The last soldier to gothe day the United States concluded its 20 Year War has been identified as Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army, XVIII Airborne Corps. Donahue was one of the field commanders leading the evacuation mission.
General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Commander of the US Central Command,left Afghanistan on August 30 at 3:29 p.m. ET, or 11:59 p.m. in Kabul.
The Defense Ministry’s communications wing, DVID, released a photo of Donahue boarding a C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Chargé d’affaires Ross Wilson was also on board.
Donahue and the forward commander of US forces in Afghanistan, Rear Admiral Peter Vasely, led the evacuation operation which began on August 14 and, including 6,000 US citizens. McKenzie admitted on Monday that not everyone who wanted to get out of Afghanistan was out, but said he was proud of the US troops who, under the leadership of Donahue and Vasely, evacuated so many.
President Biden said he would speak to the Americans on Tuesday about the decision not to extend the US mission past the deadline, even though some Americans and Afghans at risk were unable to evacuate.
The US mission in Afghanistan began shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. There were 2,461 US servicemen killed in the 20 Years War, and Thursday marked the bloodiest day for US troops in one. decade whenin a suicide bombing.
US forces have “demilitarized”, or rendered useless, the military equipment they left behind, including dozens of military vehicles and planes, representing billions of dollars in equipment.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement Monday that Americans “must remember the citizens we serve and the nation we defend.”
“For my part, I am proud of the part we played in this war,” said Austin. “I am proud of the men and women who have led me. I am proud of those with whom I have served and led. And I’m proud of the intrepid and resilient families who made what we did possible.