After nearly 20 years of continuous U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, an Army general ascended the ramp of a transport plane sometime before 11:59 p.m. Monday, closing the chapter on U.S. involvement in the country’s longest war.

Army Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, was the last service member with feet planted on Afghan soil, officials said, before boarding a C-17 with Ross Wilson, the top diplomat in Kabul until shortly after his departure.

Donahue was photographed in night-vision green as he carried an M4. Other aircraft, including drones and fighter jets, flew overhead to protect the last departing flights, Pentagon officials said.

Taliban members took the airport soon after the withdrawal was complete, according to a Los Angeles Times reporter who said he was there with them.

They may have watched the flights depart; the armed men in the hangar wore their own night-vision goggles – a small part of the bounty of U.S.-supplied equipment they now claim.

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: