After the end of America’s 20-year presence in Afghanistan and longest war, the last US military flight left Kabul airport yesterday leading to uncertainty about the country’s future.
According to officials, the final C17 aircraft left the airport yesterday at approximately midnight local time. Among those on board was the US ambassador. But, many of those entitled to leave were left behind and the US says it will continue a diplomatic mission to assist them.
The evacuation efforts began on 14th August, shortly after the Taliban began taking over the country. The official deadline for the US departure was 31st August.
America’s top military commander in the region, Gen Kenneth McKenzie, said that over 123,000 civilians were evacuated by the military coalition, which is around 7,500 people per day.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken described the evacuation as one of the most challenging, “massive military, diplomatic and humanitarian undertakings”
He added, “A new chapter has begun. The military mission is over. A new diplomatic mission has begun.” He went on to say that the Tabliab needs to fulfill its obligations, including allowing civilians free travel to and from the country and preventing terror groups from gaining power.
What’s next for Afghanistan?
As the last plane departed, celebratory gunfire by the Taliban was heard. This is the end of a controversial military occupation, which has ultimately resulted in the US handing the country back to the Taliban.
After 40 years of war, uncertainty lies ahead for millions of civilians in Afghanistan. It’s not clear what the transition will bring. Many Afghans have left the country and are unsure whether they will ever go back.
For the 38 million that remain, there are questions over the rules the Taliban will impose and whether they will bring back the harsh rules and punishments of their previous time in charge.