The final moments of the US occupation of Afghanistan were captured in two images that reversed the US invasion nearly 20 years ago: a US soldier who left as Taliban fighters took control.
US Central Command identified the last soldier to leave as Major General Chris Donahue, the Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne. He boarded the last flight from Kabul airport. Shortly after, the Los Angeles Times posted a video of Middle East bureau chief Nabih Bulos entering the airport with Taliban fighters.
The image of Major Donahue, a firearm in his right hand, boarding a C-17 aircraft Monday night is shrouded in the green hue reminiscent of night vision goggles.
Nearby, and shortly after, a handful of Taliban soldiers… included casually walking into an airport hanger. The moment was captured in a 30 second video, viewed nearly 2 million times on Twitter, by Mr Nabih Bulos.
The pendant is bright light. Soldiers walk past an empty swivel chair to one side of the hanger, where several helicopters sit unoccupied.
The soldiers, who according to Mr. Bulos, entered “what was only a few minutes ago” was an American patrolled area of the airport. In another video posted by mr. Bulos, Taliban soldiers fire celebratory gunfire into the air.
The two images show the unlikely transfer of power between the United States, which invaded the country in 2001, and the Taliban, who have since waged a bloody campaign to return to power.