Five U.S. C-17 military transport planes departed Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan late Monday, marking the completion of U.S. troop withdrawal and evacuation operations and the end of a 20-year war in the country, The New York Times reported.
As part of the evacuation, approximately 123,000 individuals have been airlifted out of Afghanistan in the last two months, including about 6,000 U.S. citizens.
Taliban forces and their supporters celebrated their victory by firing tracer rounds early Tuesday after the U.S. completed the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan.
“A new chapter of America’s engagement with Afghanistan has begun,” said Blinken. “It’s one in which we will lead with our diplomacy. The military mission is over. A new diplomatic mission has begun."
The plan includes using the post in Doha, Qatar, to manage diplomacy with Afghanistan, continuing efforts to help U.S. citizens, Afghans and foreign nationals leave Afghanistan, staying focused on counterterrorism and continuing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.
The Times reported that there are fewer than 300 Americans who remain in Afghanistan. Blinken reiterated the State Department’s commitment to helping Americans evacuate should they decide to leave Afghanistan.
“Additionally, we’ve worked intensely to evacuate and relocate Afghans who worked alongside us and are at particular risk of reprisal,” he said. “We’ve gotten many out, but many are still there. We will keep working to help them. Our commitment to them has no deadline."