US troops withdraw from main base in Afghanistan

A US military plane landing at Bagram Air Base, about 60km north of the Afghan capital Kabul, this week. The withdrawal of American forces from the base symbolises the end of US military involvement in Afghanistan. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
A US military plane landing at Bagram Air Base, about 60km north of the Afghan capital Kabul, this week. The withdrawal of American forces from the base symbolises the end of US military involvement in Afghanistan. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

KABUL • American troops pulled out of their main military base in Afghanistan yesterday, a US defence official said, under an agreement with the Taleban allowing the withdrawal of all US forces from the nation after a two-decade war.

"All American soldiers and members of Nato forces have left Bagram Air Base," said the US official on condition of anonymity.

The United States military had been coordinating its air war and logistical support for its Afghan mission from Bagram Air Base, about 60km north of Kabul, and the withdrawal of the forces symbolises the end of US military involvement in the country.

The base is being handed over to the Afghan government as its armed forces face a surging war with the Taleban and questions swirl about their prospects.

Two other US security officials said this week that the majority of US military personnel would most likely be gone by tomorrow, with a residual force remaining to protect the embassy.

Last month, US President Joe Biden told his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani that "Afghans are going to have to decide their future, what they want".

Mr Ghani said his job was now to manage the consequences of the US withdrawal.

In exchange for the US withdrawal, the Taleban, fighting to expel foreign forces and oust the US-backed government, has vowed to prevent any international terrorism from Afghan soil.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2021, with the headline 'US troops withdraw from main base in Afghanistan'. Subscribe