In a news conference, Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie announced “the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the military mission to evacuate American citizens, third-country nationals and vulnerable Afghans.”
President Biden said later that there was unanimity among military leaders to end the airlift mission as planned.
He praised U.S. forces for evacuating more than 120,000 Americans and allies. The president said in a statement that he will address the nation Tuesday on his decision not to extend operations beyond then, but that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all commanders on the ground agreed that ending the 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.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid celebrated the news Monday evening.
“The last American occupier withdrew from (Kabul Airport) at 12 o’clock, and our country gained its full independence,” he tweeted. “Praise and gratitude be to God.”
The Taliban has agreed to allow foreign nationals and Afghans with relevant travel documents to leave the country safely after the international rescue mission ends Tuesday, the United States and dozens of other countries said Sunday.