U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), the military body that oversees the Middle East and Central Asia, informed in the Tuesday press release that more than half of American forces had left Afghanistan, but noted that future updates will not be updating specific percentages on the progress of the pullout, claiming the secrecy is necessary for “operational security.”
“U.S. Central Command estimates that we have completed greater than 50% of the entire retrograde process. Since the President’s decision, the DoD has retrograded the equivalent of approximately 500 C-17 loads of material out of Afghanistan and have turned nearly 13,000 pieces of equipment to the Defense Logistics Agency for disposition,” it said.
Also, the statement says that the U.S. has handed over six facilities to the Afghan Ministry of Defense.
“We anticipate 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,” it added.
Former President Donald Trump last year signed a deal with the Taliban that set a U.S. withdrawal deadline for May 1, but Biden’s administration scrapped the agreement when it took power, pushing back the pullout to September 11.
Yet, after a series of phased drawdowns and despite the delay, however, Biden’s Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin claimed last month that the withdrawal is “slightly ahead” of schedule.
In the meantime, Washington maintains it will continue to financially support Afghan National Security Forces, but is leaving unresolved issues regarding how threats in the region will be handled from afar. On top of that, Washington’s facing urgent calls to evacuate Afghans who was working with U.S. forces during the conflict and are now at risk of being hunted down and killed by the Taliban.