When the US Military Left Bagram Air Base, they reportedly did so in the “dark of night” without telling the Afghan commander, or the soldiers patrolling the base that they were gone. They also turned all the power off – which allowed a group of looters to enter the base and steal whatever they could get their hands on. The startling way they left, without telling the Afghanis patrolling the perimeter, was said to “take away all the good will” they had created over the last 20 years.
Bagram Air Base is a 30 square mile facility, as we previously reported. It was the hub of US and NATO presence in Afghanistan. As many as 100,000 troops once occupied the base. When the US military left Bagram, it did so in such a hurry that some of the protocol was ignored.
“We (heard) some rumor that the Americans had left Bagram … and finally by seven o’clock in the morning, we understood that it was confirmed that they had already left Bagram,” Gen. Mir Asadullah Kohistani, Bagram’s new commander said.
Before the Afghan army could take control, the airfield, barely an hour’s drive from the Afghan capital Kabul, was invaded by a small army of looters, who ransacked barrack after barrack and rummaged through giant storage tents before being evicted, according to Afghan military officials.
Since the US has left Afghanistan for the most part and will be totally out by August, the Taliban have been overrunning several districts in Northern Afghanistan. The Afghan troops fled rather than fight -some fleeing to Tajikistan. Their commander, Kohistani believes the Afghan army will be able to hold Bagram air base in spite of the setbacks. They also plan to retake those districts that have fallen into Taliban hands.
The troops that are left are reportedly to guard the Kabul airport until a security agreement with Turkey can be reached. Other small contingents of US troops are there to guard US diplomats at the Embassy.
One bright spot: the recognition that they must step up to secure their own nation.
“We have to solve our problem. We have to secure our country and once again build our country with our own hands.”
Afghan commander Kohistani
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