July 26, 2021

The Americans and NATO have left Bagram Air Base, the largest in Afghanistan

It is quite a symbol. All American and NATO soldiers left Bagram air base, the largest in Afghanistan, on Friday, July 2, which was returned to the Afghan army. The Taliban have “Rejoice” the departure of foreign troops from these facilities located 50 km north of Kabul which were the backbone of American operations throughout the war started in 2001. It was from there that the air strikes against the Taliban were carried out and their al-Qaida allies and that the resupply of the soldiers was organized.

“We see this withdrawal as a positive step. Afghans can move closer to stability and peace with the total withdrawal of foreign forces ”said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

The last American and NATO soldiers must have left Afghan territory by September 11, dated 20e anniversary of the 2001 attacks. But contrary to what their departure from Bagram might have suggested, the total withdrawal of these soldiers is not accelerated, declared, in the form of an update, the President of the United States. “We are exactly on the path” scheduled, said Joe Biden during a press conference.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the last American soldiers will leave Afghan territory by the end of August, before the 9/11 deadline.

Advancement of the Taliban

As for the Taliban, they have stepped up their offensives everywhere since this final withdrawal began in May, seizing dozens of rural districts, while the Afghan security forces consolidated their positions in the big cities.

The ability of the Afghan army to retain control of Bagram airfield could be one of the keys to preserving security around Kabul and to maintaining pressure on the insurgents. The residents of Bagram, for their part, expect the security situation to deteriorate after the departure of foreign troops.

Joe Biden stressed in this regard on Friday that the Afghan government should now “To be able himself” to protect in particular the capital.

According to press reports, the Pentagon should nevertheless maintain nearly six hundred soldiers in Afghanistan to guard the vast United States embassy in Kabul.

Le Monde with AFP and Reuters