The United States has evacuated its troops from the Bagram air base, its main center of operations in Afghanistan, amid the withdrawal of international forces after almost two decades of war, as official sources confirmed this Friday to Efe.
The last of Afghanistan: Spain withdraws after 19 years
“All the coalition forces have already left Bagram,” said a senior officer of the US forces in Afghanistan without revealing his identity. The news has been advanced by the American chain Fox and confirmed by The Washington Post. As three defense officials explained to the latter, the Pentagon hopes to complete its withdrawal from the country in a few days.
The Afghan government has confirmed that Afghan forces have taken control of the air base. “All US and coalition troops left last night [este jueves] from Bagram Air Force Base. The base was handed over to the ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces), “confirmed a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense.” ANDSF will protect the base and use it to combat terrorism, “he added.
20 years of war
The Bagram base is the most important airfield for US forces and has remained under their control for the past two decades. It is, together with the Kabul base, the last to be handed over to the Afghan forces as part of the final phase of the withdrawal of international troops, according to the plan unveiled in April by the Afghan authorities.
The facility has long been used to launch strike planes against the Taliban and other jihadist groups and became the headquarters for US Special Operations troops in this conflict.
US President Joe Biden announced last April his intention to withdraw his nearly 3,500 troops from Afghanistan after reviewing for weeks the historic agreement reached between Washington and the Taliban in February last year in Doha. The process began on May 1 and Washington has announced that it will be completed before the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
More than 2,400 US soldiers have died in 20 years of fighting and 20,000 have been injured. Some 47,245 civilians have also died, along with tens of thousands of Afghan security forces, according to The Washington Post.
The US authorities even considered keeping Bagram open longer, while the Taliban continue an offensive that has surrounded numerous provincial capitals. But the Biden administration decided to continue with its withdrawal plan.
The war in Afghanistan, the longest in the history of the United States, began in October 2001 with the mission to hunt down the leadership of Al Qaeda after the attacks of September 11 of that year and that died in a United States operation. United in Pakistan in 2011.
Increase in violence
NATO allies have also begun withdrawing their roughly 7,000 troops. Germany announced on Wednesday that it has completed the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, which was the second largest international contingent in the Asian country behind the American, on the same day that Italy announced the departure of the remaining soldiers from the country.
The withdrawal of international forces has been accompanied by an increase in violence in the Asian country. Since May 1, the Taliban have captured nearly 80 of the 407 districts of government forces, raising serious concerns among Afghans regarding their intention to end the 20-year war peacefully.