Monday/ wheels up, for the last time

It’s official: America’s 20 year-long war in Afghanistan is over.
The last cargo plane from the United States armed forces had left at midnight Kabul time on Monday night. Someone on noted that the United States military has ceased to provide air traffic control functions at Kabul Airport, and that the entirety of Afghan airspace is now without air traffic control.

‘Afghanistan has once more completed a cycle that has repeatedly defined the past 40 years of violence and upheaval: For the fifth time since the Soviet invasion in 1979, one order has collapsed and another has risen. What has followed each of those times has been a descent into vengeance, score-settling and, eventually, another cycle of disorder and war’, writes Thomas Gibbons-Neff for the New York Times.

Aug 30, 2021 U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, the last service member to board the last airplane out of Hamid Karzai International Airport. There were no civilians on this flight. The C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane’s handle is MOOSE94, and it was wheels-up one minute before midnight local time, on Aug 30. (So technically there were still 24 hours left before the Aug 31 midnight deadline). [Hand-out photo from U.S. Central Command, via Getty]
Aug 15, 2021: Then there was this flight, crammed with some 640 Afghan evacuees, leaving Kabul airport for Doha, Qatar. The surge of anxious people had boarded the airplane, and the crew decided to just take off, even though the plane was not nearly designed to provide proper seating for nearly as many passengers. 
[Hand-out photo from U.S. Air Force]

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