The last C17 flight with the U.S. ambassador took off shortly after midnight local time on Tuesday, officials said.
They said the diplomatic mission would continue to help those who could not go out before the deadline.
Taliban gunfire erupted after the last plane took off.
The last American soldier to leave Afghanistan: Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, commanding general of the @82ndABNDiv, @18airbornecorps boards an @usairforce C-17 on August 30th, 2021, ending the U.S. mission in Kabul. pic.twitter.com/j5fPx4iv6a— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) August 30, 2021
The departure of the plane was the last chapter in a controversial military effort, and when the U.S. finally entered the country in 2001, the U.S. handed over Afghanistan back to many Islamist militants who tried to exterminate the U.S.
The massive evacuation effort, which began on August 14, ended shortly after the Taliban took over the country.
General Kenneth McKenzie, America’s top military commander in the region, said that in total, US and coalition aircraft evacuated 123,000 civilians – an average of more than 7,500 civilians per day at the time.
Speaking after the announcement, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke in Washington, calling the move a “massive military, the diplomatic and humanitarian organization” and the most challenging the U.S. has ever done.
“A new chapter has begun,” he said. “The military mission is over. The new diplomatic mission has begun.”
However, he acknowledged that their numbers were not enough to defeat the Taliban’s legitimacy. From gaining a foothold in the country.
He said that despite the US suspending its diplomatic presence in Kabul and shifting operations to the Qatari capital Doha, it would continue its “continuous efforts” to leave Afghanistan with American passports for Americans and Afghans if they wished.
President Joe Biden released a short statement thanking all those involved in the evacuation operation over the past 17 days and said he would address the nation later on Tuesday.
Following the pull-out, Taliban fighters were seen exploring the Kabul airport and seizing its facilities, including the hangar where the plane was parked, leaving the United States. Some combatants wore discarded U.S. military uniforms and equipment.
A Los Angeles Times photojournalist at the scene said fighters were already setting up equipment, inspecting remaining equipment and guarding the perimeter.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has not yet commented on reports that a U.S. drone strike on a suspected suicide bomber in Afghanistan has killed six children and several civilians, including a translator for U.S. forces.
Relatives said the strike on the car near Kabul airport was based on false information. The Pentagon said it was evaluating and investigating the reports.
There is uncertainty ahead for millions of Afghans
Even after 40 years of war, I do not think the Afghans lived through a transition that was very precarious, shrouded in darkness, blurred with fear. There is great uncertainty about what will happen next.
Thousands of Afghans who have fled the country over the past few days are in a state of uncertainty and fear, wondering if they will ever see their homeland again.
For the remaining 38 million Afghans in the country, there is considerable uncertainty over what kind of rule the Taliban should impose. Will they bring back the harsh rules and punishments of the last spelling of the country.
Many Afghans are watching the Taliban regime in rural areas and fear they have not changed, but they have somehow deteriorated further.
It is a deeply traditional society. Women and girls gained a small amount of freedom as Western coalition forces promoted education. Girls who have come of age in the last 20 years will suffer great loss and now believe that they will not be able to live the life they promised,
The next chapter of this long battle begins tomorrow. The long war in America is over, but the Afghan war is definitely not over.