As the withdrawal began, 60 US aircraft left Afghanistan. U.S. Air Force Central Theater’s C-17s and other maneuver units are supporting a safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan.
As the withdrawal began, 60 US aircraft left Afghanistan
MilitaryEzyInfo.com – U.S. military officials said they have removed about 60 flatbed truckloads of equipment from Afghanistan as of Tuesday and identified about 1,300 pieces of equipment to be destroyed as the U.S. military begins to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, where it has been fighting for nearly two decades.
The withdrawal of U.S. troops and munitions deployed in Afghanistan since the invasion in October 2001 was between 2 percent and 6 percent complete as of Tuesday, according to a statement from U.S. Central Command.
The formal withdrawal process began Saturday with the Pentagon withdrawing more than 3,000 troops and thousands of U.S. military contractors and their equipment by Sept. 11, the day President Joe Biden decided to withdraw U.S. forces.
U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo planes flew almost around the clock to pull troops out of Afghanistan as part of a major disarmament effort since the 2011 withdrawal from Iraq. In a statement released Tuesday, Central Command said officials intend to report regularly on the progress of the withdrawal, but will only give an estimated completion date for security reasons.
CENTCOM also announced that it had handed over the newly established Camp Antonik in southern Helmand province to the Afghan National Army. U.S. forces will leave some supplies for Afghan forces and the Afghan government and destroy some equipment, but much of what they take out of Afghanistan will be moved elsewhere to support other military operations around the world, officials said.
Curt Higdon, chief of military planning and strategy for the Army Materiel Command, which is in charge of Army withdrawal operations in Afghanistan, said the equipment could be returned to units in the United States, go to depots for repairs and upgrades, or be shipped to other areas where soldiers are operating. The U.S. has been working on the final product for years.
The United States has been planning a final withdrawal from Afghanistan for years, and former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump have said they want all troops out of Afghanistan. Higdon has said such a long-term plan would allow for a quick withdrawal, but he and other U.S. officials fear the Taliban will resume violence against U.S. and NATO forces.
The Taliban agreed last year to halt attacks on U.S. and NATO troops as part of a February 2020 peace deal with the Trump administration. But the Taliban has since warned that if the U.S. does not withdraw its troops by the agreed-upon May 1, it could trigger more attacks.
The Pentagon said Monday that there had been a few low-level “chases” but no major attacks on U.S. forces.
Higdon said the withdrawal process will go smoothly, in part because defense officials have long wanted to pull out of Afghanistan. He said the Army is already paying close attention to its equipment in preparation for the withdrawal.
Higdon said the Army Logistics Command, as well as other organizations in charge of withdrawal logistics, will have to decide what to move, what to turn over to the Afghan government, and what to dispose of, taking into account the cost of moving the equipment and its value to the troops leaving Afghanistan.
The 1,300 pieces of equipment marked for destruction are the first batch of equipment to be destroyed in the months-long withdrawal, officials said Tuesday.
Higdon said the military will have to determine whether it is cost-effective to withdraw the equipment from Afghanistan. If the life-cycle cost of maintaining the item does not justify the cost of taking it out of Afghanistan, then the item will remain, he said.
Most of the equipment deemed not cost-effective is expected to be transferred to Afghans or retained by U.S. personnel working at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The rest, including equipment that the U.S. government fears could end up in Taliban hands, will be destroyed.
“We can’t just turn it over,” Higdon said. We’re worried about turning (the equipment) over if anyone gets hurt,” he said.
“So they might think, ‘We’re cutting back on materials, but it’s not cost-effective to put it back, so we can’t just leave it there.