Air carriers work with maintenance personnel to load a UH-60L Blackhawk helicopter into a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III during the American Forces withdrawal from Afghanistan June 16, 2021.
US Army | via Reuters
The US military has withdrawn more than 90 percent of its troops and equipment from Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.
The update comes about two months ahead of the deadline that President Joe Biden set earlier this year. The United States has been at war in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years.
According to an update from the US Central Command, the US military has flown around 980 loads of material out of the country on large cargo planes.
Approximately 17,000 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 seven facilities to the Afghan military.
Last week, the US military quietly left Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, a historic milestone after Biden’s order to withdraw US forces from the country.
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On Friday, two US officials told NBC News, on condition of anonymity, that the decision had not yet been officially announced that the US had turned the air base over to the Afghan National Security and Defense Force.
In 2012, at its peak, Bagram looked through more than 100,000 U.S. soldiers. It was the largest US military facility in Afghanistan.
In April, the White House confirmed that US troops had begun the withdrawal process from Afghanistan and the Pentagon had deployed additional troops and military equipment to protect troops in the region during the withdrawal.
“Potential opponents should know that we are defending ourselves if they attack us as we retreat. [and] our partners, with all means at our disposal, “White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters who traveled with Air Force One in April.
“Although these measures will initially lead to an increase in troop levels, we remain determined to remove all US military personnel from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021,” she said, adding that the Biden administration has a “safe and responsible” I intend to leave the war-torn country.
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.
The deportation has fueled concerns that Afghanistan could fall into further bloodshed following the withdrawal of US forces. The country’s supreme American general, Austin Miller, has warned that if the Taliban increase their power, civil war could ensue.
The Taliban are reportedly in possession of new weapons confiscated from the Afghan military, including 900 artillery pieces, 30 light tactical vehicles and 20 army pickup trucks.