Since President Biden announced his plan to withdraw from Afghanistan, many observers have wondered what would become of Bagram Air Base, the largest US military facility in the country. According to a report from Afghanistan’s Tolo News, the US has been moving truckloads of scrapped equipment out of the airfield on a daily basis.
Local residents said between 20 to 30 trailer trucks loaded with scrapped equipment are leaving the base each day to be sold. “Their spare parts are good, but not when they are scrapped. Now that they are leaving, they are scrapping all their equipment at the base,” Haji Hasib, a Bagram resident, told Tolo.
Some locals said that instead of scrapping vehicles and equipment, the US should hand everything over to the Afghan forces. “They should be handed over to Afghan forces because they are at war. Our security is not good. We are in dire need of them,” said Abdul Wahab, a Bagram resident.
Another Bagram resident said the US is scrapping armored Lexus and Hilux SUVs. “Each of their vehicles is worth over 100,000 dollars. They are all from the Afghan nation’s blood,” the resident said.
While President Biden ordered all troops out by September 11th, comments from US military officials have suggested that the US might try to leave a small presence in the country. Because the facility is so large and fortified, the base at Bagram would be the obvious choice to leave troops. The fact that the US is scrapping so much equipment at Bagram is a sign that the Biden administration might be committed to a full withdrawal.
US Central Command said on Tuesday that the withdrawal process is about 13 to 20 percent complete. The command is not disclosing troop numbers but said 115 C-17 cargo planes worth of equipment has been removed, and five facilities have been handed over to the Afghan government.
While the withdrawal appears to be moving along, the US plans to keep supporting the Afghan military financially to maintain influence in the country, and there will almost certainly be a continued CIA presence. The Pentagon also wants to be able to bomb targets in Afghanistan after the withdrawal and is considering repositioning forces in neighboring countries.