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U.S. exits Afghanistan’s Bagram Airfield after two decades

Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Associated Press/Photo by Rahmat Gul

U.S. exits Afghanistan’s Bagram Airfield after two decades

The U.S. military handed over the Bagram Airfield, the center of its military operations in Afghanistan, to the Afghan National Security and Defense Force on Friday. The move is one of the latest indicators that the United States would likely withdraw from the country ahead of President Joe Biden’s Sept. 11 deadline. The U.S. Central Command said Tuesday it had destroyed nearly 16,000 pieces of equipment and removed about 900 C-17 cargo loads out of the country.

How significant is the airfield? The Soviet Union first built Bagram in the 1950s and used it as its central base when it invaded Afghanistan in 1979. When U.S. and NATO forces took over the base in 2001, it was in ruins from fighting between the Taliban and other insurgent groups. An hour north of the capital city of Kabul, the airfield saw more than 100,000 troops pass through at its peak in 2012. The base has two runways, a 50-bed hospital, a dental clinic, and a prison.

Dig deeper: Read Mindy Belz’s report on how the troop withdrawal endangers Afghan residents, including Christians.

Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD’s Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University–Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria.



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