliban, their 20-year-old enemy.
Posted on Aug 29, 2021 at 8:59 pm Updated Aug 30, 2021 at 4:48 pm
David FOX Agence France-Presse
“The last C-17 aircraft took off from Kabul Airport on August 30,” at 3:29 pm EDT, General Kenneth McKenzie said at a news conference.
“When the military evacuations are completed, the diplomatic mission will continue to ensure that more US citizens and eligible Afghans want to leave,” added the US general.
Gunfire rang out in Kabul early Tuesday after the US military confirmed its withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war. A Taliban official told AFP that the group had written a page in the story.
As of August 14, United States and its allies aircraft have evacuated more than 123,000 civilians from Hami Karzai International Airport over 18 days, General McKenzie also said.
Departure one day earlier
This departure takes place because, according to the Pentagon, the terrorist threat against Kabul airport, which is still being attacked by rockets from the Islamic State Group on Monday, remains very high. The American troops should not leave until tomorrow after 20 years of presence there.
President Joe Biden had set Tuesday as the deadline for the withdrawal of the last American troops from Afghanistan, where they entered in 2001 after the Taliban fell after the 9/11 attacks.
Two decades later, the Taliban used the gradual withdrawal of the Americans in recent months and the collapse of the Afghan security forces to invade Kabul on August 15 after a lightning-fast military offensive and regain power.
The return of Islamists to power has forced Westerners to hastily evacuate their nationals and Afghans from Kabul airport, who may face reprisals for working for foreign forces.
This gigantic airlift, which began on August 14 and ends on Tuesday, made it possible to exfiltrate 122,000 people on Monday, according to the latest figures from the Pentagon.
Tensions over the final phase of evacuation operations have peaked since Thursday’s attack near the airport alleged by the Islamic State in Khorasan (IS-K), which left more than a hundred dead, including 13 American soldiers .
“We are at a particularly dangerous time,” warned Pentagon spokesman John Kirby. “The threats are still real, timely, and often specific. ”
On Monday, IS-K claimed to have fired six rockets at the airport, which did not affect evacuation operations, which continued “without interruption,” according to the White House. A Taliban official at the scene said the missiles were stopped by the airport’s anti-missile defense system.
An AFP photographer snapped a photo of a charred car that was being used to fire rockets, nearly two kilometers from the airport. Whether it was destroyed by a missile attack or a drone attack could not be determined.
“The sound of rockets flying over our house woke us up. We were scared, ”said AFP Abdullah, who lives near the place where the shooting started.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support videos
Joe Biden, under fire for handling the crisis, received the remains of the 13 soldiers killed on Thursday at Dover Military Base, Delaware, on Sunday.
The United States has 2,500 deaths and a bill of more than $ 2 trillion in 20 years. They emerged from this war, the longest in their history, with an image tarnished even more by their inability to predict the speed of the Taliban’s victory and their evacuation management.
Mr Biden justified his decision to withdraw American troops on the grounds that he refused to prolong this war and that their mission was fulfilled with the death of bin Laden, who was killed in 2011 by American special forces in Pakistan.
However, many analysts fear that the return of the Taliban to power could shake up jihadist groups like IS, which is responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks in Afghanistan in recent years, or al-Qaeda.
The Taliban’s main spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said in an interview with AFP that the IS attacks should stop once the Americans have withdrawn, otherwise the new regime will “deal with them.”
In retaliation for Thursday’s attack, the US carried out a drone attack on Saturday in eastern Afghanistan, killing two “senior” members of the Afghan branch of ISIS and injuring a third.
Same sex classes
They also destroyed a vehicle loaded with explosives on Sunday in order to suppress “an imminent threat” from IS-K to the airport. But a house nearby was also hit, said a Taliban spokesman.
Aimal Ahmadi counted ten dead in his family. “My brother and his four children were killed. I lost my youngest daughter, nephew and niece, ”he told AFP
“We know that there were large and powerful explosions as a result of the destruction of the vehicle, indicating the presence of a large amount of explosive material inside, which may have caused additional losses,” he said. Centcom) Sunday evening. “We continue to investigate.”
Monday is marked by intense diplomatic activity. Washington is bringing its “key partners” (France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, Turkey, Qatar, European Union and NATO) together via video conference to discuss “a concerted approach” for the future beyond August 31.
A meeting of the permanent members of the Security Council was also held. A resolution was passed that stipulates the Taliban’s “obligations” for the “safe” exit of those who want to leave Afghanistan.
The Taliban have promised to release all foreigners and Afghan nationals with settlement permits after Tuesday.
Since their return to power, the Islamists have tried to create an image of openness and moderation that nonetheless leaves many countries and observers skeptical.
During their previous takeover between 1996 and 2001, they had enforced an ultra-rigorous version of Islamic law. Women could neither work nor study, thieves and murderers were severely punished.
Acting higher education minister of the Taliban government, Abdul Baqi Hazzani, said on Sunday that Afghan women could study at the university, but in same-sex classes.
The supreme leader of the Taliban, Hibatullah Akhundzada, who has never appeared in public, is in Kandahar (South), where he has lived “from the beginning,” said his movement on Sunday that he would “soon appear in public.”
A plane with 12.5 tons of medicines and medical supplies from the World Health Organization (WHO) landed in Afghanistan on Monday, the first since the Taliban came to power.