Authors: KATHY GANNON and TAMEEM AKHGAR.
Kabul, Afghanistan (Associated Press). At midnight Monday, Taliban fighters saw the last American plane fly over Afghanistan. They then flew into the air to celebrate victory after a 20 year rebellion that has made the world stronger. A large army drove out a country. One of the most poor countries.
The American cargo plane’s departure marked the end of mass airlifts. Tens of thousands fled Afghanistan in fear of Taliban rule.
“The last five aircraft have all left, it’s over!” Hemad Sherzad was a Taliban fighter stationed in Kabul International Airport. “I can’t put my happiness into words. Our 20 years of sacrifice paid off.”
General Frank Mackenzie of the U.S. Central Command announced in Washington that the United States had ended the longest war and evacuated all its troops. He stated that the last planes left Kabul Airport at 3 :29 p.m. Eastern Time, just before midnight Monday. Minutes in Kabul
He said, “We didn’t let anyone out who we wanted to go,”
The United States ended their 20-year war against the Taliban and retook power with the withdrawal of its last force. Many Afghans continue to fear their rule and further instability. Despite the Taliban’s promise to restore peace and security, there are still sporadic reports of killings and other abuses in areas controlled by the Taliban.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid earlier said that U.S. troops had left Kabul airport and that our country has achieved complete independence.
Soon after 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda orchestrated the invasion after it sought refuge under the Taliban. Within a matter of weeks, the Taliban were removed from power and Osama Bin Laden and other high-ranking al-Qaeda leaders were expelled.
After decades of wars, the United States and its allies began an ambitious effort to rebuild Afghanistan. They invested billions in Western-style government, security forces, and infrastructure. Women are mostly restricted to their homes under the Taliban’s strict rule. They have access to education and can play an important role within the public sphere.
However, the Taliban did not disappear.
As the United States shifted its focus to another conflict in Iraq and the Afghan government was in turmoil, the Taliban began regrouping in the countryside and Pakistan. They have taken control of most of Afghanistan’s rural areas and attacked Afghan security forces nearly daily in recent years.
In February 2020, the Trump administration signed a peace accord with the Taliban, which allowed for the withdrawal of troops. Despite the Taliban’s rapid blitz across the country earlier this month, President Joe Biden extended the deadline from May to August and continued to withdraw troops.