According to the new commander of Bagram Airfield, US left Bagram the base in the middle of the night without alerting Afghans.
“Secretly,” the Americans fled Bagram.
According to General Asadullah Kohistani, the US left Bagram about 3 a.m. local time on Friday, and Afghan forces learned of the departure hours later.
Bagram also has a prison, which is thought to accommodate up to 5,000 Taliban detainees. The Taliban has made remarkable gains as US troops withdraw from Afghanistan.
On Monday, General Kohistani warned Afghan forces were bracing for an attack by the Taliban on Bagram.He told reporters at the airbase that he had already received reports that the group was “moving in rural areas” nearby.
“You know, there’s a significant difference between us and the Americans,” Gen Kohistani stated. “However, to the best of our abilities… we are attempting to do our best and secure and assist as many people as possible.”
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The US declared on Friday that it had evacuated Bagram, officially ending its military engagement in Afghanistan ahead of President Joe Biden’s earlier-stated end date of September 11.
The Pentagon’s Central Command said on Tuesday that the departure of US soldiers from Afghanistan is more than 90% complete.
American spoils of war in Bagram
According to Gen. Kohistani, the Americans left behind around 3.5 million goods, including tens of thousands of bottles of water, energy drinks, and military ready-made meals, or MREs. According to the Associated Press, they also left behind thousands of civilian automobiles with no keys and hundreds of armoured vehicles.
They took heavy weapons and detonated some ammo supplies, but Gen Kohistani stated they left small arms and ammunition for the Afghans. When asked about the late-night evacuation from the base by the Associated Press, US military spokesman Colonel Sonny Leggett replied to a statement released last week in which US soldiers indicated they had coordinated their departure from several bases with Afghan leaders.
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According to the Associated Press, the electricity was turned off and the base was plunged into darkness within 20 minutes after the US leftBagram, signalling looters who stormed over obstacles and plundered the abandoned buildings. Items left behind from the base have wound up at scrap yards and secondhand shops in the area.
What is Bagram and since when has it existed?
The Bagram complex housed tens of thousands of troops at its peak. It grew from a simple Afghan airbase to a mini-city with swimming pools, theatres, spas, and Burger King and Pizza Hut imported fast-food restaurants.
The Soviet Union developed the airfield in the 1950s and used it as a vital base to defend their occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. It was afterwards seized by the Moscow-backed Afghan government, followed by a mujahideen administration, before falling into Taliban hands in the mid-1990s when the group surged to power.
When the US invaded in 2001, the Taliban were toppled and the airfield was taken over, transforming it into a huge complex from which the US waged war against the Taliban.
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The US’s late-night evacuation leaves the base in the hands of a considerably less well-equipped military, which may struggle to protect it against the Taliban, who have made rapid inroads across the nation in recent weeks, taking rural areas and encircling some larger cities.
In the last 24 hoursafter the US left Bagram, the organization claims to have taken over ten new districts. Despite the changes on the ground, stalled peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government were revived last week in Doha, Qatar’s capital.