U.S. troops have completed this Friday their withdrawal from Bagram air base, the largest in Afghanistan, after nearly 20 years in the facilities, as confirmed by the Ministry of Defense of the Central Asian country.
Ministry sources have stressed that control of the base has been handed over to the Afghan authorities during the day, as reported by the television channel Tolo TV. U.S. official sources confirmed to the German agency DPA the end of the withdrawal.
The base, located some 70 kilometers north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, has been the main center of U.S. operations in the Central Asian country. The U.S. is scheduled to complete its withdrawal on Sept. 11, 20 years after the 9/11 attacks.
The withdrawal is taking place amid a spike in Taliban violence and offensives, despite the start of peace talks between the Afghan government and the insurgents in the Qatari capital Doha in September.
In this context, sources quoted by Tolo TV said that more than 20 people have been killed in attacks carried out on Thursday night by the Taliban in the provinces of Badakhshan and Baghlan, located in the north of the country.
For its part, the Ministry of Defense has assured through its account on the social network Twitter that about 130 alleged insurgents have been killed and about a hundred have been wounded in operations carried out during the last 24 hours by the security forces.
The chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, warned on Wednesday that “the survival of the country is in danger”, while calling on the Taliban to push forward the talks process to reach a peace agreement.
He argued that “with the withdrawal of foreign troops, the war has intensified”. “Unfortunately, the Taliban have taken advantage of this and the withdrawal of foreign troops has naturally left a vacuum in some areas,” he lamented.
The advances of the Taliban, who have launched numerous offensives in recent months, have raised concerns within the international community that Afghan forces may not be able to cope with the insurgents and that they will eventually seize power by force.