Bagram air base looted as the US exits after 20 years

The shocking photos showed that US troops left Bagram Airport in Afghanistan over the weekend without notifying the new commander of the Kabul government. This gave the looters valuable time to slip into anything that was not bolted.

The Pentagon stated that the withdrawal will be completed by the end of August. It is the largest airport in Afghanistan, and it is also the center of the crisis that the United States has driven the Taliban out of the government in 20 years, traced Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda associates, and put the country’s fragile democratically elected government at the center of the crisis- the revival of the Taliban. He apparently forgot to tell the Afghans that the power was cut off within 20 minutes after he left and the base was plunged into darkness. 

For the robbers who broke into the north gate and robbed the barracks and storage rooms, this was a “keep going” signal, and then the security forces patrolling the surrounding area managed to expel them. Kabul, an hour’s drive south of Bagram, informed their Afghan counterparts that they had left the base.

When the Afghan army opened the airport to the world media on Monday, soldiers were still picking up piles of rubbish, including empty water bottles, cans, and empty energy drinks left by looters. Bases, garbage dealers, and hawkers were photographed selling leftover items by leaving Americans, including basketballs, bicycles and helmets, electric fans, noise-canceling headphones, and even washing powder. 

The spokesperson, Colonel Sonny Leggett, did not respond to specific complaints from the Afghan soldiers, but instead referred to a statement issued last week. Tement said that shortly after President Joe Biden announced in mid-April that the United States would withdraw the last force, the handover was in progress. 

Leggett said in the statement that the U.S. military has coordinated the withdrawal with the Afghan leader. Kosistani said that the Americans left 3.5 million items. According to him, this number includes “all phones, all door handles, all windows in all barracks, and all doors in each barracks.” It also includes thousands of civilian vehicles, many of which do not have a start key, and hundreds of armored vehicles.

Kosistani said that the United States also left them with small arms and ammunition, but the retreating troops took away heavy weapons. Weapons and ammunition not reserved for the Afghan army exploded before leaving. The Afghan security forces also inherited a prison on the airport facility, which holds approximately 5,000 detainees, many of whom are allegedly Taliban. Kosistani insists on the national security of Afghanistan. 

Although the Kabul government has more reports of setbacks on the battlefield, the National Defense Forces are able to keep the base strong. In northern Afghanistan, district after district fell into the hands of the Taliban, and hundreds of Afghan soldiers fled across the border to Tajikistan instead of fighting insurgents. 

A 19-year-old Afghan waste dealer Keramatullah poses for a photo while showing one of the items disposed of by the US military outside Bagram Air Force Base, a piece of American military armored vest. 

“We (Afghans) must solve our problems,” the commander said. “We must ensure our national security and once again build our country with our own hands.”

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