The US military has completed the first transfer of facilities to Afghan forces in the country, marking an important milestone in the withdrawal promised by President Biden.
Biden has set a goal of withdrawing troops from the country by September 11, a four-month delay from former President Trump’s original May 1 deadline. U.S. military forces have worked since Biden’s announcement to prepare for the withdrawal by demoting materials and destroying equipment.
In addition, the military has ceded control of Camp Antonik – located in the volatile Helmand province – to the Afghan National Army, he said on Tuesday.
With this latest initiative, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) estimates that between 2% and 6% of the withdrawal process is now complete.
The United States also moved the equivalent of about 60 C-17 aircraft loaded with materiel out of the country and handed over more than 1,300 pieces of equipment for destruction.
Taliban attacks have escalated since the withdrawal began, with recent fighting in Helmand killing 100 people.
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Biden’s plan to withdraw the roughly 2,500 U.S. troops still stationed in Afghanistan received a bipartisan backlash, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Saying it would be a “big mistake” to step down before to guarantee the defeat of the Taliban.
“Leaders on both sides, including myself, were critical when the previous administration pitched the concept of a reckless withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan,” McConnell said, referring to the original timeline of the Trump era.
Despite criticism, the US military initiated the withdrawal on April 25.
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In the two weeks before the withdrawal began, the Afghan Interior Ministry reported that the Taliban had carried out 62 bombings and six suicide attacks, killing 63 civilians and injuring 180 others. Understandably, many fear that the attacks will only increase after the US military withdraws completely.
The Taliban have issued vague warnings in recent months to take action if the United States does not adhere to the withdrawal.
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The military said it would only provide a rough range of the percentage of the exit process. “As the responsible and orderly exit continues, the size of the beach will increase to maintain operational safety,” the press release said.
Lucas Tomlinson of Fox News contributed to this report.
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