104 cargo loads of US military equipment flown out of Afghanistan
US forces in Afghanistan have moved about 104 cargo loads of equipment out of the country so far and have turned over more than 1,800 items of gear for destruction, US Central Command said on Tuesday.
Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_#CENTCOM said in a statement that since President Joe #Biden’s_decision to fully withdraw all military personnel from Afghanistan “the US has retrograded the equivalent of approximately 104 C-17 [military cargo plane] loads of material out of Afghanistan and have turned over more than 1,800 pieces of equipment to the Defense Logistics Agency for destruction.”
CENTCOM stated the US has also officially handed over one facility to the Afghan National Army.
The statement also noted that CENTCOM estimates it has completed between six to 12 percent of the entire retrograde process.
The statement noted: “For operational security reasons we will only be providing an approximate range of the percentage of the exit process that is complete. As the responsible and orderly exit continues, the size of the range will increase to preserve operational security.
“This update includes the progress on the retrograde of troops and equipment from Afghanistan, the turning over of equipment and facilities to the ANDSF, as well as the destruction of some equipment.”
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Tuesday that the United States has added capabilities in the nation to help shield retrograde operations and provide force protection.
#Kirby also said CENTCOM has not released the number of troops that remain in Afghanistan because it would provide “a level of situational awareness for the Taliban.”
“We have an obligation to keep our people safe, particularly in a retrograde that could be opposed,” Kirby said. “We have to assume that this is going to be an opposed retrograde. And if we assumed anything less, it would be irresponsible of us.”
However, the US is still seeking a diplomatic peace settlement in Afghanistan.
Kirby said the US Defense Department is committed to working with US State Department personnel even as the withdrawal continues. “We still support, and want to see, a political end of this war and to see that the Taliban and the Afghan government work this out,” he said.
DOD will continue a relationship with the Afghan government after the retrograde is finished. “There are very active discussions going on now inside the department to better define what over-the-horizon counterterrorism capabilities we will be able to avail ourselves of,” Kirby said.
Before the drawdown began, there were about 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan and a further 7,000 #NATO_troops.
However, the Pentagon deployed several hundred Army Rangers and 12 F-18 attack planes to Afghanistan last week to assist with the drawdown.
Also helping to protect the withdrawing troops are six B-52 bombers based in #Qatar and the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Middle East.