Taliban Assumes Control of Kabul Airport as Last US Troops Leave
The Taliban assumed control of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Monday night, hours after US Air Force transport planes carried the last troops remaining in Afghanistan, ending a 20-year war. Celebratory gunfire shot by Taliban fighters was heard coming from the deserted airport, according to reports.
“While the military evacuation is complete, the diplomatic mission to ensure additional US citizens and eligible Afghans who want to leave continues,” the commander of the US Central Command, Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., told reporters on Monday afternoon.
“We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out, but I think if we stayed another 10 days, we wouldn’t have gotten everybody out who we wanted to get out,” McKenzie said.
He estimated that the number of American citizens left behind was in the “very low hundreds.” It is not clear how many Afghan allies were left behind, though some estimates range in the thousands.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said Tuesday at the Kabul airport that “We do not have any doubt that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is a free and sovereign nation.” He said that America was “defeated.”