The longest war of USA ended in the middle of the Afghan night
The last flight, a gigantic C-17 loaded with troops and the ambassador of USA, left the Kabul Airport one minute before local midnight, prior to the August 31 deadline set by President Joe Biden.
More than 120,000 people fled in a crashed airlift from the strict regime imposed by the Taliban, who regained power 15 days earlier, two decades after being overthrown by a coalition led by USA.
Afghanistan, which had already rejected the British Empire and the Soviet Union, thus reserved the same fate for the greatest modern superpower.
Unaware of this war for years, the Americans were shocked with the death of 13 of their military personnel in a suicide attack perpetrated by the Islamic State during the evacuation of civilians at the airport in the Afghan capital.
The image of the president Joe Biden standing before their flag-draped coffins at a Delaware air base, Sunday could be the last remaining of this war.
Five of the dead were children when Al Qaeda, protected by Taliban, launched the attacks of September 11, 2001, which detonated the conflict.
Ironically, USA depended on the Taliban to secure the airport against the Islamic State threat.
“The Taliban have been very pragmatic and negotiating,” said Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of the United States Central Command.
The first front in 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 USA took on nation-building tasks for which he was unprepared.
Meanwhile, the US-backed Afghan government proved corrupt and inefficient in consolidating 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 died, and 2.3 trillion dollars were 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 negotiating 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 Afghanistan and they will not attack American troops.
But the Islamic insurgents then escalated their campaign against Afghan forces, which 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 until August 31 as the White House concluded that the Afghans were unable or unwilling to fight alone.
“We went to Afghanistan because of the terrible attacks that occurred 20 years ago. That does not justify that we continue there in 2021″, Biden said. “It is time to end the eternal war”.
“We screwed it up”
Washington had planned an orderly withdrawal, hoping to avoid images of debacle 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, Chinook helicopters 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 gathered in a desperate attempt to flee the country. Some even got on airplanes during takeoff and crashed to the ground.
“People are upset that their senior leaders have let them 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.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.