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The U.S. completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan on Monday and ended America’s longest war, but President Joe Biden appears to have broken his promise to stay in the country until every American has gotten out safely.
In announcing the completion of the evacuation and war effort, head of U.S. Central Command Gen. Frank McKenzie said the last planes took off from Kabul airport at 3:29 p.m. Washington time and a number of American citizens — likely numbering in “the very low hundreds” — were left behind, The Associated Press reports.
McKenzie said he believes they will still be able to leave the country, but AP reporter Zeke Miller tweeted that those Americans remaining in Afghanistan do want to leave. In other words, they are not staying behind of their own volition but because of government mismanagement.
The end of the war marks a chapter likely to be remembered for failure, unfulfilled promises, and a frantic final exit that cost the lives of more than 180 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members, some barely older than the war, the AP reports.
Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos during an interview on Aug. 18 that the U.S. military’s objective in Afghanistan was to get “everyone” out, including Americans and Afghan allies and their families, Fox News reports.
“That’s what we’re doing now, that’s the path we’re on. And I think we’ll get there,” he said. “If there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay to get them all out.”
In a statement, Biden said he will address Americans Tuesday on his decision not to extend U.S. presence in Afghanistan beyond Aug. 31, mentioning it was a unanimous recommendation of military commanders to end the airlift as planned.