US forces shy away in midnight from the ‘infamous’ Bagram base without intimation

KABUL: The Unites States left Afghanistan’s main military base, Bagram Airfield, after nearly 2 decades by just shutting off the power and slipping away in the middle of the night without notifying the Afghan officials who discovered the stealthy departure hours after they left.

Reports quoting the US Department of Defence said that they had completely vacated their biggest airfield, their epicenter in the fight against the insurgents, in the war-torn country, before a complete withdrawal scheduled for August this year.

The Bagram Air Base faced a blackout minutes after the American troops departed, an international media outlet reported saying the move allowed looters to storm the buildings, who looted the base in no time.

The quiet departure in the wee hours after 20 long years of unsuccessful battle has left many Afghan soldiers with a sense of abandonment as the US military spokesmen did not comment on the ‘no goodbye departure’.

Courtesy: Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

Bagram’s new commander, Gen. Mir Asadullah Kohistani, told an international news agency that “We heard some rumor that the Americans had left Bagram and finally by 7:00 in the morning, we understood that it was confirmed that they had already left the base.”

The abandoned base also contains a prison, and there are reportedly more than 5,000 Taliban prisoners left in the facility while the militants are advancing rapidly in the country following botched US withdrawal.

Kohistani further intimidated that the Taliban are expecting to attack the military base, as they have already received reports about their movements in adjourning areas. If we compare ourselves with the Americans, it’s a big difference but we are trying to retaliate in the best possible way, he added.

Courtesy: Rahmat Gul/AP

United States Friday announced that to vacate Bagram, effectively completing its military campaign in the war-torn country ahead of the official end date of 11 September announced by President Joe Biden earlier this year.

The Afghan senior official while speaking with a news outlet told that the US troops left a pile of items, including tens of thousands of water cans, energy drinks, readymade meals, along with thousands of civilian vehicles, without keys, and hundreds of armored vehicles. A report of an international news outlet told cited that tens of thousands of troops used to stay in the base with modern-day facilities including swimming pools, cinemas, spas, and fast food outlets.

Courtesy: Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

With the withdrawal of US forces from the Bagram Airbase, around 3,000 Afghan troops are currently in the largest military base – significantly less than US forces.

On Sunday, around 1,000 Afghan armed forces personnel fled across the border into Tajikistan Sunday following a Taliban attack in the Northern part of the country.

Reports cited that Tajikistan called in around 20,000 military reservists to beef up the border patrol after forces fled to the country and dozens more were taken captive by the insurgents.

Later, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also spoke with Tajik counterpart Emomali Rakhmon on Sunday to discuss the escalation near northern Afghanistan. Amid the withdrawal after the unproductive war, the Taliban claimed to capture over half of the districts in Afghanistan, including the key Tajik border.

Meanwhile, Bagram Air Base is buzzing with activity once again, as Afghan forces have settled into the vast premises, complete with its runways, barracks, control towers, and a hospital.

In recent days, Taliban spokesman also vowed to retaliate with a strong response if the Doha agreement between them and the US is violated in case any foreign troops remain in Afghanistan beyond the September 11 deadline, claiming that this violates the Doha agreement. Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, while speaking with a British news outlet, told that all foreign troops were required to exit the land-locked country by the deadline provided under the agreement signed between the insurgents and the US.

The alarming statement comes amid reports that around 1,000 US troops could remain deployed in Afghanistan to protect diplomatic missions and Kabul’s international airport.

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