- After nearly 20 years, American and coalition soldiers have left Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.
- According to the US military, the base has been handed over to the Afghan security forces.
This was announced by a senior US military official. The Afghan Ministry of Defense also confirmed the delivery. The base will be used to fight terrorism.
The official added that the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Austin Scott Miller, still had all the skills and powers to protect the force.
Bagram Air Base is the largest base for coalition forces in Afghanistan and also the headquarters of the US Army in the country. Bagram is located about 40 kilometers north of the capital, Kabul.
Bagram military base
At peak times, there were more than 100,000 US troops at Bagram base, which is only an hour’s drive north of the Afghan capital, Kabul.
The airport was built by the Soviet Union in the 1950s. When it invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to support a communist government, it made it its main base. From here, she wanted to defend her occupation of the country. For ten years, the Soviets fought against the US-backed Mujahideen.
When the US and NATO took control of Bagram in 2001, they found it in ruins, a group of dilapidated buildings torn apart by missiles and grenades, and most of the fence destroyed. It was abandoned after being badly damaged in the fighting between the Taliban and rival Mujahideen warlords.
The massive base now has two runways. The most recent one was built in 2006 for $96 million. On the base there is a 50-bed hospital with a trauma ward, three operating rooms and a modern dental clinic. Another part houses a notorious prison that Afghans fear.
The withdrawal from Bagram Air Base is the clearest indication that the last American soldiers have left Afghanistan or are about to withdraw. US President Joe Biden has promised to withdraw all troops by 9/11.
NATO withdrew its forces
It appears that most NATO soldiers have already withdrawn this week. Reports from several countries show that the majority of European troops left without much celebration. The United States has not officially announced the date of the departure of the last American soldiers from Afghanistan for security reasons.
Taliban welcome troop withdrawal
The Taliban thanked the United States for its withdrawal from Bagram air base. “We see this withdrawal as a positive step. “Afghans can move closer to stability and peace with the complete withdrawal of foreign forces,” a Taliban spokesman told Reuters.
In addition, the protection of the international airport in Kabul is currently still under the task of Resolute Support of the US Army. Until a new agreement to protect the airport is negotiated between Turkey and the Afghan government, and possibly the United States, the mission of Resolute Support will likely continue.
The United States will also have about 6,500 troops in Afghanistan to protect its sprawling embassy in the capital. Their presence is regulated by a bilateral agreement with the Afghan government.
The US and NATO withdrawal comes at a time when the Taliban are on the rise in several parts of the country, sweeping across dozens of provinces and overshadowing the faltering Afghan security forces.