The operation came to an end before Tuesday’s deadline set by President Joe Biden, who has come under heavy criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for its handling of Afghanistan since the Taliban made rapid strides and took over Kabul earlier this month.
The withdrawal was announced Monday by US Central Command commander General Frank McKenzie, who said the final flights hadn’t been made with some of the dozens of Americans left behind.
More than 122,000 people have flown in from Kabul since August 14, the day before the Taliban regained control of the country two decades after being overthrown by the US-led invasion in 2001.
The US and its Western allies sought to rescue the citizens of their own countries, as well as translators, local embassy officials, civil rights activists, journalists and other Afghans vulnerable to retaliation.
The evacuations became even more dangerous when a suicide bomber claimed by Islamic State – enemy of both the West and the Taliban – killed 13 US servicemen and dozens of Afghans waiting at the airport gates on Thursday.
Biden promised to track down those responsible after the bloody attack at Kabul airport.
The departure came after US missile defense intercepted missiles fired at Kabul airport.
Two US officials said “core” diplomatic personnel were among the 6,000 Americans who left. They didn’t say whether that included top envoy Ross Wilson, who was expected to be one of the last citizens to leave.
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