- The US withdrawal from Afghanistan is complete, and its 20-year existence ends
- Taliban: Our country is now completely independent
09.41 – Taliban dismantle checkpoints at Kabul airport
The Taliban have dismantled almost all checkpoints on the road to Kabul airport. The last US soldier boarded the plane there on Monday evening, after which the extremists took over the airport.
Taliban leaders have now made a triumphant visit to the formerly heavily guarded airport. Surrounded by fighters wearing special forces equipment, they searched wrecked American helicopters.
The photos were taken by an elite Taliban unit called Badri 313 at the airport. The fighters displayed American rifles and the white Taliban banner.
Before leaving, the Americans rendered useless dozens of armored vehicles and aircraft. Cockpit windows were smashed and tires shot. The C-RAM air defense system was also left behind.
The airport has been the epicenter of a chaotic evacuation by Western countries for the past two weeks. Thousands of people gathered in hopes of getting a place on an evacuation flight. Many other people did not cross checkpoints set up by the Taliban in the area.
Agence France-Presse reported that there was only one checkpoint left on the road to the airport on Tuesday. The Taliban guards are in a great mood there. They shake hands with passing motorists and passengers.
9.06 – “Several hundred” Britons in Afghanistan
After the departure of the Western soldiers, there are still “several hundred” British in Afghanistan. So said Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, who told Sky News that about 5,000 other citizens had been evacuated.
The United Kingdom and other Western countries have carried out a chaotic evacuation of the airport in the Afghan capital, Kabul, over the past two weeks. This has now come to an end. The last US soldier boarded the plane on Monday evening. Then the Taliban captured the airport.
In the last days of the evacuation, another bloody attack occurred at the entrance to the airport, the monastery gate. The news site Politico wrote that despite fears of an attack, the gate was kept open for longer because the British were still evacuating people.
The bombing killed nearly 200 people, including 13 American soldiers. Raab told Sky News that the UK had not put any pressure to keep the entrance open. “This is simply not true.”
8.01 – The United States distributes a photo of the last soldier to leave Kabul
The US military has released a photo of the last US soldier to leave the Afghan capital, Kabul. It’s Major General Chris Donahue.
The photo shows Donahoe on a C-17 transport plane. “The last American soldier to leave Afghanistan,” read the comment on the Twitter account of the Central Command of the Armed Forces.
The United States completed its withdrawal from Kabul on Monday night. This ended 20 years of Western military presence in the country where the fundamentalist Taliban movement took power more than two weeks ago.
7.01 – Taliban calls for US withdrawal a victory for all Afghans
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid congratulated the Afghan people on the withdrawal of US forces from the country on Tuesday morning. “This victory is for all of us,” he told a news conference at the airport in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Mujahid described American immigration as an “important lesson for other invading forces” and for the world.
A Taliban spokesman spoke hours after the last Americans left. He declared that Afghanistan is now a “free and sovereign country”. We want to maintain good relations with the United States and the world. We welcome good diplomatic relations with everyone.”
After the Americans left, the Taliban fighters entered the airport grounds. They shot into the air to celebrate their victory. The fundamentalists have asked Turkey, a NATO member, for technical assistance to keep the important airport running, but they want to do the security themselves.
The Turkish authorities have not yet agreed to the Taliban’s proposal. It is also unclear which airlines will operate scheduled flights to Kabul now that the Taliban have returned to power there.
6.35 – Americans leave dozens of vehicles at Kabul airport
General Kenneth Mackenzie.
Ⓒ ANP / HH
The US military left dozens of planes and vehicles at Kabul airport as it departed. After announcing the complete withdrawal from Afghanistan, General Kenneth McKenzie said the anti-aircraft guns used on Monday to repel a missile attack by the Islamic State had been abandoned.
According to McKenzie, 73 planes and helicopters, 27 Humvees and about 70 armored fighting vehicles are involved, at a cost of up to $1 million. He emphasized that all equipment was “demilitarised” or disabled. “No one will use it again,” the general said.
The planes were already at the airport when the Americans began the evacuation two weeks ago and had already been disabled.
6.30 – Blinken: A new chapter in US-Afghanistan relations
According to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, the United States has “started a new chapter” in Afghanistan. Hours after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan was completed on Monday night, Blinken said his country would now lead a “new diplomatic mission.”
The withdrawal marks the end of the 20-year US military presence in Afghanistan.
The military mission is over. “A new diplomatic mission has begun. He did not rule out cooperation with a Taliban-led government in Kabul,” Blinken said. “If we can work with a new Afghan government in a way that protects our national interest, then we will.”
The United States no longer has an embassy in Afghanistan. Diplomatic relations will be maintained from the Embassy in Doha, Qatar.
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