US completes withdrawal from Afghanistan and UN asks not to abandon Afghans



The Kabul airport was the epicenter of attacks during the last hours of evacuation.


© AAMIR QURESHI / AFP
The Kabul airport was the epicenter of attacks during the last hours of evacuation.

After 20 years in the Asian country, the Pentagon confirmed the departure of its troops.

In the midst of a tense environment in Afghanistan, the The Pentagon announced this Monday the decoy of the last of its military planes from that country, in which the ambassador was traveling Ross Wilson, and that it marked the official close of two decades of US involvement in that war, the longest in its history.

I am here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the mission to evacuate U.S. citizens, third-country nationals, and vulnerable Afghans.”General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Central Command (Centcom), which oversees troop operations in the United States, said Monday. Horn of Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.(In context: Afghanistan: the hasty and painful withdrawal of the United States)

McKenzie explained that, although the military withdrawal was completedThe diplomatic mission is still underway to ensure that more US citizens and that “eligible Afghans” who want to leave can do so. According to the White House, more than 5,000 Americans left in recent weeks, but a smaller group of about 250 still remained in Afghanistan as of Monday.



The United States withdrew every last of its men on Monday.  AFP


© AFP
The United States withdrew every last of its men on Monday. AFP

In total, and according to the general, since August 14, the day before the Taliban took control of Kabul, more than 79,000 civilians have been evacuated on US military flights from Hamid Karzai airport, among them, the 5,000 Americans. Together with flights from the allied countries of the international coalition, the figure amounts to more than 123,000 civilians evacuated.

The president of the USA, Joe Biden – who ordered the withdrawal of the troops in compliance with a pact signed by his predecessor, Donald Trump– He continued to cover up on Monday the criticism of rivals and friends for the chaotic end of the military intervention in Afghanistan. Republicans already indicated that the disaster would be the center of their campaign to win back Congress in 2022 and the White House in 2024.

I am here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the mission to evacuate U.S. citizens, third-country nationals, and vulnerable Afghans.

The president will give a speech today to justify his decision not to prolong the presence of the troops in Afghanistan beyond today. The president pointed out that this was the “unanimous” recommendation of the leaders of the Defense General Staff and of “all” the commanders on the ground. And he added that, according to the point of view of the military leaders, the best way to protect the soldiers and the evacuations of civilians was by ending the military mission.

McKenzie recalled that the mission, which began after September 11, 2001, was “a mission that ended Osama bin Laden, along with his collaborators from Al Qaeda “And he added:” It has not been a cheap mission. The cost has been 2,461 US soldiers and civilians killed and more than 20,000 wounded. ” In addition, he assured that the US “always” will reserve the right to attack targets of Al Qaeda or the Islamic State terrorist group if necessary.

(Read here: More attacks on Kabul airport before evacuations end)

With its eyes set on the “day after”, the UN on Monday demanded that the Taliban guarantee the safe exit of foreigners and Afghans from the country. In addition, he called on the world not to turn their backs on refugees.

In an emergency meeting called by France and Germany, the UN Security Council approved a resolution calling for guarantees not only in the final phase of the exodus agreed by the US, which expires today, but moving forward under the Of course the Afghans are free and can leave the country if they want to.

In doing so, they brought up declarations from the Islamic regime itself in which it promised to allow the flow of nationals across land borders and on airplanes. The text was approved by 13 of the 15 members of the Council, as China and Russia abstained.

But the request was cut short in relation to the initial proposal of the French president, Emmanuel Macron, who requested the establishment of a “safe zone”, located at the Kabul airport and administered by the UN to continue with humanitarian work in the country and refugee processing. The final resolution, according to sources, ended “watered down” to avoid opposition from China and Russia, with veto power.

“It has not been a cheap mission. The cost has been 2,461 US soldiers and civilians killed and more than 20,000 wounded.

Even in its final and diminished version, few believe that the Taliban will accept the international community’s request, as they have also said that Afghans must remain in Afghanistan to help rebuild the country.

That, in a sense, will be the new pulse with a regime that simultaneously wants to be recognized as a legitimate actor and knows that it is exposed to strong economic sanctions or other intervention for humanitarian reasons in the future.

(You may be interested in: The leader of the Taliban remains in the shadows)

The US, in fact, announced on Monday that it does not intend to maintain a permanent diplomatic presence in the country as of tomorrow and has refused, for now, to specify whether it will recognize the new Taliban government.



Joe Biden will give a press conference on Tuesday explaining his reasons for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.  Drew Angerer.  AFP


© Drew Angerer. AFP
Joe Biden will give a press conference on Tuesday explaining his reasons for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Drew Angerer. AFP

In this context, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, he questioned that the world is focusing on the “narrow view” of last minute evacuations without thinking about the looming drama for the 39 million Afghans who will remain in the country. “(…) We must not turn our back on them because a much larger humanitarian crisis is only just beginning,” he said.

While the US maintains that it has facilitated the exit in these weeks of at least 100,000 Afghans, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands more are at risk now that the Taliban have come to power and the West is on its way out. From Washington’s perspective, however, what was urgent was to get US soldiers and citizens out of the country who were still in Afghanistan amid a security situation that continued to deteriorate.

This Monday, the Kabul airport was the target of an attack with five rockets that were neutralized by the anti-missile system that the US has installed to defend this last piece of “neutral” territory and that last week was the scene of an attack in which they died 13 US soldiers and at least 170 Afghans.

The US responded to the attack by bombing a residence allegedly inhabited by a member of the Islamic State K, the terrorist group that claimed responsibility for the attack. And this Sunday it launched another missile from a drone that destroyed a part of the car bomb, but that cost the lives of 10 civilians, including children, according to witnesses in Kabul.

SERGIO GÓMEZ MASERI

TIME CORRESPONDENT

WASHINGTON

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