September 25 2022 11:25 AM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

The last US soldier leaves, and first Taliban soldiers arrive

1. US Exit
Taliban officials, including Zabihullah Mujahid, third from right, announcing victory at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. (Photo: New York Times)
The last moments of the US occupation of Afghanistan were captured in two images that were a reversal of the US invasion nearly 20 years ago: A US soldier leaving as Taliban fighters took control.اضافة اعلان

US Central Command identified the final soldier to leave as Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne. He was boarding the last flight out of Kabul’s airport. Shortly after, the Los Angeles Times posted a video of its Middle East bureau chief, Nabih Bulos, entering the airport with Taliban fighters.

The image of Donahue, a firearm in his right hand, boarding a C-17 plane Monday night, is shrouded in the green tint suggestive of night vision goggles.
Nearby, and shortly after, a handful of Taliban soldiers were recorded casually walking into an airport hanger. The moment was captured in a 30-second video, viewed nearly 2 million times on Twitter, by Nabih Bulos.

The hanger is brightly light. Soldiers walk by an empty swivel chair and toward one side of the hanger, where several helicopters sit unoccupied.

The soldiers, according to Bulos were, were entering “what was only minutes ago” a US-patrolled portion of the airport. In another video posted by Bulos, Taliban soldiers shoot celebratory gunfire into the air.

The two images capture the unlikely transfer of power between the United States, which invaded the country in 2001, and the Taliban, which waged a bloody campaign to return to power ever since.


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