After 20 years and billions of dollars in costs, the US concluded its longest war in Afghanistan when all of its soldiers departed, prompting a Republican senator to call President Joe Biden’s handling of the departure a “great shame.”
On Monday night, the last of the American soldiers in charge of a frantic evacuation operation flew out of Kabul airport, concluding a departure that has raised grave reservations about the US’s position as a superpower.
Taliban militants stormed the airport and celebrated by firing guns into the sky, marking an incredible triumph for the movement two decades after US troops invaded Afghanistan and ousted them from power.
Despite the US investing billions to restore the country, the Taliban will inherit a shattered country, with severe poverty, drought, and Daesh threats among the many challenges.
Many Afghans fear a recurrence of the Taliban’s first reign from 1996 to 2001, when they were notorious for their abuse of children and women, as well as a harsh judicial system.
President Joe Biden had set a deadline of August 31 to finish America’s longest conflict, which had cost the lives of more than 2,400 US military personnel.
The early end came as a result of a threat from a regional Daesh offshoot, rivals of the Taliban, who were attempting to attack US troops at the airport.
More than 100 people were murdered when a Daesh suicide bomber struck the perimeter of the airport late last week, where desperate Afghans had gathered in the hopes of boarding an evacuation aircraft.
The US-led airlift operation, which started shortly after the Taliban stormed into Kabul on August 14, evacuated almost 123,000 civilians from the city.