On Tuesday, President Joe Biden defended his decision to leave Afghanistan before safely evacuating all remaining U.S. citizens and allies. The president called the mission a "success," and claimed it was time to bring the U.S.'s longest war to a close.
"Bottom line, 90 percent of Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan were able to leave," claimed Biden. "And for those remaining Americans, we remain committed to getting them out. For those remaining Americans, there is no deadline, we remain committed to getting them out if they want to get out."
"Leaving August 31 is not due to an arbitrary deadline. It was designed to save American lives," Biden continued. "I was not going to extend this forever war and I was not going to extend this forever exit."
There was celebratory gunfire heard throughout Kabul Monday night as the last U.S. flight left Afghanistan. Army Major Gen. Chris Donahue, who led the evacuation mission, was the last to board the final flight just before midnight on Monday, marking the end of the U.S. withdrawal.
"Every single U.S. service member is now out of Afghanistan," announced Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command, shortly after the flight took off. "I can say that with 100 percent certainty."
According to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, about 120,000 people were evacuated in 17 days, but as many as 200 U.S. citizens remain in the country now under Taliban control.
"Many are dual-citizen Americans with deep roots and expanded families in Afghanistan who resided there for many years," explained Blinken. "For many, it's a painful choice."
The U.S. State Department sees diplomacy as the main hope for getting U.S. citizens and allies left behind out of the country.
Many Republicans are criticizing President Biden for not keeping this promise he made two weeks ago.
"If there's American citizens left, we're gonna stay to get them all out," Biden told ABC News's George Stephanopolous.
Also left behind were billions of dollars in military weaponry the Pentagon claims was deemed "inoperable" before the last U.S. troops left the country.
Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) tells CBN News we've left Afghanistan as bad off as when we got there 20 years ago.
"For us to exit in humiliation is just so hard for me to swallow," said DeMint.
He argued that what's happening now is not a surprise to our intelligence communities.
"There was no surprise by the defense department or intelligence agency as to what happened," claimed DeMint. "I was on foreign relations in the Senate over 10 years ago and we knew, especially in Afghanistan, that as soon as the Afghan army knew that Americans would not be there to back them up and pay their salary, that they would disintegrate overnight. It wouldn't happen over months. They would immediately know that the only way for them to live was to make peace with the Taliban."
He added, "Trump had a plan to get out. But he had a plan to get our citizens out, our equipment out, and before our soldiers went out to destroy anything that was left. It was not ideal but we either had to get out or leave a small force and keep our airbase."
Just hours after the U.S. completed its withdrawal, Al Qaeda congratulated the Taliban on its takeover of Afghanistan with both groups viewing it as a moment to incite and recruit new supporters to the global jihad movement.