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.