As the last 5 U.S. subject transport craft lifted disconnected retired of Afghanistan, they near down up to 200 Americans and thousands of hopeless Afghans who couldn't get retired and present indispensable trust connected the Taliban to let their departure.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. volition proceed to effort to get Americans and Afghans retired of the country, and volition enactment with Afghanistan’s neighbors to unafraid their departure either implicit onshore oregon by charter formation erstwhile the Kabul airdrome reopens.
“We person nary illusion that immoderate of this volition beryllium easy, oregon rapid,” said Blinken, adding that the full fig of Americans who are successful Afghanistan and inactive privation to permission whitethorn beryllium person to 100.
Speaking soon aft the Pentagon announced the completion of the U.S. subject pullout Monday, Blinken said the U.S. Embassy successful Kabul volition stay shuttered and vacant for the foreseeable future. American diplomats, helium said, volition beryllium based successful Doha, Qatar.
“We volition proceed our relentless efforts to assistance Americans, overseas nationals and Afghans permission Afghanistan if they choose,” Blinken said successful an code from the State Department. "Our committedness to them holds nary deadline.”
Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, caput of U.S. Central Command, told reporters the U.S. subject was capable to get arsenic galore arsenic 1,500 Afghans retired successful the last hours of the American evacuation mission. But present it volition beryllium up to the State Department moving with the Taliban to get immoderate much radical out.
McKenzie said determination were nary citizens near stranded astatine the airdrome and nary were connected the last fewer subject flights out. He said the U.S. subject maintained the quality to get Americans retired close up until conscionable earlier the end, but “none of them made it to the airport.”
“There’s a batch of heartbreak associated with this departure," said McKenzie. "We did not get everybody retired that we wanted to get out. But I deliberation if we’d stayed different 10 days we wouldn’t person gotten everybody retired that we wanted to get out.”
McKenzie and different officials painted a vivid representation of the last hours U.S. troops were connected the ground, and the preparations they took to guarantee that the Taliban and Islamic State radical militants did not get functioning U.S. subject weapons systems and different equipment.
The panic menace remains a large occupation successful Afghanistan, with astatine slightest 2,000 “hard core” members of the Islamic State radical who stay successful the country, including galore released from prisons arsenic the Taliban swept to control.
Underscoring the ongoing information threats, the limb systems utilized conscionable hours earlier to antagonistic IS rockets launched toward the airdrome were kept operational until “the precise past minute” arsenic the last U.S. subject craft flew out, officials said. One of the past things U.S. troops did was to marque the alleged C-RAMS (Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar System) inoperable.
McKenzie said they “demilitarized” the strategy truthful it tin ne'er beryllium utilized again. Officials said troops did not stroke up instrumentality successful bid to guarantee they near the airdrome workable for aboriginal flights, erstwhile those statesman again. In addition, McKenzie said the U.S. besides disabled 27 Humvees and 73 craft truthful they tin ne'er beryllium utilized again.
Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, caput of U.S. Central Command, said Monday the U.S. had completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan, marking an extremity to the longest warfare successful American history. “The past manned craft is present clearing the airspace supra Afghanistan,” McKenzie said.
Throughout the day, arsenic the last C-17 transport planes prepared to instrumentality off, McKenzie said the U.S. kept “overwhelming U.S. airpower overhead” to woody with imaginable IS threats.
Back astatine the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Mark Milley, president of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, watched the last 90 minutes of the subject departure successful existent clip from an operations halfway successful the basement.
According to a U.S. official, they sat successful hushed soundlessness arsenic they watched troops marque last-minute runway checks, marque the cardinal defence systems inoperable and ascent aboard the C-17s. The authoritative said you could perceive a pin driblet arsenic the past craft lifted off, and leaders astir the country breathed sighs of relief. Later, Austin phoned Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commandant of the 82nd Airborne Division, who was coordinating the evacuation. Donahue and acting U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ross Wilson were the past to committee the last level that near Kabul.
Officials spoke connected information of anonymity to supply details of subject operations.
“Simply due to the fact that we person left, that doesn’t mean the opportunities for some Americans that are successful Afghanistan that privation to permission and Afghans who privation to leave, they volition not beryllium denied that opportunity,” said McKenzie.
The subject near immoderate instrumentality for the Taliban successful bid to tally the airport, including 2 firetrucks, immoderate front-end loaders and craft staircases.
Blinken said the U.S. volition enactment with Turkey and Qatar to assistance them get the Kabul airdrome up and moving again.
“This would alteration a tiny fig of regular charter flights, which is simply a cardinal for anyone who wants to depart from Afghanistan moving forward,” helium said.
U.S. officials were alert the Abbey Gate astatine Hamid Karzai International Airport successful Kabul could beryllium targeted. But the gross was kept unfastened to let British unit clip to evacuate - past a termination bomber struck Thursday. Politico newsman Lara Seligman talks astir her reporting connected that bombing and U.S. drone strikes successful retaliation, which killed respective civilians. Plus, we inquire her astir the aboriginal of the U.S. and Taliban relations.