US withdrawal from Afghanistan 2-6% complete

A US soldier aboard a Chinook helicopter over Kabul, Afghanistan, on May 2, 2021. PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States has completed 2 to 6 per cent of its withdrawal from Afghanistan, with the equivalent of 60 cargo planes of material so far removed ahead of the September deadline, officials said on Tuesday (May 4).

US Central Command said 1,300 pieces of equipment had been sent for destruction and one facility in the southern province of Helmand had been transferred to the Afghan army since President Joe Biden's April 14 announcement of the pullout.

The US military is to publish weekly updates on the withdrawal, including on "the retrograde of troops and equipment" and turning over equipment and facilities to the Afghan security forces.

Afghan troops have faced increased insurgent attacks in recent days in Helmand, where the United States on Sunday handed over the Antonik base as part of its formal pullout that began on May 1.

The US has downplayed the latest fighting and said the withdrawal process was unaffected as it removes its final 2,500 troops from the country.

US military leaders have raised fears that the Kabul government could fall to the Taleban after the pullout, and say the insurgents now control more Afghan territory than 10 years ago.

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