Gen. Scott Miller, the top US commander in Afghanistan, announced on Sunday that foreign troops have begun vacating military bases in the war-ravaged country.
Commander of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan told a press conference in Kabul that the US and Allied forces will hand over all their bases to the Afghan forces.
“All of our forces are now preparing to retrograde. Officially, the notification day will be May 1 but at the same time as we start taking local actions, we have already begun that,” he said.
Condemning a recent surge in Taliban attacks in Afghanistan, Gen. Miller said the mounting offensives by the insurgents leave negative effects on the peace process. “The Taliban must reduce violence,” he said.
In line with US President Joe Biden’s announcement, all American troops would depart from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Deployment of foreign troops began in Afghanistan began on Oct. 7, 2001 when the US together with the UK launched Operation Enduring Freedom. They were joined by some 43 NATO allies and partners after the UN authorized International Security Assistance Force on Dec. 20, 2001.
Currently, there are a total of 9,592 troops of 36 nations stationed in Afghanistan. The US tops the list with 2,500 soldiers.
A peace conference in Istanbul scheduled from April 24 to fast track reconciliation between the Taliban and the Afghan government has been postponed until after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.