U.S. forces are midway by their withdrawal from Afghanistan

Aircrew assigned to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, carry their gear into a C-17 Globemaster III assigned to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, April 27, 2021.

Staff Sgt. Kylee Gardner | U.S. Air Force photo

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Tuesday reached the midpoint in its herculean task of withdrawing troops and equipment out of Afghanistan.

The U.S. military has removed the equivalent of approximately 500 loads of material flown out of the country by large cargo aircraft, according to an update from U.S. Central Command.

Approximately 13,000 pieces of equipment that will not be left to the Afghan military have also been handed over to the Defense Logistics Agency for destruction. The U.S. has officially handed over six facilities to the Afghan military.

In April, Biden announced a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, which would end America’s longest war.

Biden’s withdrawal timeline breaks with a proposed deadline brokered last year by the Trump administration with the Taliban. According to that deal, all foreign forces would have had to leave Afghanistan by May 1.

The removal of approximately 3,000 U.S. service members coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which spurred America’s entry into lengthy wars in the Middle East and Central Asia.

On a call with reporters on Monday, U.S. Central Commander Gen. Frank McKenzie said the U.S. was engaged in negotiations for bases to use as counterterrorism missions after U.S. troops depart.

“It is our intention to continue to be able to go after al Qaeda and ISIS from over the horizon, from other locations in the theater and we’re working now with friends in the region to establish that capability as we go forward,” McKenzie said.

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