US pullout from Afghanistan marches ahead — for now - GulfToday

US pullout from Afghanistan marches ahead — for now

US troops

US Marines board a C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft headed to Kandahar at Lashkar Gah in Helmand province. File/AFP

The US military's withdrawal from Afghanistan — ordered by President Joe Biden in April after nearly two decades in the country — is marching ahead despite the growing threat by Taliban rebels to seize power.

Biden set a deadline for the final drawdown of troops and civilians of September 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the United States by Afghanistan-based Taliban-backed Al Qaeda.


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While the Pentagon says the pullout is over halfway completed, pressures are mounting to slow the operation, to help push back the Taliban advance and to evacuate thousands of Afghans who have helped US forces.

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Five bases used by the US, including the large air base at Kandahar in Afghanistan.

There were officially about 2,500 US troops and 16,000 civilian contractors in the country when the pullout was announced by Biden, who is set to welcome Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to the White House on Friday.

Since then, the Pentagon has shipped home the equivalent of 763 giant C-17 cargo aircraft loaded with equipment and supplies.

Five bases used by the US, including the large air base at Kandahar, have been handed over to Afghan forces.

But the number of troops and contractors who still remain is secret, for security reasons, the Defense Department says.

Agence France-Presse

 

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