The flight crew assigned to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, carry their equipment into a C-17 Globemaster III assigned to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina on April 27, 2021.

Staff Sgt. Kylee Gardner | U.S. Air Force photo

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon reached the center of its Herculean task Tuesday of withdrawing troops and equipment from Afghanistan.

The US military, following an update from US Central Command, has removed the equivalent of around 500 loads of material that were flown out of the country on large cargo planes.

Approximately 13,000 pieces of equipment that will not be handed over to the Afghan military have been turned over to the Defense Logistics Agency for destruction. The US officially handed over six facilities to the Afghan military.

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

Biden’s withdrawal deadline breaks with a proposed deadline that the Trump administration negotiated with the Taliban last year. Accordingly, all foreign armed forces should have left Afghanistan by May 1st.

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.

In a call to reporters on Monday, US Central Commander General Frank McKenzie said the US was involved in negotiations on counter-terrorism bases following the withdrawal of US troops.

“It is our intention to continue tracking Al-Qaeda and ISIS from other locations in the theater and we are now working with friends in the area to further establish that ability as we move forward,” McKenzie said.