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Pentagon: US withdrawal from Afghanistan past halfway point

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby (file photo)

The Pentagon has announced that it has passed the halfway point in withdrawing American forces from Afghanistan, amid concerns that Washington’s longest war in the country is not going to end despite the September 11 pullout.

In a statement on Tuesday, US Central Command (Centcom) estimated that it has “completed greater than 50 percent of the entire retrograde process,” sent out about 500 loads of material via cargo aircraft and handed over some 13,000 pieces of equipment to the Defense Logistics Agency for destruction. 

The Pentagon said it has also officially handed over six military facilities to the Afghan military.

US President Joe Biden in April announced all American troops would withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that Washington used as a pretext to invade and occupy the country despite the fact that no Afghan national was involved in the attacks. 

Centcom chief Gen. Frank McKenzie and his staff “are working through what the follow-on contractual arrangements will be made to continue to support” the Afghan National Security Forces, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters later on Tuesday.

Such decisions have not been completed “but rest assured we’re working hard on that,” Kirby added.

The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 under the pretext of the so-called war against terror.

Washington has spent more than trillions of dollars waging war on the impoverished country, which has left thousands of Afghan civilians and American soldiers dead.

Under a February 2020 “peace” deal between the Taliban and the Trump administration, Washington vowed to withdraw all 2,500 US troops remaining in Afghanistan. In return, the Taliban pledged to stop attacks on US troops.

The Taliban have said the United States has breached its agreement with the group for the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Mohammed Naeem Wardak, spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Doha, told Press TV in recent interview that Washington has failed to abide by its commitments and respect pledges under the 2020 peace deal with the group.

Gen. David Petraeus, the former US top spy, who led the US and allied forces in the region for years, said last month in an interview that President Biden's decision to withdraw US troops from the war-torn country by September 11 will neither end the war nor stop American meddling in the country.  

"This is not going to end the endless war in Afghanistan," the US veteran said, claiming that the military exit would only end American "involvement in that war militarily."

Petraeus expressed fear that the possible resurgence of militant groups  would make Washington "regret the pullout."

Petraeus said pulling US troops out of Afghanistan will also "reduce Washington's prowess to coerce and pressure the Afghan leaders", obliquely pointing to the US political meddling in the landlocked country.

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