As the US troops left Kabul airport, the Taliban celebrated with gunfire
The very last US soldier to leave Afghanistan has been named as Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, officials announced.
The Pentagon tweeted a photo of him preparing to board a C-17 cargo and identified him as officially the last American serviceman to leave Afghanistan, bringing to an end 20 years of US troop deployment in the country.
He is the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps. The photo was shot through a night-vision lens.
Maj Gen Donahue was only deployed to Afghanistan this month and a Pentagon spokesperson said that “a brigade combat team of between 3,500 to 4,000 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division would deploy from Fort Bragg to remain on standby in Kuwait and provide security at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul if needed”.
Maj Gen Donahue is a former special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon and has previously served as the commander of special operations joint task force-Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
He has been deployed 17 times in several countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, North Africa and Eastern Europe.
The XVIII Airborne Corps tweeted the photo of Maj Gen Donohue and wrote: “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.”
After 20 years of the US military presence in Afghanistan, which saw more than 775,000 American troops deployed over the two decades, President Joe Biden announced on Monday that “our 20-year military presence in Afghanistan has ended”.
In a statement, the president said: “The past 17 days have seen our troops execute the largest airlift in US history, evacuating over 120,000 US citizens, citizens of our allies, and Afghan allies of the United States. They have done it with unmatched courage, professionalism, and resolve.”
As the US troops left Kabul airport, celebratory gunfire could be heard in the capital city of Kabul as the Taliban called the US and its NATO allies a “complete independence.”