Taking the press — and virtually the entire world — by surprise, it was announced by the Biden administration on Monday that the final U.S. troops had been evacuated from Afghanistan and America’s war in the country was officially over.
According to Fox News, the last soldier on the ground was photographed walking onto the transport plane. That particular soldier happened to be Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, the commander of the U.S. Army’s famous 82nd Airborne Division.
In awe of our Sky Dragon Soldiers.
This was an incredibly tough, pressurized mission filled with multiple complexities, with active threats the entire time. Our troops displayed grit, discipline and empathy.
Below is a picture of the last Soldier to leave Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/LnhBGHUf0M
— XVIII Airborne Corps (@18airbornecorps) August 30, 2021
The announcement that America no longer has a troop presence in the Taliban-occupied nation was jarring for many, as it happened a day before the Aug. 31 deadline that was originally announced.
CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie confirmed the worst in his announcement of the final pullout, admitting that not all of the people, including Americans, were able to make it to the airport for evacuation, which immediately sparked intense backlash.
“There’s a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure,” McKenzie said during the announcement. “We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out.”
In the wake of the formal end to America’s involvement in the country, which resulted in the Taliban scoring nearly $90 billion in cutting-edge U.S. military equipment and weapons, a network of U.S. military veterans are using their contacts and sources on the ground to usher people to safety, according to The Jerusalem Post.
The mission to rescue Afghan allies was dubbed Task Force Pineapple, and it has resulted in hundreds of people being saved, though their mission clearly became increasingly difficult when the remaining U.S. troops were pulled out on Monday.
Now, all eyes are on the Biden administration to see when — and how — they plan on rescuing the remaining Americans in Afghanistan, which potentially number in the hundreds. Many have expressed doubts that it’s possible to save them at this point in time.