The final American soldier departs, ending the war in Afghanistan

U.S Transport plane departs Kabul on August 30, 2021.

Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

U.S Transport plane departs Kabul on August 30, 2021.

Connor Fox, Staff Reporter

The final American soldier departed the Kabul Airport Monday night, August 30, effectively ending the decades-long war in Afghanistan. Over 2,000 American service members died in fighting that lasted 20 years and cost more than two trillion dollars. While this departure brought home the last American soldier in the country, there are still around 100 Americans and thousands of Afghans left in the country who wish to be brought to the U.S.

President Biden announced in April that his officials believed the Afghani government had a stable control of the Taliban, the extremist faction which once ruled over Afghanistan, and he would begin the process of removing all U.S forces from the country by the 20th reunion of 9/11.

The announcement to exit was nothing shocking as the Trump administration signed a deal with the Taliban in February of 2020 that promised all foreign forces would be out of the country by May 1, 2021. The newly inaugurated Biden administration believed that this was near impossible as there were still thousands of U.S troops in the country, causing them to extend this deadline to September.

The U.S exit ran somewhat smoothly until mid-August when the Taliban executed a sweep of all of Afghanistan’s major cities and closed in on the city of Kabul.  Because there were still many U.S troops in the country, worries that the​​ Taliban would close in on U.S bases and attack remaining troops caused controversy for the Biden Administration.

With the Taliban closing around the capital, news that the Afghan president fled the country began reaching the public, leaving Afghanistan leader-less and even more susceptible to a Taliban takeover. It was only days before the Taliban took control of Kabul and began establishing a government. They allowed the U.S to continue evacuating troops out of the Kabul Airport and promised not to attack any troops. 

On Thursday, August 26, though, a suicide bomber attacked the airport and caused the death of 13 U.S service members and 169 Afghanis. The bomber was a part of the growing terrorist group ISIS, which has been growing out of the U.S Departure and the fall of the Afghan Government. 

All of these events lead to the night of Monday, August 30, when Major General Chris Donahue stepped aboard a C-17 transport plane and became the final member of the United States armed forces to leave the country, officially ending the United States’ war in Afghanistan.

With the Taliban back in control of Afghanistan, the Biden administration has been under intense scrutiny over their decision to end the war. 

President Biden defended his decision to leave the country in a press conference by saying, “I simply do not believe that the safety and security of America is enhanced by continuing to deploy thousands of American troops and spending billions of dollars in Afghanistan.”