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The final moments of the US occupation of Afghanistan were captured in two images that were a reversal of the US invasion nearly 20 years ago: A US soldier leaving as Taliban fighters took control.

American Central Command identified the last soldier to depart as Major-General Chris Donahue, the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne. He was boarding the last flight from Kabul airport. Shortly after, the Los Angeles Times published a video of its Middle East bureau chief, Nabih Bulos, entering the airport with Taliban fighters.

The image of Major Donahue, a gun in his right hand, boarding a C-17 plane on Monday night is enveloped in a green tint reminiscent of night vision goggles.

Nearby, and soon after, a handful of Taliban fighters were checked in casually walk into an airport hangar. The moment was captured in a 30-second video, viewed nearly two million times on Twitter, by Mr Bulos.

The overhang is well lit. Fighters walk past an empty swivel chair and make their way to one side of the hangar, where several helicopters are unoccupied.

The fighters, according to Mr. Bulos, entered “only a few minutes ago” a part of the airport watched by the Americans. In another video posted by Mr. Bulos, Taliban fighters fire in the air in celebration.

Both images capture 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.



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