US hands Bagram Airfield to Afghans after nearly 20 years

KABUL, Afghanistan — After nearly 20 years, the US army left Bagram Airfield, the epicenter of its conflict to oust the Taliban and search out the al-Qaida perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist assaults on America, two US officers stated Friday.

The airfield was handed over to the Afghan National Security and Defense Force in its entirety, they stated on situation they not be recognized as a result of they weren’t licensed to launch the data to the media.

One of the officers additionally stated the US prime commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Austin S. Miller, “still retains all the capabilities and authorities to protect the forces.”

Miller met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Friday and in accordance to a Dari-language tweet by the presidential palace the 2 mentioned “continued US assistance and cooperation with Afghanistan, particularly in supporting the defense and security forces.”

There had been no specifics however the US is already dedicated to paying nearly $4 billion yearly till 2024 to finance the Afghani nationwide safety forces. While nobody was calling Miller’s go to a farewell, within the backdrop of the evacuation of Bagram Airfield it had the hallmarks of a goodbye.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s district administrator for Bagram, Darwaish Raufi, stated the American departure was achieved in a single day with none coordination with native officers, and consequently early Friday dozens of native looters stormed by the unprotected gates earlier than Afghan forces regained management.

US Army Gen. Austin Miller meets Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the presidential palace today in Kabul, Afghanistan.
US Army Gen. Austin Miller meets Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the presidential palace as we speak in Kabul, Afghanistan.

“They were stopped and some have been arrested and the rest have been cleared from the base,” Raufi informed The Associated Press, including that the looters ransacked a number of buildings earlier than being arrested and the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) took management.

“Unfortunately the Americans left without any coordination with Bagram district officials or the governor’s office,” Raufi stated. “Right now our Afghan security forces are in control both inside and outside of the base.”

The deputy spokesman for the protection minister, Fawad Aman, stated nothing of the early morning looting. He stated solely the bottom has been handed over and the “ANDSF will protect the base and use it to combat terrorism.”

The Taliban too welcomed the American withdrawal from Bagram Airfield. In a tweet by spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, they known as it a “positive step,” urging for the “withdrawal of foreign forces from all parts of the country.”

The earlier US administration had signed an settlement with the Taliban promising to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan.

US soldiers Bagram
The Taliban additionally welcomed the American withdrawal from Bagram Airfield.
(*20*)Getty Images

The withdrawal from Bagram Airfield is the clearest indication that the final of the two,500-3,500 US troops have left Afghanistan or are nearing a departure, months forward of President Joe Biden’s promise that they might be passed by Sept. 11.

It was clear quickly after the mid-April announcement that the US was ending its “forever war,” that the departure of US troopers and their estimated 7,000 NATO allies could be nearer to July 4, when America celebrates its Independence Day.

Most NATO troopers have already quietly exited as of this week. Announcements from a number of nations analyzed by The Associated Press present {that a} majority of European troops has now left with little ceremony — a stark distinction to the dramatic and public present of drive and unity when NATO allies lined up to again the US invasion in 2001.

The US has refused to say when the final US soldier would depart Afghanistan, citing safety issues, but additionally the safety of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport remains to be being negotiated. Turkish and US troopers at the moment are defending the airport. That safety is at the moment lined beneath the Resolute Support Mission, which is the army mission being wound down.

The US and NATO leaving comes as Taliban insurgents make strides in a number of elements of the nation.
(*20*)Getty Images

Until a brand new settlement for the airport’s safety is negotiated between Turkey and the Afghan authorities, and presumably the United States, the Resolute Support mission would seem to have to proceed so as to give worldwide troops the authorized authority.

The US will even have about 650 troops in Afghanistan to defend its sprawling embassy within the capital. Their presence it’s understood might be lined in a bilateral settlement with the Afghan authorities.

The US and NATO leaving comes as Taliban insurgents make strides in a number of elements of the nation, overrunning dozens of districts and overwhelming beleaguered Afghan safety Forces.

In a worrying growth, the federal government has resurrected militias with a historical past of brutal violence to help the Afghan safety forces. At what had all of the hallmarks of a ultimate press convention, Gen. Miller this week warned that continued violence risked a civil conflict in Afghanistan that ought to have the world nervous.

At its peak round 2012, Bagram Airfield noticed greater than 100,000 US troops cross by its sprawling compound barely an hour’s drive north of the Afghan capital Kabul.

The departure is rife with symbolism. Not least, it’s the second time that an invader of Afghanistan has come and gone by Bagram.

The Soviet Union constructed the airfield within the Nineteen Fifties. When it invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to again a communist authorities, it turned it into its primary base from which it might defend its occupation of the nation. For 10 years, the Soviets fought the US-backed mujahedeen, dubbed freedom fighters by President Ronald Reagan, who noticed them as a front-line drive in one of many final Cold War battles.

An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier stands guard at Bagram Air Base
At its peak round 2012, Bagram Airfield noticed greater than 100,000 US troops cross by its sprawling compound.
(*20*)AFP through Getty Images

When the US and NATO inherited Bagram in 2001, they discovered it in ruins, a set of crumbling buildings, gouged by rockets and shells, most of its perimeter fence wrecked. It had been deserted after being battered within the battles between the Taliban and rival mujahedeen warlords fleeing to their northern enclaves.

The monumental base has two runways. The most up-to-date, at 12,000 toes lengthy, was in-built 2006 at a value of $96 million. There are 110 revetments, that are mainly parking spots for plane, protected by blast partitions. WorldSecurity, a safety assume tank, says Bagram contains three massive hangars, a management tower and quite a few assist buildings. The base has a 50-bed hospital with a trauma bay, three working theaters and a contemporary dental clinic. Another part homes a jail, infamous and feared amongst Afghans.

There was no speedy remark from Afghan officers as to the ultimate withdrawal from Bagram Airfield by the US and its NATO allies.

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