The United States ended its longest war on Monday, declared 20 years ago in response to the 9/11 attacks. After 4:30 p.m. local time in Washington, the general at the head of the Central Command of the Pentagon, Kenneth McKenzie, appeared and said: “I am here to announce the completion of the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of our military mission. The last C-17 aircraft departed a few minutes before midnight on Tuesday the 31st in Afghanistan, that is, on August 30 at 3:29 PM EDT.
In their last hours in that country, the US Armed Forces rushed to evacuate refugees and diplomats from Afghanistan, in addition to the last hundreds of US civilians who had asked to leave before the full withdrawal. At first, Joe Biden said that the withdrawal would be on September 11, but he anticipated it.
After the hasty departure, the Taliban have given assurances to the international community that they will now allow those who want to leave the country to do so, as the White House and its allies have revealed in a statement, but The United Nations has warned of an imminent humanitarian crisis without precedents.
Since the Taliban returned to power in mid-August, the US has extracted some 120,000 people from Afghanistan in the largest airlift in American war history.
An attack by Daesh (Islamic State) has killed 170 civilians and thirteen US Marine Corps soldiers, and the US has responded with two attacks with missiles launched from unmanned aircraft, known as “drones.” From There are approximately 6,000 U.S. citizens among those evacuated. Of the rest, the White House expects that some 50,000 Afghans who have worked for the US armed forces in the 20 years of war will be welcomed as refugees within the US Humanitarian organizations estimate that more than 200,000 Afghans who helped remain to their fate. to American troops in the two decades of war.
The withdrawal has become the most serious crisis for Joe Biden, who in just one month has lost 5% of his popularity rating. President’s approval has plummeted from 52% to 47% based on an average of surveys conducted by FiveThirtyEight. He’s still more popular than Donald Trump at this point in his term, but less than Barack Obama.
For its part, the Pentagon tried to shield the Kabul airport in recent hours. At its peak, there have been 5,800 uniformed Americans deployed to the airport in the Afghan capital.
On Monday, the US Armed Forces reported that hours earlier a missile defense system had detected an attack with five projectiles and had neutralized them, preventing another massacre. President Biden is informed daily of the evacuation and these security threats, according to the White House.
On Sunday the president received the coffins of the soldiers killed in Kabul at the Dover air base. Several relatives were absent in protest, and they criticized the haste of the withdrawal and the errors that in their understanding facilitated the deadly attack by the Islamic State.
The White House spokeswoman declined on Monday to give details of that meeting of Biden with the families of the deceased soldiers. He said that the president is very affected by those deaths but that he has no regrets for ordering a withdrawal from Afghanistan. “The president stands by his decision to return home the men and women on the ground in Afghanistan, because the alternative would be to return tens of thousands or at least thousands of soldiers there, to put themselves in danger to fight for something that the The Afghan Army itself does not fight, ”Jen Psaki told a press conference yesterday. The Afghan army surrendered to the Taliban and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country hours after they reached Kabul.
Nearly 2,500 American soldiers, in addition to 43,000 civilians, have died in this two-decade mission, according to a study by Brown University. The Pentagon confirmed yesterday that departure will be complete when the sun rises on September 1, even if there are some US citizens left on the ground.
The Biden Administration has said, including the president himself, that there are several Americans who do not want to leave the country, even though the Taliban have returned to power. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said yesterday at a press conference that if these citizens want to leave after the military withdrawal, they will be assisted through diplomatic means. “There will no longer be military support in these efforts,” Kirby warned.
It is not yet clear whether Washington will have diplomatic relations with the Taliban. For now, all the US diplomats have left Kabul, but the truth is that there has been bilateral dialogue in the past months.
The United Nations yesterday asked the international community to maintain pressure on Islamists once the US withdrawal ends this week. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, “There are still millions of people in need of the international community to act.”
For the rest, the coalition to combat Daesh (Islamic State), led by the US, issued a statement yesterday in which it states that it will continue to fight the jihadists after the withdrawal from Afghanistan. According to the members, they will use “military, intelligence, diplomatic, economic and law enforcement power to ensure the defeat of this brutal terrorist organization” after the withdrawal culminated yesterday.