The last U.S. military aircraft has left Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport according to Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command, in a video conference that just concluded, marking the end of America’s longest war, a war that sadly took the lives of nearly 2,500 U.S. troops.
It closes a chapter in U.S. military history “likely to be remembered for colossal failures, unfulfilled promises and a frantic final exit that cost the lives of more than 180 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members, some barely older than the war.”
“I’m here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Gen. McKenzie said. “The last C-17 lifted off from Hamad Karzai International Airport on August 30, this afternoon, at 3:29 p.m., East Coast time. And the last manned aircraft is now clear of the airspace above Afghanistan.”
The departure of the U.S. military aircraft also marks the end of “the largest airlift that the U.S. military has conducted”, an airlift that flew out well over 122,000 people on more than 700 flights – the vast majority in the last 16 days.
Gen. McKenzie said the withdrawal signified “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 9/11.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.