US, Nato troops leave Afghanistan's Bagram air base after two decades
The complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan seems imminent, as all Nato and US troops left the largest air base in Afghanistan, as per an American official who spoke to a foreign news agency.
Bagram Air Base served as the linchpin for US operations in the rugged country, where the long war against the Taliban and their Al-Qaeda allies was fought with air strikes and resupply missions from the airfield.
“All coalition forces are off Bagram,” said the official on Friday—who asked not to be identified—without specifying when the last foreign troops left the base, 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Kabul.
He did not say when it will be officially handed over to Afghan forces.
The US military and Nato are in the final stages of winding up involvement in Afghanistan, bringing home an unspecified number of remaining troops by a deadline of September 11.
The Taliban have launched relentless offensives across Afghanistan in the past two months, gobbling up dozens of districts as Afghan security forces have largely consolidated their power in the country’s major urban areas.
The ability of Afghan forces to maintain control over the vital Bagram airfield will likely prove pivotal to maintaining security in the nearby capital Kabul and keeping pressure on the Taliban.
Over the years, the mini-city has been visited by hundreds of thousands of US and Nato service members and contractors.
It boasted swimming pools, cinemas and spas—and even a boardwalk featuring fast-food outlets such as Burger King and Pizza Hut.
The base also hosted a prison that held thousands of Taliban and jihadist inmates.
Bagram was built by the US for its Afghan ally during the Cold War in the 1950s as a bulwark against the Soviet Union in the north.
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