By Aziza Yaqub | ZimEye | The United States completed the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan on August 30, a day ahead of schedule, as the final flight left Kabul last Monday night.
As America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan came to a closure, celebratory gunfire could be heard across the city of Kabul with Afghanistan left in the Taliban’s hands and its fate unclear.
On August 26, a series of suicide attacks killed as many as 180 people, including 13 American troops, two British nationals and child lost their lives in the deadliest attack since February 2020.
General McKenzie said they flew more than 12,000 people from Afghanistan since July, but not as many as hoped, admitting “we did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out”.
He added: “Tonight’s withdrawal signifies 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 September 11 2001.”
Meanwhile, it was said the UK has evacuated more than 15,000 people since August.
Chief of joint operations, Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key told the BBC, “I think we always knew that somewhere we would fall just short, so this isn’t a moment of celebration for us at all.”
He added: “This is a moment to mark a tremendous international effort to evacuate as many people as we could in the time available. That sense of sadness that we haven’t done all we would have wished.”
In a separate press conference at the end of August, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters, the Taliban’s victory was a “lesson for other invaders… and congratulations to Afghanistan… this victory belongs to us all.”
He added: “We want to have good relations with the US and the world. We welcome good diplomatic relations with them all.”
Last Monday night’s pull-out left behind thousands of Afghans who are Green Card holders, British, American and foreign citizens in the new Taliban regime.
Despite the Taliban’s assurances of women rights, peace and amnesty, there are fears that the group will reinstate their violent form of Sharia law.
General McKenzie told reporters his government had “brought Osama Bin Laden to a just end, along with many of his al Qaeda co-conspirators”, and that it was “not a cheap mission.”
As the US withdrawal from Afghanistan came to an end last Monday night, the fate and future of Afghanistan fell onto the Taliban’s hands.
Full Scale Invasion.
All this happened just as the then Afghan President Ashraf Ghani sounded out to the US that a full scale invasion was underway so military assistance was still needed. Ghani had told US president Joe Biden via phone: “Mr. President, we are facing a full-scale invasion, composed of Taliban, full Pakistani planning and logistical support, and at least 10-15,000 international terrorists, predominantly Pakistanis thrown into this, so that dimension needs to be taken account of.”