The latest US evacuation flight has left Kabul, marking a bitter end to US’s longest war, and Republicans are slamming President Biden for withdrawing a day ahead of his self-imposed deadline.
Many criticized the hundreds of Americans left behind, and some again called for the president’s resignation.
The war in Afghanistan is not over yet. Joe Biden decided to stop and leave our citizens and allies behind,” Senator Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., wrote on Twitter after General Kenneth McKenzie, head of US Central Command, broke the news.
Witnesses in Kabul said the Taliban fired celebratory shots as news circulated that the last US flight had departed.
President Biden managed to meet his August 31 deadline and US personnel are now free from danger, but 38 million Afghans have been at the mercy of the Taliban and more than 170 have been killed in last week’s suicide bombing, including 13 US troops.
On Sunday, President Biden traveled to Dover, Delaware, to watch the remnants of the troops killed in the attack return home.
13 US troops were killed in a suicide bombing outside Kabul airport last week as US tried to complete withdrawal
“How many Americans are left behind?” House Republicans wrote on Twitter.
‘Shameful. The president had better move heaven and earth to get every last American home safely,” Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., wrote on Twitter.
McKenzie said fewer than 250 Americans were left behind, adding that some tried but couldn’t make it to the last departing evacuation flights.
Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., slammed Biden for withdrawing “before the deadline” and called for the president’s impeachment.
‘President Biden Withdrew From #Afghanistan BEFORE THE DEADLINE – Leaving US Citizens Still on the Ground in Need of Urgent Evacuation! IF BIDEN REFUSES TO STATE, HE SHOULD BE CHARACTERIZED! This is an absolute disgrace!’
@POTUS left Americans and our Afghan allies behind. Completely unforgivable. He must resign,” said Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla.
Planes are seen 30 hours before a US deadline in late August to complete the frenzied pullout at Kabul airport.
One of the last US military planes takes off from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday
Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., called on the president to resign over a Washington Post report claiming the Taliban had offered to let US troops secure Kabul when the Afghan government collapsed, but Biden was determined to withdraw all troops.
‘This is unbelievable! President Biden’s actions are a disgraceful failure of US leadership. I call for the resignation of President Biden. We can no longer tolerate this,” she said.
“The United States has just completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan, with many Americans still behind enemy lines desperate to escape, and $85 billion in US weapons and equipment now in the hands of the Taliban,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin, RN.Y. “This is a historic disgrace of epic proportions at the behest of President Biden.”
“How many Americans are now officially abandoned in Afghanistan because of Joe Biden’s incompetence?” Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., wrote on Twitter.
Biden knew his withdrawal from Afghanistan would needlessly endanger American lives. Now we have tragically lost 13 American heroes,” said Senator Rick Scott, R-Fla., demanding a congressional inquiry into Biden’s handling of Afghanistan.
“Absolutely embarrassing,” said Rep. Ted Budd, RN.C. “President Biden has officially stranded hundreds of American citizens in Afghanistan.”
America’s longest war is over. This should be a good day. Instead, because of Biden’s failed withdrawal, the Taliban are stronger than ever and 13 families will not see their loved ones come home,” R-Ariz Representative Andy Biggs said.
Taliban fighters hold Taliban flags in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, hours before US completed withdrawal
“But there are still American citizens in Afghanistan. Our troops are gone. Our commanders are gone. The Taliban are in control,” said R-Fla Deputy Kat Cammack, R-Fla.
“The fact that the Pentagon has said ‘only a few hundred Americans are left’ is devastating. Americans are still there.’
“The Biden administration should not have left Afghanistan without bringing home every American trapped behind enemy lines. We should never have been on the Taliban’s timeline,” R-Iowa Representative Ashley Hinson wrote on Twitter.
“This is a surreal moment for many and devastating for those left behind,” Representative Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said. “To our brave men and women who have stepped up to serve, we as a nation owe a constant debt of gratitude. You kept America safe and showed two generations of Afghans a better world. May God bless our troops.’
Many Democrats were strikingly silent when announcing the official end of the war, although some defended the withdrawal.
“Ending wars is actually good,” Representative Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., wrote on Twitter.
“America’s longest war is over, and it’s a good thing,” said D-Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz.
“We should never have started America’s longest war in the first place—a war of endless suffering and needless death. Let us now envision a future based on peace, security, dignity, diplomacy and human rights, not on destruction and profit by military contractors,” Representative Jamaal Bowman, DN.Y., wrote on Twitter.
The Taliban quickly declared victory after the last American plane took off and fired victory shots into the air.
“American soldiers left the airport and our nation gained its full independence,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.
“The last five planes have left, it’s over,” Hemad Sherzad, a Taliban fighter stationed at Kabul International Airport, told the Associated Press.
‘I cannot express my happiness in words. … Our 20 years of sacrifice has worked.’
Meanwhile, McKenzie said he believed the US would be able to negotiate for the 250 or so Americans left behind to get out.
“I think we can get those people out,” McKenzie said.
“I think we’re going to negotiate very hard, very aggressively to get our other Afghan partners out.”
The withdrawal was dominated by a hasty evacuation effort and imminent terrorist attacks, one such devastating blow that came to fruition.
A coalition of countries worked around the clock to rescue their civilians and Afghans who worked for their armies.
More than 122,000 people have flown out of Kabul since August 14, the day before it took control of the country.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that Hamid Karzai International Airport had no air traffic control service after leaving the US.