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end of an era

Army general was the final U.S. soldier to leave Afghanistan

The last American soldier to leave Afghanistan on Monday was U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue.

The commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps, Donahue arrived in Afghanistan earlier this month, sent to the country to help as the United States completed its military withdrawal. His team worked to secure Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul amid evacuation efforts, and the XVII Airborne Corps tweeted that this was "an incredibly tough, pressurized mission filled with multiple complexities, with active threats the entire time. Our troops displayed grit, discipline, and empathy." 

Donahue, who previously worked as a special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been deployed 17 times, serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, North Africa, and Eastern Europe. When he climbed aboard the last C-17 cargo plane to leave Kabul on Monday, it officially ended the U.S. mission in the city, the Department of Defense said. The department tweeted a photo — taken with a night lens — showing Donahue getting on the plane, carrying his firearm. 

Over the course of the 20-year war in Afghanistan, more than 775,000 troops deployed to the country, with over 2,400 killed in combat.