U.S. Leaves Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Base After Nearly 20 Years

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The Biden administration asked three Central Asian nations to temporarily house thousands of Afghans who worked with American forces and could be targeted by the Taliban as U.S. and NATO troops withdraw after nearly two decades.

The U.S. has asked Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to take in about 9,000 Afghans who assisted with the American military’s invasion and occupation of the country, according to three people familiar with the request, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations.

That effort comes as U.S. forces handed over Bagram Air Base, their biggest facility, late Thursday night in a milestone symbolizing the effective departure of combat forces from Afghanistan after 20 years. The U.S. had said it would have most troops out by Sept. 11, keeping a contingent of about 650 in the country to protect diplomats, but Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Friday said the withdrawal could be completed by the end of August.

“All Coalition and American troops departed Bagram Air Base last night,” Fawad Aman, a deputy spokesman for Afghanistan’s defense ministry, said. “The base was handed over. ANDSF will protect the base and use it to combat terrorism,” he added, using an acronym for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

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