US, NATO Kicked Off Historical Withdrawal From Afghanistan

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US, NATO Kicked Off Historical Withdrawal From Afghanistan

An 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron airman observes a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan. IMAGE: US Air Force

The United States and NATO have begun withdrawing their troops from several bases in Afghanistan, Commander of the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, General Austin S. Miller said at press conference on April 25.

According to Gen. Miller, the US and NATO will eventually hand over all their bases in Afghanistan to local government forces.

“We have started withdrawing from a number of bases … Even if Afghanistan has access to a peace agreement, we have been told to leave,” the general said.

US forces are planning to hand over three military bases and one airport to the Afghan national defense and security forces in the upcoming two weeks. Kandahar Airport, Camp Shorabak, Camp Eggers, and Dash Towp are all expected to be handed over to local defense and security sectors.

US President Joe Biden vowed to withdraw US troops by 11 September, on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. In turn, the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg revealed that the military block will pull its troops from Afghanistan by 1 May.

On April 24, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby revealed that extra defenses may be deployed in Afghanistan to secure the withdrawal process.

According to Kirby, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had decided to keep the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the region for a period of time, as well as to send several B-52 long-range bombers.

“The secretary’s been clear, we have to assume it would be foolhardy and imprudent not to assume that there could be resistance and opposition to the drawdown by the Taliban given their staunch rhetoric,” Kirby said, according to The Hill. “We’ve made it clear that force protection is going to be a priority as we begin to move all our military personnel out of Afghanistan and that means giving the commander on the ground, [U.S. Forces Afghanistan head Gen. Scott Miller], options. … Things like bombers provide you options, things like strike aircraft off an aircraft carrier provide you options. Options are important in a mission like this.”

Around 2,500 US troops and an unknown number of special operations forces are currently present in Afghanistan. The Taliban refused to take part in any peace talks unite the US withdrawal had been completed.

A recent report by the CNN revealed that the US may temporary deploy up to 1,000 additional ground troops in order to secure the historical withdrawal process.

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