- President Joe Biden is expected to speak at midday Tuesday from the White House.
- Pakistan official asks world to stay engaged to prevent Afghanistan's 'economic collapse.'
- Taliban declare victory over US at Kabul airport just hours after American military departs.
President Joe Biden will deliver remarks Tuesday afternoon to mark the end of the nation's longest war.
The military retreated one day and one minute ahead of its Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.
After the withdrawal was announced, Biden issued a statement that held firm in its timing rather than having the US push out the deadline, saying the Joint Chiefs and commanders on the ground agreed it was the best course. "Their view was that ending our military mission was the best way to protect the lives of our troops, and secure the prospects of civilian departures for those who want to leave Afghanistan in the weeks and months ahead," the president said.
Biden's remarks are scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
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 in Kabul.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. will continue to try to get Americans and Afghans out of the country, and will work with Afghanistan’s neighbors to secure their departure, either over land or by charter flight once the Kabul airport reopens.
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s foreign minister on Tuesday urged the international community to act to prevent an “economic collapse" in neighboring Afghanistan after the takeover of the country by the Taliban and the pullout of U.S. forces.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi says it's in the interest of peace and stability for the world to remain engaged and not abandon Afghanistan, since more instability and further exodus of Afghans fleeing the Taliban rule were not in the interest of the nation.
He said that “this is a pivotal moment in Afghanistan’s history. International community must remain engaged, do not let economic collapse take place in Afghanistan.”
Qureshi spoke at a joint news conference with visiting German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Tuesday, a day after the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, marking the end of the 20 years of war next door.
Qureshi said Pakistan facilitated the evacuation of more than 10,000 foreigners from Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover. He said Pakistan has already been hosting more than 3 million Afghan refugees for the past decades and that his Islamic nation lacks the capacity to absorb more refugees.
– Associated Press
Taliban officials walked across the sole runway at Kabul’s airport in a symbolic gesture of victory just hours after the last U.S. military plane departed, signaling the end of America’s longest war.
“The world should have learned their lesson, and this is the enjoyable moment of victory," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a livestream posted by a militant, according to the Associated Press.
The scene unfolded at Hamid Karzai International Airport where heavily armed Taliban fighters walked through hangars on the military side, passing some of the CH-46 helicopters the State Department used in its evacuations before rendering them unflyable, the AP reported.
– Ledyard King
The U.S. military likely abandoned tens of millions of dollars’ worth of aircraft, armored vehicles and sophisticated defensive systems in the rush to leave the airport in Kabul safely.
Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, said some of the equipment had been “de-militarized,” essentially rendered inoperable. Troops likely used thermate grenades, which burn at temperatures of 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, to destroy key components of the equipment, according to a Defense department official who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Some pieces of equipment were likely blown up. Another Defense official also not authorized to speak publicly, acknowledged that a blast heard last week at the airport was related to destroying equipment.
– Tom Vanden Brook