Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, Commander of U.S. Central Command, appears on screen as he speaks from MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, Fla., about Afghanistan during a virtual briefing moderated by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby at the Pentagon in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
UPDATED 5:04 PM PT – Monday, August 30, 2021
The Defense Department said its evacuation operation in Afghanistan has completed. Speaking from the Pentagon on Monday, General Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Spokesperson John Kirby announced the official end to the war in Afghanistan.
They confirmed every U.S. service member was out of Afghanistan and the last U.S. warplanes have left the country. However, they were unable to get every American out and said the last five flights of the day had zero Americans on board, even as they were reaching out to the estimated 250 still in the country as of Monday.
Little details were given on extended evacuation efforts following the withdrawal deadline.
“The military phase of this operation has ended. The diplomatic sequel to that would now begin,” General McKenzie explained. “I believe our Department of State is going to work very hard to allow any American citizens that are left, and we think the citizens that were not brought out number in the low, very low hundreds. I believe we’re going to be able to get those people out.”
General McKenzie went on to say it would now be the State Department’s mission to get any remaining Americans and refugees out of the country.