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He Is The Last American Soldier To Leave Afghanistan

In this handout provided by the U.S. Central Command, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, boards a C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
In this handout provided by the U.S. Central Command, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, boards a C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport.

Before the last U.S. plane left Afghanistan, bringing to an end America's longest war, one man strode on to the C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue was the very last American service member to leave the country Monday. He's commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps.

A handout provided by the U.S. Central Command shows Donahue boarding the plane, which also carried U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ross Wilson.

Their departure was the final end to a nearly 20-year mission that began soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

In the intervening years, more than 800,000 service members served in Afghanistan. The war claimed the lives of thousands of U.S. service members and civilians. The casualty count included the 13 U.S. service members who were killed last week in an attack outside the Kabul airport.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken outlined America's engagement in Afghanistan going forward, calling it a new chapter "in which we will lead with our diplomacy."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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