The last American plane leaves Afghanistan

A US CH-47 Chinook helicopter is loaded onto a C-17 transport plane at Kabul airport, one of the last to take off on Monday. / Reuters

The Pentagon estimates that there are already 2,000 jihadists in Afghanistan ready to claim the country from the Taliban

The last American plane left Afghanistan this morning. It was 3:29 a.m. local time on August 31, the date agreed with the Taliban, who have not accepted any delay. The longest war in US history has ended, but “hundreds” of Americans have been left behind who have not been able to reach Hamid Karzai International Airport in time, acknowledged Marine Corps General Kenneth McKenzie, Commander of Central Command. .

Kabul is the new Saigon, or worse. Twenty years after the 9/11 attacks, the United States has handed over the country to the same Taliban that it disputed when it promised to avenge the fall of the Twin Towers and launched all its fury on them with the arrogance of not wanting to negotiate a surrender. This time it was they who dictated the terms of the humiliating withdrawal. “They have been very pragmatic, they have treated this as a business relationship,” Mckenzie conceded. “They wanted us to leave and we wanted to go with our people, our friends and our allies. For a brief moment in history, our interests coincided.

There was in his words a certain tone of respect and admiration, a kind of Stockholm syndrome for someone who in recent weeks has placed his life and the honor of his country in the hands of the enemy, only to discover that they now have a common enemy: Isis -K. While the Americans were leaving, they were entering. The Pentagon estimates that there are already 2,000 jihadists in Afghanistan ready to claim the country they believe they have reconquered from the Taliban. “They are going to be very busy,” the general warned laconically.

Goodbye to 20 years in Afghanistan

McKenzie and his own son fought in Afghanistan. The announcement of this Monday by videoconference was undoubtedly the most difficult of his career for this five-star general who said “he did not have much time to reflect” on the dramatic moment that he had to star in, because the mission required all his attention. “The military mission is over, now the diplomatic one begins,” he solemnly announced.

Defended by a drone

In the last hours, the airport doors were closed and the evacuation of civilians was renounced, which at the beginning of the day had taken the last 300 civilians left in the terminal out of the country. The Americans took with them the 500 members of the Afghan army and their families who have accompanied them to the end on this painful mission and “demilitarized” the area, rendering useless all the military machinery that they could not take away. The planes that have remained on the runway “will never fly again,” said the commander.

On the last C-17 to take off, under the watchful eye of a drone defending its retreat, was General Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd division from Fort Bragg that President Joe Biden sent on August 14 to protect the evacuation. Since then, 116,700 people have been evacuated to a total of 123,000. On average, 7,500 civilians a day, with a record of up to 19,000 in a single day. A titanic work badly covered for history, because not even the press could reach the frenetic collapse of Afghanistan in time.

The State Department removed its diplomats late Monday and has promised to use “all its bargaining power” to remove the Americans who have remained in the country and the Afghans who worked with the US and its allies. For that, he supports the proposal of a humanitarian corridor through neighboring countries with the promise that they will only serve as transit, because the burden of carrying the refugees will fall on his shoulders. So far it is estimated that the United States will have to take in at least 50,000, which will undoubtedly change the face of the country. He takes, yes, the class he has educated in these two decades in which music academies have flourished, the female faces on television and the girls at the desks. However, “we have failed in the promise to make Afghanistan a strong democracy,” acknowledged with regret the former Senator Claire McCaskill, who fought for two decades to make it a reality.

Others have paid more for the audacity. To the 2,448 Americans who lost their lives in combat, we must add the 13 who died in the brutal attack on Thursday, when a suicide bomber from the Islamic State caused a real bloodbath. About 200 bodies and hundreds of wounded were left at the airport. Afghanistan is once again the graveyard where great empires go to die, after seeing the British, the Russian and now the American sink into its bare mountains.

Hollywood will give rise to a whole saga of films to conjure up on the big screen the patriotic trauma of a defeated country, to which Biden will put the epitaph on Tuesday in a speech to the nation to turn the page. The occupation is over, the civil war has only just begun.

Shooting celebration

The Taliban on Tuesday proclaimed the “total independence” of Afghanistan after the departure of the United States mission from the territory. “The last plane of the American occupiers has withdrawn from Kabul airport and our country has obtained its complete independence. Praise and gratitude to God, “said the Taliban spokesman, Zabihulá Mujahid, through his Twitter profile.

After the departure of the last US military plane, the insurgents took to the streets of the Afghan capital, Kabul, to shoot into the air to show their “joy” for the withdrawal, according to Mujahid and can be seen in different videos that circulate. in social networks.

The Taliban spokesman for international issues, Suhail Shahin, also applauded, in another message on Twitter, the departure of the US military and stressed that this way the country has obtained “full independence.” «Congratulations to all the children of the country and to the dear Mujahid people. Today all foreign forces have left our pure land, the lair of martyrs. Congratulations to our honorable people! We ask God to grant us success and payment to build our country together, “said Mohamad Naim, spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, through the same social network.


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