Khabar, Kuwait – The last U.S. troops left Iraq. Almost nine years after the start of the operation that overthrew the regime of Saddam Hussein a final convoy crossed at dawn the Kuwaiti border on Sunday, confirming the end of one of the most controversial wars conducted by the United States.
Nearly 4,500 American soldiers have died and 32,000 were injured during this mission that will cost more than $ 800 billion (613 billion euros). And more than 100,000 Iraqis have died during this war.
The last train crossed the border at about 7:45 to get to Kuwait, where the soldiers celebrated their arrival. The journey of 110 armored troop carrier was uneventful, except for some equipment problems. The last 500 soldiers had left the night Camp Adder, their base in southern Iraq to cross the desert to Kuwait, a distance of about five hours.
A ceremony was held Thursday in Baghdad, in the presence of the Secretary of State for Defence Leon Panetta, to officially mark the end of the war in Iraq. But the date and circumstances of the departure of the last soldiers had been kept secret for security reasons, persistent signs of danger in Iraq.
The soldiers had not even told their Iraqi partners before leaving the last U.S. base in Iraq and to engage on the highway through the desert to Kuwait before dawn Sunday.
Inside one of the armored vehicles, the atmosphere remained silent during the journey in the dark. Along the route, the convoy crossed a small group of Iraqi soldiers who waved the U.S. military. “I have a thought for the Iraqis,” confided one of the soldiers, John Jewell. “It’s always the innocent who pay the bill.”
The Kuwaiti side, American soldiers were waiting for the convoy, cameras in hand. After crossing the border troops of the Third Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division of the U.S. Army have left their joy, raising fists and giving the victory hug. “We are at the top of the world!” Shouted a soldier.