US Forces Leaving Soviet-Built Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan After 20 Years; Five Things to Know

The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, following the 9/11 attacks. The troops are leaving the Afghan soil in batches after nearly 20 years.

The United States military has left Afghanistan's Bagram airbase after nearly 20 years. The Bagram base would be officially handed over to the Afghanistan government at a ceremony on July 3.

The US deployed its armed forces in Afghanistan to remove the Taliban and hunt down the al-Qaeda perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. American forces' entry into Afghanistan was backed by European troops in 2001, when the troops had showcased public display of force and unity. But now, most of the European troops have left Afghanistan with little ceremony. Here is all you need to know about the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.

US troops
A representative image of U.S. troops. Twitter

Withdrawal Strategies

1) The airbase will be completely handed over to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. More than 100,000 US troops deployed in the Bagram airbase are returning to their home country.

2) The move is part of US President Joe Biden's promise to end its forever war. By July 4, as many as 7,000 US soldiers and their NATO allies will return to their respective countries. Thus the US soldiers will be back in the country to celebrate Independence Day.

3) The information about the last batch of soldiers departing from Afghanistan has not been made public due to security reasons. Currently, Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport is still being protected by the Turkish and US soldiers.

4) However, it is said that about 6,500 US troops will still be in Afghanistan in order protect its embassy in Kabul. It is said that a bilateral agreement will be signed with the Afghanistan government in this regard.

5) In exchange of withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban has vowed to prevent any armed group from launching international attacks from the Afghan soil, say reports. However, Talban's efforts to hold talks with their Afghan rivals has not yielded any positive results yet.

The Bagram Airbase

The Bagram Airbase was built by Soviet Union in 1950s. The USSR used it as the main base when it invaded Afghanistan in 1979. But as the time passes and US and NATO inherited the Bagram in 2001, it was completely in ruins. The region was abandoned after the fight between Taliban and their rivals shifted to northern enclaves.

Currently, the base has two runways with a parking lot for aircraft surrounded by blast walls. There are three large hangars, a control tower and numerous support buildings. The airbase also has a 50-bed hospital with a trauma bay, three operating theatres and a modern dental clinic. Another prominent building in the area is used as a prison.