60 planeloads of US military equipment leave Afghanistan as drawdown begins
U.S. military officials said they had removed some 60 planeloads of gear from Afghanistan and identified about 1,300 pieces of equipment for destruction by Tuesday as the Pentagon works to exit the country where American troops have been at battle for nearly 20 years.
The drawdown effort to remove U.S. forces and the warfighting gear that they have spread across Afghanistan since invading in October 2001 was roughly 2% to 6% completed by Tuesday, U.S. Central Command said in a statement. The formal retrograde process began Saturday as the Pentagon works to remove more than 3,000 troops, thousands of U.S. contractors, and their equipment by Sept. 11, the date that President Joe Biden decided he wanted all American forces to be out of the country.
Air Force C-17 cargo jets, which the service said can carry about 17,900 pounds of cargo, are running near around-the-clock missions to move military equipment out of Afghanistan in the Pentagon’s largest drawdown effort since it left Iraq in 2011, officials said. The CENTCOM statement on Tuesday indicated officials intended to provide regular updates on retrograde progress but would give only an estimated range of the completion for security reasons.
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