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He Is the Last American Soldier to Leave Afghanistan

Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue is pictured boarding a C-17 in Kabul
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2021 6:25 AM CDT
Updated Aug 31, 2021 6:43 AM CDT
He Is the Last American Soldier to Leave Afghanistan
Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, commander of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division, 18th Airborne Corps, boards a C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport. He is the final US service member to leave Afghanistan. The image was made through a night vision scope.   (U.S. Central Command via AP)

(Newser) – The last American troops left Afghanistan on Monday, and the very last soldier to leave has been identified as Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, reports USA Today. The Pentagon tweeted what may become an iconic photo of Donahue boarding a C-17 aircraft at the Kabul airport, an image made with a night-vision lens. Donahue is the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. The plane he was on flew out at 11:59pm Kabul time, just ahead of the US withdrawal deadline, per Defense One, which has a detailed account of the mission's dangerous final hours.

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“Donahue, one of the last things he did before leaving, was talk to the Taliban commander he’d been coordinating with … about the time we were gonna leave just to let them know that we were leaving,” Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, later told reporters. The last order on the military chat checklist read, "Flush the force," and when that went out, the last few military planes began taxiing. The final message on the chat log came from Donahue himself just before his C-17 took off. "Job well done," he wrote. "I'm proud of you all." (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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