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Dramatic new photos show the final flight out of Afghanistan — symbolizing the end of America’s longest war.
The images released by the US Army show the final US service members to leave Afghanistan boarding a military cargo plane just before midnight Tuesday — then disembarking in Kuwait.
A US Air Force loadmaster guided members of the Army 82nd Airborne Division onto the cargo hold of a massive Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, the photos show.
Some of the images, taken in night vision, show the last service members boarding at Hamid Karzai International Airport leaving Afghanistan soil the last time at the end of a nearly 20-year war.
They also show for the first service members lined up in the hold where American flags drape the walls, then getting off the plane in Kuwait.
The images show the troops departing at Ali Al Saleem Air Base in Kuwait, according to the Army.
The new images follow the Army’s release of the historic photo showing Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue boarding the flight. Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, was the last US military member to board the plane at the end of a complex evacuation mission he oversaw.
The plane had reportedly left Kabul at 11:59 p.m. just ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw troops from the war-torn country. There could be more than 100 Americans still in the country, though.
President Joe Biden categorized the evacuation as a success in an address to the nation on Tuesday.
“As we close 20 years of war and strife and pain and sacrifice, it’s time to look to the future, not the past,” he said.
The evacuation included 79,000 civilians flown out of Kabul since Aug. 14, with 6,000 Americans and more than 73,000 Afghans and others, according to the head of US Central Command. There were 123,000 evacuated from the country as the Taliban swiftly took control of country amid the US pullout, according to the military.
More than 800,000 American service members and 25,00 civilians served in Afghanistan, the Army said. Through the lengthy conflict, more than 2,400 service members were killed and 20,000 more injured, according to the Army.