America’s 20 Year War In Afghanistan Comes To An End

The US military has completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan to end a 20-year war, America’s longest.

It started in 2001 with the Taliban in power and ending in 2021 the same way, despite billions of dollars spent trying to prop up and rebuild the country’s military and government.

The withdrawal came after the frantic final days of a mission to evacuate tens of thousands of Americans and Afghans who had helped the US-led war effort — and which left 13 US troops dead in a suicide bombing attack last week.

“I’m here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the military mission to evacuate American citizens,” General Kenneth McKenzie announced Monday.

“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 11th, 2001.”

President Joe Biden will address the nation on Tuesday afternoon, but released a statement on the end of the war.

“The past 17 days have seen our troops execute the largest airlift in U.S. history, evacuating over 120,000 U.S. citizens, citizens of our allies, and Afghan allies of the United States,” President Biden said in the statement shortly after the Pentagon announced the last flight from Afghanistan had taken off.

“They have done it with unmatched courage, professionalism, and resolve. Now, our 20-year military presence in Afghanistan has ended.”

About 122,800 people have been evacuated since the end of July, including about 6,000 U.S. citizens and their families.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that fewer than 200 Americans are still seeking evacuation.

“Our commitment to them and to all Americans in Afghanistan and everywhere in the world continues. The protection and welfare of Americans abroad remain the State Department’s most vital and enduring mission,” Blinken said during an address Monday evening.

“A new chapter of America’s engagement with Afghanistan has begun. It’s one in which we will lead with our diplomacy. The military mission is over. A new diplomatic mission has begun,” Blinken added.

All told, in the 20 years since September 11, 2001, the United States has spent more than $2 trillion on the war in Afghanistan. The war spanned four different presidencies and cost almost 2,500 U.S. service members their lives.

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