Last U.S. and NATO troops leave Afghanistan’s main base

U.S. Air Force transport plane lands at Bagram Airfield in Bagram on July 1, 2021

U.S. Air Force was still using Bagram on Thursday

Defense officials say the last US and NATO troops have left Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, the center of the war with militants, for almost 20 years.

The withdrawal may indicate an imminent complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

President Joe Biden said the US military would be gone by September 11.

However, the withdrawal from the vast base north of Kabul comes as the major jihadist group, the Taliban, advances in many parts of Afghanistan.

The deadline of September 11th was the anniversary of the 2001 attack on the United States, killing nearly 3,000 people.

The attack was carried out by al-Qaeda, an international jihadist group based in Afghanistan at the time, with the support of the Taliban, which had ruled the country since the 1990s. A US-led coalition invaded Afghanistan later that year, defeating both groups.

The United States now wants to end its longest war with enormous costs of human life and enormous costs, leaving the Afghan government to security.

It is believed that about 2,500 to 3,500 US troops remain in Afghanistan until recently, leaving with about 7,000 other coalition forces, leaving less than 1,000 US troops.

Meanwhile, the Taliban, which was revived with the expectation of the withdrawal of foreign troops, conquered dozens of districts in fear of a new civil war breaking out after the withdrawal of foreign troops.

Taliban Top Target

Analysis Box by Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet

Analysis Box by Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet

Bagram is the bell of what’s to come. This symbol of the US military was once the base of the Soviet army. Today, Afghan security forces will soon face the challenge of securing this vast city within the city.

Bagram is essential in a symbolic and strategic way. Taliban fighters advancing in districts across the country have this award in their sight. Even last October, the bustling townspeople told us that the Taliban were already in the midst of them.

During a recent base visit, I heard how Afghan security forces saw it as a mixed blessing when the United States packed it. There are abundant military assets in the wall. But the treasure is the Taliban’s number one target, not to mention the corrupt commanders and others who are aiming for this luck.

For the myriad Afghans whose lives and livelihoods have long relied on this foundation, and for those who now feel abandoned, Bagram’s new chapter is deeply worrisome.

Why is Bagram so important?

Built during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s and named after a nearby village, the airfield is about 40 km (25 miles) north of Kabul.

In December 2001, a US-led coalition was enlisted and developed into a huge base that could accommodate up to 10,000 troops.

With two runways and the latest runway length of 3.6 km, large cargo and bombers can land.

There are 110 parking lots for aircraftAccording to the Associated Press, it was protected by a blast wall and had a 50-bed hospital with a trauma bay, three operating rooms and a state-of-the-art dental office.

The hangar and building contained major prison facilities for those detained by the US military during the height of the conflict. It became known as Guantanamo in Afghanistan after the infamous US military prison in Cuba.

Bagram was one of the locations identified in a US Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation of al-Qaeda, including the use of torture in detention facilities.

What will happen next?

Afghan officials told Reuters that an official ceremony to commemorate the delivery of Bagram will be held on Saturday.

According to the Associated Press, about 650 US troops will stay in the country to help protect diplomats and protect Kabul’s international airport, an important landlocked transport hub.

They are guarding the airport with troops from Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States, but a new agreement for its security is being negotiated with the Afghan government.

US protection at the airport includes counter rockets, artillery, mortar systems, military support for operating them, and helicopter support.

Other US troops will protect the US Embassy in Kabul.

Military analysts say the Afghan government’s ability to maintain Bagram’s control is essential to its efforts to protect Kabul and push the Taliban back.

The Taliban stopped attacking the coalition after signing an agreement with the United States in February last year, but has continued to fight government forces.

Taliban spokesman Zabifra Mujahid welcomed the US withdrawal from Bagram and told Agence France-Presse that “Afghans will pave the way for themselves to decide on their future.”

The war is believed to have killed more than 47,000 Afghan civilians and nearly 70,000 Afghan troops. Life of 2,442 U.S. Soldiers and Over 3,800 U.S. Private Security Contractors, And 1,144 soldiers from other coalitions.

Brown University’s War Costs Project, which analyzes the American war of this century, The war cost the United States a total of $ 2.26 trillion (£ 1.64tn).

Click here to see BBC Interactive

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