The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is “more than 90 percent” completed, the military said Tuesday.
The update from U.S. Central Command — the first time the military has provided an updated percentage since it said the withdrawal was more than 50 percent done a month ago — comes after the United States vacated its largest airbase in Afghanistan after nearly 20 years.
Last week’s departure from Bagram Airfield, which over the course of the war was transformed from a crumbling former Soviet base to a hub of American activity complete with fast food restaurants, marked a symbolic end to the United States’ longest war.
But the Pentagon has said the final withdrawal from Afghanistan will not be done until late August.
The Defense Department has not said how many U.S. troops remain in the country nor where they are. But reports have indicated several hundred are helping secure the Kabul airport, along with the several hundred who are expected to secure the U.S. Embassy even after the withdrawal is complete.
In its update Tuesday, Central Command (Centcom) said the military has flown about 984 cargo planes’ worth out of material out of Afghanistan.
Another 17,074 pieces of equipment have been given to the Defense Logistics Agency for “disposition,” Centcom said. Most of the equipment is “federal excess personal property,” not “defensive articles or considered to be major equipment,” Centcom added.
The United States has officially given seven facilities to the Afghans, the statement added.
As the U.S. withdrawal nears its end, fears about the Taliban overrunning the Afghan government have grown.
In the past six days, the Taliban have taken control of 38 of Afghanistan’s 407 districts, according to a tracker maintained by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’s Bill Roggio. In all, the Taliban currently control 195 districts and is contesting another 129, according to the tracker.
Reports have also emerged of hundreds of Afghan troops fleeing to Tajikistan as districts in the north fall to the Taliban.