• Nearly 20 years after invading Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and al-Qaida, the U.S. military has vacated its biggest airfield in the country, advancing a final withdrawal that the Pentagon says will be completed by the end of August, 2021.
  • President Joe Biden had instructed the Pentagon to complete the military withdrawal by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, but the Pentagon now says it can finish the drawdown a little earlier. In fact, the drawdown is already largely complete and officials said it could be wrapped up soon.
  • Bagram Airfield has been the epicentre of the war to oust the Taliban and hunt down the al-Qaida perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America. At its peak in and around 2012, Bagram Airfield saw more than 1,00,000 U.S. troops involving in anti-taliban operations.

Victory or defeat?

  • As America’s war in Afghanistan draws to a close, there will be no surrender and no peace treaty, no final victory and no decisive defeat. Biden says it was enough that US forces dismantled al-Qaida and killed Osama bin Laden, the group’s leader considered the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
  • Background: The former Soviet Union marched into Afghanistan on Christmas Eve, 1979, claiming it was invited by the new Afghan communist leader, Babrak Karmal, and setting the country on a path of 40 years of seemingly endless wars and conflict.
  • After the Soviets left in humiliation, America was the next great power to wade in. Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the US invaded to oust the Taliban regime, which had harbored al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. After nearly 20 years, the US is ending its war in Afghanistan, withdrawing the last American troops.