Highlights

The last of American troops have flown out of Afghanistan

Afghanistan withdrawal complete, US says 20-yr war is over

Taliban welcome the departure of US troops from the country

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Adieu Afghanistan: Last of troops fly out of Kabul, US says 20-year war is over

The United States has announced the end of its 20-year-old war in Afghanistan as the last American military flight flew out of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul shortly before the Tuesday deadline

The United States has announced the end of its 20-year-old war in Afghanistan as the last American military flight flew out of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul shortly before the August 31 deadline.

US Central Command Commander Marine Corps General Frank McKenzie announced the completion of withdrawal through a virtual news conference.

With this the US mission to evacuate American citizens, third-country nationals and vulnerable Afghans have also come to an end, General McKenzie announced.

Also watch | Pentagon: Threat to Kabul Airport remains 'real' & 'specific'

The Taliban, which now is the ruling power in Afghanistan, welcomed the departure of the US troops from the country.

“Congratulations to all our compatriots and our dear nation and Mujahideen: Today, all foreign forces left our pure and martyr land,” the Taliban said in a tweet in Persian.

Reports said that the sound of gunfire was heard across Kabul after the US military confirmed their exit to end the 20-year war.

The final flight took place under heavy security following two attacks on the two-week evacuation operation by ISIS-K -- one a suicide bombing that left more than 100 people dead, including 13 US troops.

Also watch: Over 90 countries issue joint statement on evacuation assurances given by Taliban

The terrorist strike forced the US to enter Afghanistan and overthrow the Taliban rule who then had provided safe havens to the Al Qaeda leadership.

The Taliban rule was overthrown and replaced by US-backed Afghans, who ruled the country for 20 years, during which several general elections were held. That rule was overthrown by the Taliban on August 15 when president Ashraf Ghani suddenly fled the country and the 3,00,000 Afghan armed forces troops trained by the United States gave up without any fight.

Special US Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said in a tweet, “Our war in Afghanistan is over. Our brave Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen served with distinction and sacrifice to the very end. They have our enduring gratitude and respect.” “With the departure of our military & those of the many partners who stood with us, Afghans face a moment of decision & opportunity. Their country's future is in their hands. They will choose their path in full sovereignty. This is the chance to bring their war to an end as well,” he said.

“The Taliban now face a test. Can they lead their country to a safe & prosperous future where all their citizens, men & women, have the chance to reach their potential? Can Afghanistan present the beauty & power of its diverse cultures, histories, & traditions to the world?” he said in another tweet.

Gen McKenzie said no American civilian was in the last flight.

“While the military evacuation is complete, the diplomatic mission to ensure additional US citizens and eligible Afghans, who want to leave, continues. Tonight's withdrawal signifies both the end of the military component of the evacuation, but also the end of the nearly 20-year mission that began in Afghanistan shortly after September 11, 2001. It's a mission that brought Osama bin Laden to a just end, along with many of his al Qaeda co conspirators," he said.

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