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US begins troop withdrawal from Afghanistan: Officials

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows US soldiers load onto a Chinook helicopter to head out on a mission in Afghanistan, Jan. 15, 2019. (Reuters file photo)

The US military has started withdrawing troops from Afghanistan after about twenty years of war on the impoverished country, according to several American military officials.

CNN reported on Thursday that dozens of US troops, along with military equipment, were pulled out from Afghanistan as part of US President Joe Biden's plan to begin the withdrawal process before May 1.

Private security contractors and US government workers are also departing the country, the officials told the American news network.

CNN reported last week that military equipment has been flown out of the country in recent days.

The US troop withdrawal plan from Afghanistan is due to be completed by September 11, which marks the 20th anniversary of the so-called 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington which the then-Bush administration used as a pretext to launch war against the country. Washington later on acknowledged that Afghanistan was not involved in the incidents.  Washington later also said that 15 out of 19 terrorists who launched the attacks were Saudi nationals, no one was an Afghan.

The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 under the pretext of the so-called war against terror, which it later expanded to border regions of Pakistan.

Washington has spent more than one trillion-dollar waging war on the impoverished country, which has left thousands of Afghan civilians and American soldiers dead.

The US initially deployed hundreds of thousands troops to Afghanistan and still there are about 2,500 US troops in the country that are openly acknowledged. But Washington also has several hundred additional special operations forces that are not acknowledged. President Biden has ordered all of them will leave the country.

Last week, the US military announced to send a number of long-range B-52 bombers and additional troops to Afghanistan and boosting its presence in the Middle East region.

Gen. Austin Scott Miller, commander of US Forces Afghanistan and NATO's Resolute Support Mission, said on Sunday some troops were being moved within the country, but did not provide further details.

"All of our forces are now preparing to retrograde. Officially the notification date will be the first of May, but at the same time as we start taking local actions we have already begun that," Miller told reporters when asked at a news conference in Kabul if the American withdrawal from bases had begun.

The Pentagon has said it is concerned about personnel coming under attack from the Taliban as they depart so it's not clear if it will disclose all the details of the departure process.

The Pentagon has also announced to send another 650 ground forces, mainly Army Rangers, to Afghanistan in the coming days as a covering force to protect the withdrawal, especially from remote areas.

The US is also deploying additional Army artillery and rocket systems for force protection, according to the Pentagon.

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