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Last US troops leave Afghanistan, ending 20-year war

US Afghanistan
Posted at 2:30 PM, Aug 30, 2021

The last U.S. plane carrying American troops left Afghanistan Monday, ending a nearly 20-year war.

"I want to thank our commanders and the men and women serving under them for their execution of the dangerous retrograde from Afghanistan as scheduled," President Joe Biden said in a statement.

President Joe Biden set an Aug. 31 deadline to get out of the country and end the 20-year war.

The president said he will address the country Tuesday afternoon to explain why the U.S. did not stay in Afghanistan past Aug. 31.

Marine Corps General Kenneth McKenzie said in a virtual briefing Monday that while the military effort to get people out of Afghanistan is over, diplomatic efforts to evacuate people who want to leave will continue.

"There's a lot of heartbreak with this departure," McKenzie said. "We did not get everyone out that we wanted to get out."

The U.S. says approximately 123,000 people, including about 6,000 Americans, were evacuated from the country in the final weeks of the war, which were met with chaos as the Taliban took control of the country.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. believes there are fewer than 200 Americans left in Afghanistan, many of whom are dual citizens.

"We will help them leave," Blinken said, adding that diplomatic operations were transferred from Kabul to Doha, Qatar.

The U.S. went to war following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, going after Osama Bin Laden. He was killed in Pakistan in 2011.

However, the war in Afghanistan continued for 10 more years. It was costly for American troops. Nearly 2,500 service members were killed over 20 years, including 13 last week.