WASHINGTON DC (Mon-itoring Desk): The U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan is up to 20 percent complete with a little less than four months left in the effort, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.
U.S. forces have shipped out approximately 115 C-17 loads of equipment out of the country, turned over more than 5,000 pieces of equipment to the Defense Logistics Agency to be destroyed, and officially handed over five facilities to the Afghan Ministry of Defense, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.
“United States Central Command estimates that we have completed between 13-20 percent of the entire retrograde process,” the weekly release notes.
Officials did not release the total number of troops still in Afghanistan, as officials reason they want to protect troops from possible Taliban attacks as the United States draws to a close its longest-running conflict, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said last week.
The U.S. military has been extracting itself from Afghanistan since May 1 after President Joe Biden in April ordered all troops to be out of the country by September 11 — the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that sparked the fighting.
Prior to the order, roughly 2,500 service members were in Afghanistan.
Those numbers may temporarily swell as more forces are sent to the country to help with the drawdown as the Taliban had vowed to increase attacks after Washington pushed its timeline for withdrawal back from May 1, a date agreed upon between the group and the former President Donald Trump administration.
The United States invaded Afghanistan ostensibly to destroy the al Qaeda terror group, which planned the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington from Afghan soil. But the effort morphed into an extended attempt to establish a democracy.
During the intervening years, the Taliban regrouped and gained control of large parts of the nation in what has become America’s longest war.