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Photo shows last US service member departing Afghanistan

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Photo shows last US service member departing Afghanistan

This is the moment a decorated American soldier boarded a military cargo plane just before midnight Tuesday in Afghanistan — becoming the last US service member to leave the country.

The departure of Maj. Gen. Donahue, commander of the US. Army 82nd Airborne Division who was coordinating the evacuation from Afghanistan, marked an end to the longest US war that lasted nearly 20 years.

The milestone moment also “closes the U.S. mission to evacuate American citizens, Afghan Special Immigrant Visa applicants, and vulnerable Afghans,” US Central Command wrote in a statement accompanying the release of the picture.

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After the final flight, Donahue received a phone call from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who had watched the final 90 minutes of the military evacuation from a basement operations center in the Pentagon, a US official told The Associated Press.

Donahue, a graduate of the US military academy at West Point, has had an illustrious Army career that began in 1992.

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The two-star general has been deployed at least 17 times in support of operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other locations, according to a 2020 profile of him on the Army’s official website.

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