US troops exit: This army general is the last American soldier to leave Afghanistan
America's longest war came to an end on Monday as the last troops left Afghanistan after 20 years of military operations. Chris Donahue, the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, was the last American soldier to step off Afghan soil as the C-17 Globemaster III left Kabul airport. "The last American soldier to leave Afghanistan: Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division boards on US Air Force C-17 on August 30th, 2021, ending the US mission in Kabul," the department of defense wrote on Twitter while sharing a picture of the soldier.
The flight also carried Ross Wilson, ambassador to Afghanistan, back home as the complete withdrawal of US troops came just before the end of an August 31 deadline set by President Joe Biden to call time on America's longest war -- one that ultimately claimed the lives of more than 2,400 US service members.
American forces entered Afghanistan in 2001 in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks for anti-terror operations, ousting the Taliban. Over the next years, the American forces remained in the country and took on nation-building tasks by providing financial aid, training Afghan forces against the insurgents.
However, Afghanistan returned to Taliban rule on August 15 even as foreign forces started withdrawing from the country as per the peace deal agreed between the US and the hardline Islamist group. In the February 2020 agreement, Washington committed to withdrawing its forces, while the Taliban agreed to not attack American troops in the meantime.
Earlier in the day, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said the US will continue its provide humanitarian aid to the war-torn country through independent organisations like the United Nations agencies and NGOs.
Following US troops withdrawal, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid has also said the last American soldier left Kabul airport at 9pm Afghan time. "The last American soldier left Kabul airport at 9pm Afghan time and our country gained full independence, Alhamdulillah Walmana," he tweeted.
Anas Haqqani, another senior Taliban official, also rejoiced at the occasion and said he was "proud" to witness "these historic moments".