Pune, India. 01 June 2021. Since the President’s decision, the DoD has retrograded the equivalent of approximately 300 C-17 loads of material out of Afghanistan and have turned nearly 13,000 pieces of equipment to the Defense Logistics Agency for disposition.
Also, the U.S. has officially handed over six facilities to the Afghan Ministry of Defense. It anticipates additional transfers of bases and military assets in the future which will support the ANDSF/GIRoA as they work to stabilize and defend their nation.
U.S. Central Command estimates that we have completed between 30-44% of the entire retrograde process. This update includes the progress on the retrograde of troops and equipment from Afghanistan, the turning over of equipment and facilities to the ANDSF, as well as the destruction of some equipment.
The Pentagon spokesperson reported that, “As you now, the president directed us to withdraw by September. I can report to you today that the retrograde is proceeding on pace, indeed, slightly ahead of it.”
“We accomplished the mission for which our troops were sent to Afghanistan, and I am very proud of that,” said Secretary of Defence Lloyd J. Austin III.
The U.S. is not leaving the Centcom region outright, however. There are still threats in the region, and Kirby said the U.S. will be ready to meet those threats by strengthening existing “over-the-horizon” capabilities there and growing new ones.
The U.S. and the Taliban in February 2020 signed a peace agreement after two decades of fighting. The provisions of the deal include the withdrawal of all American and NATO troops from Afghanistan and a Taliban pledge to prevent al-Qaeda from operating in areas under Taliban control, and talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
U.S. President Joe Biden had said it was time “to end America’s longest war.” Around 2,500 American troops plus a further 7,000 from NATO allies would gradually leave the country.
The troop pull-down will be completed before the 20th anniversary of 9/11 later this year. September 11 is considered one of the darkest days in U.S. history for a series of airline hijackings and suicide attacks by al-Qaeda left nearly 3,000 people dead.
“The president has been very clear that our troops accomplished the mission for which they were sent to Afghanistan,” Kirby said. “That was to prevent the country from being used as a safe haven for terrorist attacks on our homeland, and there hasn’t been another attack on the homeland emanating from Afghanistan since 9/11. So the president believes the mission has been completed.”