The last U.S. soldier to leave Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — After 20 years of occupation, more than 2,400 U.S. troops killed in combat and a frenetic evacuation, in the end, just one last soldier remained on the ground in Afghanistan. 

Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps, based in Fort Bragg, N.C., was the final soldier to leave Afghanistan as U.S. troops boarded a C-17 aircraft at the Kabul airport just before a self-imposed U.S. deadline to evacuate.

The Pentagon tweeted a photo recognizing Donahue as the final soldier in America's longest war, which saw more than 775,000 American troops serve over two decades.

In this handout provided by the U.S. Central Command, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps, boards a C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport August 30, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Donahue was the final American service member to depart the country

In the photo, Donohue is alone and stone-faced, carrying his firearm, with a Kabul airport hangar behind him as he gets ready to climb aboard the aircraft that left just before a self-imposed U.S. deadline to evacuate.

The photo is shot through a night-vision lens, giving the scene an eerie green tint.

More:Commander of 82nd Airborne Division to deploy to Afghanistan

Donahue was deployed to Afghanistan this month to help secure the Kabul airport as the U.S. drew nearer to Tuesday's withdrawal deadline. U.S. military presence in Afghanistan had increased in recent days but the Pentagon remained tight-lipped on the exact numbers.

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