February 28, 2024

Lance Cpl. Patrick Reeder, with Combined Anti-Armor Team 2, patrols Nawa district, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Oct. 28, 2009.

Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. James Purschwitz

WASHINGTON – Since President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, the US has completed up to 20% of the withdrawal process from the country, the US Central Command said on Tuesday. The Biden government said Monday that the conflict between Israel and Hamas would not stop these efforts.

Command monitored the removal of approximately 115 loads of equipment in C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft. More than 5,000 pieces of equipment that will not be handed over to the Afghan military have also been handed over to the Defense Logistics Agency for destruction.

The US has also officially handed over five facilities to the Afghan military. Central Command estimates the US has completed between 13% and 20% of the withdrawal process so far.

In April, Biden announced a full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, ending America’s longest war.

The removal of approximately 3,000 US soldiers coincides with the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks that spurred America’s entry into protracted wars in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Biden’s withdrawal schedule breaks with a proposed deadline agreed by the Trump administration and the Taliban last year. All foreign armed forces should have left Afghanistan by May 1 under this agreement.

Last month, the White House confirmed that US troops had begun withdrawing from Afghanistan. The Pentagon was proactively deploying additional troops and military equipment to protect the armed forces in the area, the government said.

The central command has not disclosed the number of troops currently stationed there due to operational security measures.

On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki downplayed concerns that the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas would curb the Biden government’s ambitions to complete a full withdrawal from Afghanistan.

When asked if troops would stay in the area to possibly aid in peacekeeping missions, Psaki told reporters that the government did not expect to miss its withdrawal deadline.

“I did not become aware of any overlap concerns with our Afghan withdrawal plans,” said Psaki.

In a phone call Monday afternoon with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden voiced concerns about the rising civilian death toll and expressed support for a ceasefire.

Violence between militants from Israel and Hamas has increased for more than a week. Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip have resulted in at least 212 Palestinian deaths, according to the authorities there.

Meanwhile, Israel has said that more than 3,400 rockets have bombed its cities. At least 12 people have died in Israel.

The violence marked the largest escalation of the conflict in years. On Tuesday, the European Union was the last to call for a ceasefire.