- The Pentagon released an image of US Army Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue leaving Kabul, Afghanistan.
- He boarded a C-17 cargo plane late Monday.
- Donahue’s departure put an official end to the US military’s campaign in the country.
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Bathed in the eerie green light of a night vision lens, US Army Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue cut a lonely figure as he scaled the ramp of a C-17 cargo plane at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
He was the last US military member to leave Afghanistan, per US Central Command. Donahue was the commander of the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, and one of the commanders on the ground in charge of the evacuation mission.
His departure also signals the end of the US mission to airlift as many American citizens, Afghan Special Immigrant Visa applicants, and Afghan refugees out of the country as possible.
Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, said the last C-17 plane lifted off from Kabul at 3:29 p.m. ET Monday, or 11:59 p.m. Monday Afghanistan Time.
“The last manned aircraft is now clearing the airspace above Afghanistan,” McKenzie said. “No words from me could possibly capture the full measure of sacrifices and accomplishments of those who served.”
McKenzie added that the US has evacuated more than 122,000 civilians from Afghanistan since the end of July.
But thousands of Afghan allies were left behind.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday estimated that the number of US citizens left in Afghanistan was “likely closer to 100,” and said the US would continue to help citizens who want to leave the country to get out.
“The protection and welfare of Americans abroad remains the State Department’s most vital and enduring mission. If an American in Afghanistan tells us that they want to stay for now, and then in a week or a month or a year they reach out and say, ‘I’ve changed my mind,’ we will help them leave,” Blinken said.