U.S. Central Command indicated it turned over 17,074 pieces of equipment to the Defense Logistics Agency for "disposition," and the percent completion total will not be updated again in the future due to "operational security." A total of seven U.S. facilities have been taken over by authorities with the Afghan Ministry of Defense, the government body added.
The development is in line with President Joe Biden's April promise to remove remaining U.S. forces, approximately 3,500 soldiers, from the embattled country by Sept. 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. All troops are set to vacate Afghanistan by the end August, a few weeks prior to the 46th president's deadline.
Last week, U.S. forces left Bagram Airfield, the focal point for the war on terror, after occupying the strategic position for nearly 20 years. The Afghan National Security and Defense Force took control of the base following a meeting between Gen. Austin Miller, the top U.S. commander in the region, and the nation's President Ashraf Ghani.
The U.S. is set to shell out over $4 billion annually to fund Afghan forces, and Miller "still retains all the capabilities and authorities to protect the forces" that remain in the Middle Eastern country. Afghan authorities have criticized what they call an abrupt departure of U.S. forces in the area after looters stormed the airfield hours after soldiers reportedly packed up and left in the middle of the night.
"They were stopped, and some have been arrested, and the rest have been cleared from the base," Darwaish Raufi, the Afghan district administrator for Bagram, said of the looters last week.
"Unfortunately, the Americans left without any coordination with Bagram district officials or the governor's office," he added. "Right now, our Afghan security forces are in control both inside and outside of the base."
At the time of the Bagram withdrawal, approximately 2,500 soldiers and 1,000 special forces operators remained in the last leg of the U.S.'s longest war. In April, Biden insisted terrorist threats have "become more dispersed, metastasizing around the globe" in Syria, Iraq, Africa, and Asia, adding that it "makes little sense" to focus troops in Afghanistan when threats are present elsewhere.
"With the terror threat now in many places, keeping thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country at a cost of billions each year makes little sense to me and to our leaders," the president said. "We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for the withdrawal, and expecting a different result."
More than 2,600 Americans have died in Afghanistan since the start of the conflict after al Qaeda flew hijacked planes into the twin towers in New York City and the Pentagon in 2001.
Original Location: US military says it has completed 90% of Afghanistan withdrawal