After 20 years, US ground troops leave Afghanistan, but Americans left behind

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After 20 years, US ground troops leave Afghanistan, but Americans left behind
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After 20 years, US ground troops leave Afghanistan, but Americans left behind
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Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, spoke to reporters from his headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, Florida.

“I’m here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the military mission to evacuate American citizens, third-country nationals and vulnerable Afghans,” he said, appearing on a television screen in the Pentagon Briefing Room.

To mark the moment for history, McKenzie noted the exact time the last U.S. military plane had cleared the skies over the land where the U.S. had spent so much time, money, and most of all, American blood.

“The last C-17 lifted off from Kabul airport this afternoon at 3:29 p.m. East Coast Time and the last manned aircraft is now clearing airspace above Afghanistan,” he said, which would have one minute before midnight in Kabul.

“Tonight’s withdrawal signifies both the end of the military component of the evacuation, but also the end of the nearly 20-year mission that began in Afghanistan shortly after Sept. 11 2001. It’s a mission that brought Osama Bin Laden to justice, along with many was Al Qaeda co-conspirators, and it was not — it was not a cheap mission,” he said.

The cost, in American lives, he said, was 2,461 U.S. service members killed and more than 20,000 wounded, including the 13 service members killed and at least 20 wounded in Thursday’s ISIS-K suicide bomber attack outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.

“No words from me could possibly capture the full measure of sacrifices and accomplishments of those who served, nor the emotions they’re feeling at this moment. But I will say that I’m proud that both my son and I have been a part of it,” McKenzie said.

You can read the rest of ‘s article at ABCnews.com

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