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U.S. forces leave Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan after nearly 20 years

The U.S. military has departed Bagram Airfield, the center of its war to oust the Taliban and search for the al-Qaeda perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, AP reports, citing two U.S. officials.

The big picture: The airfield was handed over to the Afghan National Security and Defense Force entirely, a clear indication that the remaining U.S. troops have left the region or are planning departure ahead of President Biden’s promise that they would be gone by Sept. 11, per AP.

  • American troops arrived at Bagram nearly two decades ago.
  • The troop withdrawal from Afghanistan is likely to be complete within the coming days, much earlier than the timeline that Biden had initially set for withdrawal, CNN reports.

Driving the news: The American departure from Bagram was done overnight with no coordination with local officials, per Afghanistan’s district administrator for Bagram, Darwaish Raufi.

  • Early Friday morning, dozens of looters entered the base before Afghan forces regained control.
  • "They were stopped and some have been arrested and the rest have been cleared from the base," Raufi told AP.
  • "Unfortunately the Americans left without any coordination with Bagram district officials or the governor’s office," Raufi said. "Right now our Afghan security forces are in control both inside and outside of the base."

Go deeper: Afghan president visits D.C. amid growing fears of Taliban takeover

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