It brought to an end a US presence that lasted nearly 20 years, beginning just a few weeks after the September 11 attacks. The US gave up its last toehold in Kabul to the guerrilla group it ousted with initial ease in 2001, marking a defeat on the scale of Vietnam. There was no fanfare or ceremony, and no handing over of flags to Kabul’s new masters. All remaining armoured vehicles and other military equipment items were destroyed or rendered useless and the Taliban were notified of the last flight.
US secretary of state Antony Blinken said later “a new chapter has begun”, with the military operation over and a diplomatic mission just starting. US diplomatic operations have now been moved from Kabul to Qatar, he said.