Photos: America’s longest war ends as last U.S. troops leave Afghanistan

A military transport plane flies over an Afghan family
A military transport plane flies over an Afghan family Monday as the last U.S. troops prepare to leave Kabul, Afghanistan.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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The last U.S. forces flew out of Kabul’s airport in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Monday, bringing down the curtain on America’s longest war.

The head of the U.S. Central Command, Marine Gen. Kenneth F. “Frank” McKenzie, said the final liftoff of American military aircraft came one minute before midnight in Kabul — just before the start of Tuesday, the day set by President Biden as the deadline for the departure of U.S. troops.

“Every single U.S. service member is out of Afghanistan,” McKenzie said — setting a capstone on a military presence that once exceeded 100,000 American troops and drew the U.S. into a conflict that cost trillions of dollars and thousands of lives.

Within moments of the final U.S. takeoff, Taliban fighters swiftly moved into Hamid Karzai International Airport, the scene of a massive airlift that carried more than 116,000 people out of the country since the militant group seized power two weeks earlier in a swift but nearly bloodless offensive.

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Taliban fighters in a truck at the Hamid Karzai International Airport
Taliban fighters take control and secure the Hamid Karzai International Airport, along with all the equipment and weapons left behind after the full U.S. military withdrawal from the country, Tuesday in Kabul, Afghanistan.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Barbed wire lies across the tarmac
Barbed wire lies across the tarmac Tuesday, left behind after the U.S. military completely withdrew from the country and Taliban fighters moved in to take control of the airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A Taliban fighter kneels in the dark while city lights are in the distance behind him
Taliban fighter Abdul Hadi Hamdan leads an evening prayer Sunday as the the militants control the perimeter outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Taliban fighters kneel on the ground outside in the evening
Taliban fighters hold evening prayers Sunday outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Soldiers seen from behind, lit in red light
Taliban fighters from the Fateh Zwak unit storm into Kabul’s airport Tuesday after the U.S. military completed its withdrawal.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Taliban fighters walk in a line
Taliban fighters from the Fateh Zwak unit at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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Celebratory gunfire lights up the sky
Celebratory gunfire lights up the sky after the last U.S. aircraft took off from the airport in Kabul early on Tuesday in Afghanistan.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Taliban fighters from the Fateh Zwak unit celebrate.
Taliban fighters from the Fateh Zwak unit celebrate before storming into the Kabul airport.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
A Taliban fighter takes a picture of a remaining C-17 flight taking off as a farewell memento.
A Taliban fighter takes a picture of a C-17 taking off.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Taliban fighters from the Fateh Zwak unit, wielding American supplied weapons, equipment and uniforms
Taliban fighters enter the airport after the final U.S. troops left, just before midnight.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Taliban fighters from the Fateh Zwak unit, wielding American supplied weapons, equipment and uniforms
Taliban fighters at the airport.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN -- AUGUST 31, 2021: Taliban fighters from the Fateh Zwak unit
Taliban fighters prepare to storm the airport.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, the final American service member to depart Afghanistan, boards a C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport August 30, 2021.
(U.S. Central Command via Getty Images)
A CH-47 Chinook from the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division is loaded onto a U.S. Air Force C-17
A CH-47 Chinook from the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, is loaded onto a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
(Department of Defense)
Celebratory gunfires light up part of the night sky after the last US aircraft took off from the airport in Kabul
Celebratory gunfire lights up the sky after the last U.S. aircraft took off from the airport in Kabul early on Tuesday in Afghanistan.
(AFP/Getty Images)
Planes are seen on the tarmac at the airport in Kabul late on August 30, 2021, hours ahead of a US deadline
Planes are seen on the tarmac at the airport Monday, hours ahead of the U.S. deadline to complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan.
(AFP/Getty Images)
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US soldiers board an US Air Force aircraft at the airport in Kabul on August 30, 2021
U.S. soldiers board an Air Force craft Monday at the Kabul airport.
(Aamir Qureshi / AFP/Getty Images )
TOPSHOT - US soldiers stand on the tarmac as an US Air Force aircraftprepares to deaprt.
U.S. soldiers stand on the tarmac as an Air Force craft prepare for takeoff.
(Aamir Qureshi/ AFP/Getty Images)
An US Air Force aircraft takes off from the airport in Kabul on August 30, 2021
A U.S. Air Force plane takes off Monday from the airport in Kabul.
(Aamir Qureshi/ AFP/Getty Images)