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What did the U.S. leave behind at Bagram Airfield

LA Times logo LA Times 7/7/2021 Robert St. John
a man wearing a military uniform: An Afghan soldier stands on a military vehicle on July 5, 2021, while keeping watch after U.S. forces withdrew from Bagram Airfield. (Anadolu Agency) © (Anadolu Agency) An Afghan soldier stands on a military vehicle on July 5, 2021, while keeping watch after U.S. forces withdrew from Bagram Airfield. (Anadolu Agency)

The U.S. left Afghanistan’s Bagram Airfield after nearly 20 years by shutting off the electricity and slipping away in the night without notifying the base’s new Afghan commander, who discovered the Americans’ departure more than two hours after they left, Afghan military officials said.

Afghanistan’s army showed off the sprawling air base Monday, providing a rare first glimpse of what had been the epicenter of America’s war to unseat the Taliban and hunt down the Al Qaeda perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

An Afghan soldier takes a selfie at the Bagram base after all U.S. and NATO troops withdrew. (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images) © (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images) An Afghan soldier takes a selfie at the Bagram base after all U.S. and NATO troops withdrew. (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images)

The U.S. announced Friday that it had completely vacated its biggest airfield in the country in advance of a final withdrawal that the Pentagon says will be completed by the end of August.

“We [heard] some rumor that the Americans had left Bagram ... and finally by 7 o’clock in the morning, we understood that it was confirmed that they had already left Bagram,” said Gen. Mir Asadullah Kohistani, Bagram’s new commander.

Sathya et al. in uniform: Afghan soldiers sit at the Bagram base after the U.S. withdrawal. (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) © (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) Afghan soldiers sit at the Bagram base after the U.S. withdrawal. (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) a truck is parked on the side of a dirt field: Mine resistant ambush protected vehicles known as MRAPs were left at the Bagram base. (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) © (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) Mine resistant ambush protected vehicles known as MRAPs were left at the Bagram base. (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) a river running through a city: The Bagram base after the U.S. withdrew. (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) © (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) The Bagram base after the U.S. withdrew. (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) a man wearing a military uniform: An Afghan soldier stands guard at the gate of a hospital facility inside the Bagram base. (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images) © (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images) An Afghan soldier stands guard at the gate of a hospital facility inside the Bagram base. (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images) a bridge over a body of water: A general view of the Bagram base. (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) © (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) A general view of the Bagram base. (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) a tower that has a sign on a pole: A watchtower at the Bagram base. (Haroon Sabawoon / Anadolu Agency ) © (Haroon Sabawoon / Anadolu Agency ) A watchtower at the Bagram base. (Haroon Sabawoon / Anadolu Agency ) a group of people in a room: Afghan soldiers move a cot inside a room at the Bagram base. (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) © (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) Afghan soldiers move a cot inside a room at the Bagram base. (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) a man sitting on a cart: Afghan soldiers sit in a vehicle at the Bagram base after all U.S. and NATO troops left. (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) © (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) Afghan soldiers sit in a vehicle at the Bagram base after all U.S. and NATO troops left. (Wakil Kohsar / Getty Images ) a man sitting on a boat: An Afghan soldier keeps watch after the U.S. withdrawal from the Bagram base. (Haroon Sabawoon / Anadolu Agency ) © (Haroon Sabawoon / Anadolu Agency ) An Afghan soldier keeps watch after the U.S. withdrawal from the Bagram base. (Haroon Sabawoon / Anadolu Agency )

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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