The US military also abandoned Bagram Airfield after nearly 20 years. It was once a military center for war to overthrow the Taliban and capture the al Qaeda conspirators responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks on America. Two US officials gave this information on Friday. Officials said the airfield had been fully handed over to the “Afghan National Security and Defense Forces”.
U.S. officials said Thursday their forces would remain involved in the war in Afghanistan until September and keep open the possibility of airstrikes against the Taliban to defend Afghan forces. Officials said earlier that the withdrawal of the main US military force and its equipment from Afghanistan would be largely completed by the end of this week.
President Joe Biden had set a September 11 deadline for his return. Officials had said that the US commander-in-chief in Afghanistan, General Scott Miller, would also return in what would constitute a marked change in the US mission. However, there are many complex facts that mean that the American intervention in the twenty-year-old war will not end yet.
When Miller leaves Afghanistan, his authority, including attacks on the Taliban and counterterrorism operations against other groups, including al-Qaeda, will be under General Frank McKenzie, the highest American commander in the Middle East, officials said. Officials said the United States has carried out a series of airstrikes in support of Afghan forces in recent weeks, led by fighter jets from outside Afghanistan, and that these strikes will continue.
U.S. officials have said the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan will be Rear Admiral Peter Wazzley of the Navy, who will lead security operations at the U.S. embassy. He is in Kabul and works with Miller. Wazzley will be accompanied by around 650 American soldiers, most of whom will guard diplomatic missions. This force will remain in Afghanistan indefinitely.
In addition, McKenzie will have the power to keep approximately 300 additional troops in Afghanistan to assist with security measures, including airport security. The Pentagon and other U.S. leaders have warned of an increase in violence in Afghanistan in recent times and fear that a civil war will break out there and that the Afghan government and its military may succumb.