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The last U.S. aircraft in Afghanistan leaves the country. Photo: Getty Images
The last U.S. aircraft in Afghanistan leaves the country. Photo: Getty Images

The last U.S. aircraft leaves Kabul

The last U.S. aircraft took off from Kabul airport on Monday, Aug. 30 fulfilling the withdrawal promise made by President Joe Biden. 

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On Monday, Aug. 30, the head of the U.S. Central Command, General Kenneth F. McKenzie, announced that the last U.S. plane took off from Kabul airport to Washington. This fulfills President Joe Biden's promise to leave Afghanistan by Aug. 31. 
 
After the last U.S. aircraft took off from Kabul, sounds of celebratory gunfire began to be heard from several known Taliban checkpoints, as well as cheers from fighters in the green zone.
 
"The last C-17 aircraft took off from Kabul airport on Aug. 30 at 19H29 GMT," Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said in a news conference.
 
According to U.S. Central Command, the last to board the flight were the commander of U.S. military forces on the ground in Afghanistan and Washington's ambassador. 
 
Anas Haqqani, head of the Islamist movement, celebrated the completed evacuation on Twitter.
 
"We have made history. The twenty years of occupation of Afghanistan by the U.S. and NATO came to an end tonight." Haqqani also added that he was very happy to see this historic moment "after 20 years of jihad, sacrifices and hardships."
 
Hundreds of people were waiting outside the airport perimeter, but the Taliban guarding the area kept them at a significant distance, The New York Times reported. In addition, the Taliban reinforced their security cordon around the airport, keeping away a large number of people who wanted to flee.
 
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said that 300 Americans were still waiting to be evacuated from Kabul. 
 
According to the White House, approximately 116,700 people have been evacuated from Kabul since Aug. 14, and that includes evacuees from countries other than the United States.
 
Airport drone attack
Following the suicide bombing of the Kabul airport, which killed at least 170 people, including 13 U.S. soldiers, Biden said he would "pursue" and "make those responsible pay." 
 
Following that retaliatory comments, the Pentagon announced on Saturday, Aug. 28 that two top Islamic State group targets, an organizer and an operator, were killed in a U.S.-executed drone strike in Afghanistan. 
 
"The drone strike occurred in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province. Early indications are that we killed the target," said Capt. Bill Urban.
 
Latest evacuations
In addition to the United States, other countries that have also concluded their operations in recent days include the United Kingdom, France and Spain. 
 
The State Department issued a statement on Aug. 28 signed by nearly 100 countries, as well as NATO and the European Union, saying they had received "assurances" from the Taliban that people with documentation would be able to leave once U.S. troops leave Kabul and pledged to continue to issue the necessary documents for those people to leave Afghanistan after they assume full control of the airport. 
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