He stressed the last American C-17 left Kabul, the capital, at 3:29 pm East Coast time.
A Taliban guard at the Kabul airport, Hemad Sherzad, said the last five planes departed early Tuesday, just after midnight local time.
Soon after, celebratory gunfire erupted across Kabul footage obtained by Worthy News showed.
However, U.S. officials did not confirm the withdrawal of all forces, leaving the possibility open that some special operations troops remain.
It wasn’t clear how those staying behind would be able to escape. Several sources fear thousands of people, including Afghan allies who worked for the U.S.-led coalition and Americans, may face imminent execution by the country’s Islamist Taliban rulers.
U.S. General McKenzie General Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, said US troops did not evacuate everyone they wanted out of Afghanistan. He claimed the number of American civilians left behind was in the low hundreds. “There’s a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure. We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out,” he admitted. “But I think if we’d stayed another 10 days, we wouldn’t have gotten everybody out.”
Ahead of Monday’s hasty departure to meet an August 31 deadline, Islamic State militants fired a volley of rockets at Kabul’s rapidly emptying international airport, several sources confirmed.
All day Monday, U.S. military cargo jets came and went despite the rocket attack, which did not hurt anyone.
The Taliban released a video shot from the airport’s grounds, saying the Americans had removed or destroyed most of their equipment and that troop numbers were far lower.
In the last 24 hours, the American military evacuated about 1,200 people on 26 C-17 flights, while two coalition flights flew out 50 others, the White House said.
But with the departure of the U.S. military and the Taliban back in power, many Afghans are fearful, several Christian groups told Worthy News. Thousands of Christians are among others facing potential execution under the Taliban’s strict interpretation of Islamic law.
There have been sporadic reports of killings and other abuses in areas under Taliban control despite pledges to restore peace and security.
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