The longest war from the United States ended in the middle of the Afghan night.
The last flight, a gigantic C-17 loaded with troops and the US ambassador, left Kabul airport a minute before local midnight, prior to the August 31 deadline set by President Joe Biden.
More than 120,000 people fled in a bumpy airlift from the strict regime imposed by the Taliban, who regained power 15 days earlier, two decades after being overthrown by a US-led coalition.
Afghanistan, which had already rejected the British Empire and the Soviet Union, Thus he reserved the same fate for the greatest modern superpower.
Disengaged from this war for years, Americans were shocked with the death of 13 of their military in a suicide attack perpetrated by the Islamic State during the evacuation of civilians at the airport in the Afghan capital.
The image of President Joe Biden standing before his flag-draped coffins at a Delaware air base, Sunday, It could be the last left of this war.
Five of the dead were children when Al Qaeda, protected by the Taliban, launched the September 11, 2001 attacks, which triggered the conflict.
Ironically, United States depended on the taliban to secure the airport against the threat of ISIS.
“War on terror”
“The Taliban have been very pragmatic and negotiating,” said Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Central Command.
First front of the “War on Terror” declared after the September 11 attacks, the country practically took a back seat when the George W. Bush administration decided to invade Iraq in 2003.
And the United States took on nation-building tasks for which I was not prepared.
Meanwhile, the US-backed Afghan government it turned out to be corrupt and inefficient to consolidate power, while the Taliban persisted as a powerful insurgency.
Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians and troops were killed.
The cost was also immense for Washington: 2,356 American soldiers were killed, and $ 2.3 trillion was spent, according to the Watson Institute at Brown University.
The end began in the government of former President Donald Trump, who came to power in 2016 promising to end the “eternal wars” and began to negotiate with the rebels.
In February 2020 Washington promised to withdraw by May 1 of the following year, in exchange for the Taliban starting peace negotiations with Kabul and not attack American troops.
But the Islamic insurgents later escalated their campaign against the Afghan forces, that were heavily dependent on the United States.
When Biden replaced Trump on January 20, there were about 2,500 US troops left in Afghanistan.
The withdrawal was postponed to August 31 as the White House concluded that the Afghans they could not or did not want to fight alone.
“We went to Afghanistan because of the terrible attacks that occurred 20 years ago. That does not justify that we are still there in 2021“said Biden.” It is time to end the eternal war. “
Washington had planned an orderly withdrawal, hoping to avoid debacle images like those seen in Vietnam, especially the photo of dozens of Vietnamese trying to climb into a helicopter from the roof of the US embassy in Saigon.
“Under no circumstances will you see people gathered from the roof of a US embassy in Afghanistan,” Biden said on July 8.
But five weeks later some chinook helicopters they landed on the roof of the US embassy to rescue diplomats.
A perhaps even more dramatic scene occurred at the Kabul airport, where tens of thousands of Afghans they met in a desperate attempt to flee the country. Some even got on airplanes during takeoff and crashed to the ground.
“People are upset because his senior leaders have let him down. And none of them are raising their hands and accepting responsibility or saying, ‘We screwed it up,’ “said Navy Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller.
Scheller was later removed from office.