Commander General Kenneth McKenzie described the Taliban as “useful” and “helpful” when they were closing the operations in Afghanistan. He did this while noting the mission was composed of lots of heartbreak, as they know there were still Americans left in the country.
“ We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out,” said Gen. McKenzie.
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) August 31, 2021
The U.S. forces were withdrawn on August 31, in accordance with the deadline set by the U.S. and the Taliban
On Monday, McKenzie stated they put up a strong perimeter around the airfield in order to deter people from entering the premises as they departed. He added that they did not have direct information of the time they would depart and instead preferred to keep that information rather limited.
The Commander General continued, noting that the Taliban were very useful and helpful to America as they were closing operations. McKenzie’s remarks came as the last batch of U.S. forces in Afghanistan left the country on Monday, formally putting an end to the two decades of conflict.
The withdrawal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan met the August 31 deadline that was previously agreed upon by the Biden administration and the Taliban. However, on Monday, the White House confirmed there were still Americans left who did not make it out of Afghanistan on time.
McKenzie also noted that on the last five military flights to leave Kabul, there were no civilian U.S. citizens on board.
The White House press secretary likewise acknowledged that there are still a small number of Americans left; though, she could not say how many were left in Afghanistan. A senior official from the State Department noted that it could be “below 250” Americans.
The Commander General stated that in their departure, lots of heartbreak came because they didn’t get everyone out of Afghanistan and they wanted to rescue all Americans.
McKenzie: the threats remained “very real” up until the final days of the evacuation efforts
There was U.S. equipment that was likewise left behind, such as the counter artillery, artillery, and mortar also called the C-RAM. The equipment left behind was used to shoot rockets down, some aircraft, and armored Humvees; although, McKenzie noted that the equipment is not mission capable anymore.
The general also emphasized that the threat of ISIS to the evacuation efforts stayed very real until the last evacuation process, with strong U.S. airpower flying above Kabul, ready to address any possible threats.
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
On the other hand, the last U.S. soldier to have left Afghanistan is Major General Chris Donahue; an image of him was posted by the U.S. Army’s XVII with him being the last U.S. soldier to set foot in the war-torn country.
The image posted by the unit on Twitter was captioned, saying they are in awe of their “Sky Dragon” U.S. force. The Twitter post likewise mentioned that the mission was “incredibly tough” and filled with various complexities and ongoing threats the whole time. Yet, despite all of this, the U.S. troops displayed discipline, grit, and empathy.