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US troops leave Afghanistan’s Bagram airbase as withdrawal nears completion

American armed forces are withdrawing from Afghanistan after more than 20 years in the country

American armed forces are withdrawing from Afghanistan after more than 20 years in the country (Picture: AFP)

US armed forced have left the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan which has acted as the epicenter of America’s war with the Taliban for almost 20 years.

America took control of the airfield following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in a bid to defeat al-Quaida and associated militants in the war-torn country.

Full control of the airfield has now been handed back over to the Afghan National Security and Defense Force, US officials said on Friday.

The landmark move to pull out of Bagram indicates that the complete withdrawal of US troops fro Afghanistan is nearing the finish line.

Afghan soldiers stand guard at the gate of Bahram U.S. air base, on the day the last American troops vacated it, Parwan province, Afghanistan July 2, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Afghan soldiers stand guard at the gate of Bahram air base on the day the last American troops vacated it (Picture: Reuters)
A US military air force jet lands at a US military base in Bagram, some 50 km north of Kabul on July 1 (Picture AFP/Getty)

In April president Joe Biden announced his intentions to end ‘America’s longest war’ by bringing home the remaining 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan before September 11.

Following a raft of recent American Army departures from the South Asian nation, it’s thought that the withdrawal of allied forced may be completed closer to July 4 than the anniversary of 9/11.

As of this week most Nato soldiers, an estimated 7,000 troops, have already quietly exited.

Announcements from several countries analysed by AP show that a majority of European troops has now left with little ceremony.

A Taliban spokesman has called the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan a ‘positive step’, reports CNN.

In this file photo taken on January 15, 2002, American soldiers approach the United Nations planes on the tarmac of the Bargam airbase in Bagram. - All US and NATO troops have left Bagram Air Base, a US defence official told AFP Friday, signalling the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan was imminent. (Photo by JIMIN LAI / AFP) (Photo by JIMIN LAI/AFP via Getty Images)

Pictured on January 15, 2002, American soldiers approach a United Nations planes on the tarmac of the Bargam airbase (Picture: AFP/Getty)
Gavin Shaw, aged five, flashes a smile as he hugs his father, Master Sergeant Adam Shaw, during a Welcome Home Ceremony for approximately 230 soldiers in 2012 (Picture: Getty)

Zabiullah Mojahid said: ‘The presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan was a reason for continuation of fighting in the country.

‘If foreign forces leave Afghanistan, Afghans can decide future issues among themselves.

‘We will step forward for the security of the country and our hope for the peace would increase and inshallah we will have development.’

On Thursday, US Defense secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with Afghan Minister of Defense, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, to say the US is still invested in the ‘security and stability of Afghanistan’ as the withdrawal steams ahead.

The US has so far refused to say when the last of its soldier will leave Afghanistan, citing security concerns.

Bagram, which has a two-mile runway, was the jumping off point for military operations throughout the country. It was here that cargo aircraft, fighter jets, and attack helicopters landed and took off.

FILE - In this Dec. 24, 2017 file photo, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff speaks during a ceremony on Christmas Eve at Bagram Air Base, in Afghanistan. In 2001 the armies of the world united behind America and Bagram Air Base, barely an hours drive from the Afghan capital Kabul, was chosen as the epicenter of Operation Enduring Freedom, as the assault on the Taliban rulers was dubbed. It's now nearly 20 years later and the last US soldier is soon to depart the base. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)

In this December 2017 photo general Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks during a ceremony on Christmas Eve at Bagram Air Base, in Afghanistan (Picture: AP)

Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump all visited Bagram during their time in office, promising victory and a better future for Afghanistan.

The US and Nato withdrawal comes as Taliban militants make concerning gains in several parts of the country, overrunning dozens of districts and overwhelming the Afghan security Forces.

At a press conference earlier this week, US general Austin Miller warned that continued violence risked a civil war in Afghanistan, adding the world should be worried.

At its peak, Bagram airfield saw more than 100,000 US troops pass through its huge military compound, which is around an hour’s drive north of the Afghan capital of Kabul.

The war in Afghanistan has taken an estimated 3,500 coalition lives, an unknown number of Taliban fighters and thousands of innocent Afghan civilians.

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Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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