According to a report from AFP, the US will hand over Bagram Air Base to the Afghan government in about 20 days.
“I can confirm we will hand over Bagram Air Base,” an unnamed US military official told AFP. The report also cited an unnamed Afghan security official who said the handover was expected to happen in about 20 days.
The base at Bagram is the largest and most fortified military facility in Afghanistan that has been used by US and NATO forces. In May, Afghanistan’s Tolo News reported that locals in Bagram witnessed the US shipping truckloads of scrapped equipment out of the facility.
Also on Tuesday, US Central Command (CENTCOM) released its weekly update on the withdrawal process. It said the “retrograde” is between 30 and 44 percent complete, but the command is not disclosing troop numbers.
CENTCOM said as of Monday, the US has officially handed over six military facilities to Afghan forces and removed approximately 300 C-17 cargo planeloads out of the country since President Biden ordered the withdrawal.
Last week, The New York Times reported that the US and its allies are on track to be out of Afghanistan by early to mid-July, well before President Biden’s September 11th deadline. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the withdrawal was “slightly” ahead of schedule but did not offer a timeline.
While the withdrawal is moving along, the US will continue supporting the Afghan military. President Biden’s proposed 2022 Pentagon budget includes a $300 million boost in aid to Afghan forces, bringing the total of US military assistance for Kabul to $3.3 billion. The US is also looking to reposition forces in the region, and reports from Pakistan say Islamabad has granted the US permission to use its airspace for operations in Afghanistan and might have agreed to host a new US military base.
2 thoughts on “Report: US to Hand Over Bagram Air Base to Afghan Forces in 20 Days”
Will we get our money back?
The US had a “Northern Distribution Network” that moved supplies into Afghanistan over land. It had once included three former-Soviet airbases that allowed staging of some supplies by air, K-2, Manus, and Karshi Air Base. All were closed to the US some years ago. None were very good as air bases anyway.
With the air bases in Afghanistan closing, the US will want to find some new bases in the region. India has never wanted US bases. Pakistan has none despite the long war. The Northern ones were all closed, and accessed via overland through Russia.
It is hard to see how the US could in practice replace what it is giving up in Afghanistan. That is no doubt the real reason the DoD so vigorously fights the idea of withdrawal. It is not about Afghanistan at all, it is about bases for drones and recon over Iran and China.
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