Just seconds after the last flight took off at 11.59pm local time, the Taliban overran the airport, boarded stranded planes and footage emerged on social media of fighters examining Chinook helicopters left behind by U.S. troops, as up to 200 U.S. citizens remain in Afghanistan.
US forces have abandoned as much as 70 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, 27 Humvees and 73 aircraft in Afghanistan, although much of the equipment has been disabled.
‘The last five aircraft have left, it’s over,’ Hemad Sherzad, a Taliban fighter stationed at Kabul’s international airport, told the Associated Press.
‘I cannot express my happiness in words… Our 20 years of sacrifice worked.’
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters hours later on the runway of the airport: ‘Congratulations to Afghanistan… this victory belongs to us all.