The United States of America handed over the Bagram Airfield to the Afghan National Security and Defence Force in its entirety, top American officials confirmed, as fears grow that the country might descend into a civil war after all the foreign forces leave the country.
“All American soldiers and members of NATO forces have left the Bagram airbase,” a senior US security official said in Kabul, speaking on condition of anonymity.
President Joe Biden, who had officially set a deadline of September 11 for the final pull-out, dampened speculation that the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from the country was imminent. “No. We’re on, we’re on track exactly as to where we expect to be,” he told reporters at the White House.
The US took over the base in the winter of 2001 to oust the Taliban and start a fight against the Al Qaeda. The airbase was used by the US military to coordinate its air war and logistical support for its entire Afghan mission.
It was also here that the CIA ran a “black site” detention centre for terrorism suspects and subjected them to abuse that former US president Barack Obama – under whose administration the US forces killed the main culprit of 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden – subsequently acknowledged as torture, agencies reported.
The Taliban welcomed the American withdrawal from Bagram Airfield. “We consider this withdrawal a positive step. Afghans can get closer to stability and peace with the full withdrawal of foreign forces,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters.