The US military confirmed Tuesday that it had not given the Afghan authorities the exact time of the departure of its troops from the strategic base of Bagram, while defending the decision on security grounds. Afghan officials, including the new air base commander, complained that they were not notified of the Americans leaving early Friday morning.
Read also :Twenty years later, Americans abandon Afghanistan
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby nevertheless said on Tuesday that the Afghan military and political authorities had been informed two days earlier, and had been able to visit upstream the vast military complex of Bagram, the nerve center of the international coalition during its 20 years of presence in Afghanistan. “The exact time of departure has not been revealed for operational security reasons”, he said at a press conference.
“We felt in general that it was better to keep this information in as narrow a circle as possible”, he added. The American withdrawal must be done in a way “Safe and orderly”, he hammered, stressing the danger that the Taliban present for the American forces. “I cannot comment on how the Afghans interpreted this decision”, he replied to reporters who asked him if it reflected a deep lack of confidence Americans have in their partners.
“This does not mean that we trust our Afghan partners or not. This underlines the fact that we must take into account that this withdrawal could be challenged by the Taliban. ” The change of control at Bagram took place “Just like that of the previous six bases”, he insisted. On Tuesday, the US military announced it had carried out at “More than 90%” its military withdrawal from Afghanistan, which began in May. US President Joe Biden announced in April that he wanted to complete this departure by the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.