The last of the US forces stationed in Kabul departed Monday 24 hours ahead of schedule as the Taliban claimed ‘victory’ and stormed the airport moments later.
Biden had pledged to stay in Afghanistan until all US citizens were airlifted to safety, but Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. admitted: ‘We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out.’
President Joe Biden has been slammed for breaking his promise to evacuate all stranded US citizens from Afghanistan
Taliban Badri special force fighters climb up on a vehcile at the airport in Kabul today after the US pulled out all its troops
On August 18, Biden said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos his objective was to get ‘everyone’ out, including Americans and Afghan allies.
He said: ‘That’s what we’re doing now, that’s the path we’re on. And I think we’ll get there. If there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay to get them all out.’
Thiel Capital COO and Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters criticized the withdrawal, saying: ‘I guess Biden changed his mind.’
Meanwhile National Review editor Rich Lowry said: ‘Biden kept his promise to the Taliban to get out of Afghanistan by August 31; he broke his promise to Americans to get them all out before he left.’
Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin said: ‘America needed leadership and all Biden gave us was lies.
Biden had pledged to stay in Afghanistan until all US citizens were airlifted to safety
‘He turned his back on Americans and our allies still stranded in Afghanistan. What happened to no man left behind?
‘This Administration should be held accountable for this complete and utter failure.’
After the withdrawal, the Army released an image of the last U.S. soldier to leave Afghanistan.
The XVIII Airborne Corps, whose forces go by the Sky Dragons, were among the last to step off Afghan soil as the total withdrawal of U.S. forces concluded Monday ahead of the August 31 deadline.
‘In awe of our Sky Dragon Soldiers,’ the XVIII Airborne Corps tweeted along with an nightvision image of Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, stepping foot onto the aircraft en route out of Kabul.
A Taliban fighter sits in the cockpit of an Afghan Air Force aircraft at the airport in Kabul
The XVIII Airborne Corps released an image Monday of the last U.S. soldier to leave Afghanistan – Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division
The 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions of the Army, among others, fall under the command of XVIII Airborne Corps.
‘This was an incredibly tough, pressurized mission filled with multiple complexities, with active threats the entire time. Our troops displayed grit, discipline and empathy,’ the corps wrote in its tweet.
It added: ‘Below is a picture of the last Soldier to leave Afghanistan.’
Just seconds after the last flight took off at 11.59pm local time, the Taliban overran the airport, boarded stranded planes and footage emerged on social media of fighters examining Chinook helicopters left behind by U.S. troops, as up to 200 U.S. citizens remain in Afghanistan.
Taliban fighters stand guard at the Hamid Karzai International Airport after US troops departed following a 20-year campaign in Afghanistan
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid (centre) speaks to the media in the shadow of a plane which the terror group have seized
Taliban fighters sit in the cockpit of an Afghan Air Force aircraft at the airport in Kabul in the hours following the US departure
US forces have abandoned as much as 70 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, 27 Humvees and 73 aircraft in Afghanistan, although much of the equipment has been disabled.
‘The last five aircraft have left, it’s over,’ Hemad Sherzad, a Taliban fighter stationed at Kabul’s international airport, told the Associated Press.
‘I cannot express my happiness in words… Our 20 years of sacrifice worked.’
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters hours later on the runway of the airport: ‘Congratulations to Afghanistan… this victory belongs to us all.
Mujahid said the Taliban’s victory was a ‘lesson for other invaders’.