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Afghanistan: Last US troops to leave Bagram Air Base today as withdrawal nears completion

News Agencies | Updated on: 2 July 2021, 10:35 IST
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The last contingent of US troops are expected to leave the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan on Friday, said a senior defense official, marking the end of the American presence at the compound that became the centre of military power in the country.

As the United States prepares to withdraw its troops from the conflict-torn country under President Joe Biden's order to end America's 'forever war', the full withdrawal of US troops from the country is expected very soon, reported CNN.

Nearly two decades after the first American troops arrived at Bagram and helped take control of the field after the 9/11 attacks, the transfer of the field to the Afghan military proceeded without fanfare.

The airfield had become a small city in its own right, complete with shops, gyms, and classrooms for the thousands of service members and contractors who worked at the base and its facilities. It was the jumping-off point for military operations throughout the country, with space for cargo aircraft, fighter jets, and attack helicopters, CNN reported.

Bagram was the entry point for tens of thousands of troops who came into the country as part of the their war on terror.

This comes amid the violent conflict between Afghan security forces and the Taliban, who have waged a relentless cross-country battle against the Afghan military, pushing back government forces and overrunning a growing number of districts.

For years, the base was the target of numerous Taliban attacks, including suicide bombings and rocket attacks. The Pentagon had been drawing down the troop presence in Afghanistan for years, but the Doha Agreement, signed between the Trump administration and the Taliban in Qatar in February 2020, signaled the beginning of the end.

The Biden administration made it clear the last remaining troops would be out by September 11 at the latest, but as the withdrawal progressed, it became clear they would be our far earlier.

On Thursday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with Afghan Minister of Defense Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, saying the United States was invested in the "security and stability of Afghanistan" as the withdrawal neared its completion, CNN reported.

Earlier, Italy completed its troop exit from Afghanistan and the control of the Herat's airport and the military camp was handed over to Afghan forces. Herat was under the control of the Italian military for the last 20 years.

Meanwhile, Germany also completed the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan.
Germany's decision came nearly after 20 years of mission in the country. A contingent of around 570 soldiers was called back from Afghanistan.

Both Germany and Italy de-escalated their militaries from the region to mark their non-engagement in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's (NATO)'Resolute Support' mission.


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First published: 2 July 2021, 10:29 IST