America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan officially ended Monday when the last military plane, carrying the last contingent of U.S. troops, took off safely from Kabul airport.
Officials said about 122,000 people, including 6,000 Americans, were evacuated as of Monday. Operations ended with only hours remaining in the Aug. 31 deadline, leaving the Taliban in control of the country.
The departure marked the conclusion of a grim, weeks-long airlift – the largest in U.S. history, officials said – in which 13 U.S. service members died and 18 others injured in an ISIS-K suicide bombing near the Hamid Karzai International Airport on Aug. 26.
U.S. forces hit back with airstrikes and mortar attacks targeting Islamic militants on Aug. 27-29.
Defense officials had been alarmed by threats at the airport by a terrorist group called ISIS-K, whom officials say are sworn enemies of the Taliban. The attack increased pressure on U.S. officials since the Taliban said it would not extend the evacuation deadline.