Photos: What did the US leave behind at the Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan?

It has been reported that when the US troops ‘abandoned’ the massive Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan in early July, left behind about 3.5 million items

Photos: Kanika Gupta / TRTWorld

19 July 2021 | KANIKA GUPTA | TRT World

It has been reported that when the US troops ‘abandoned’ the massive Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan in early July, left behind about 3.5 million items, Gen Kohistani said, including tens of thousands of bottles of water, energy drinks and military ready-made meals.

The Bagram airbase is a testimony to the US’ hasty troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. The place is not only littered with military hardware but also with LED television sets, mattresses, soda bottles, military shoes and other valuable items.

Bagram Airbase, the largest military installation at the heart of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, was fully vacated in the early hours of Friday, July 2. The US Army and its allied forces abandoned their largest military base in the dead of the night, switching off the electricity on their way out.

The longest war in the history of the United States ebbed and flowed from this sprawling complex that inhabited thousands of troops at its peak. But the final batch of departed soldiers from the last of seven airbases completed more than 90 percent of the US troop withdrawal, far ahead of its new deadline of Aug 31.

 (Kanika Gupta / TRTWorld)
The new commander of the base, General Mir Assadullah Kohistani, revealed in an interview that the Americans took with them all the heavy equipment and weapons and destroyed the ammunition stockpile. When asked why they did not give it to the Afghan National Army, Kohistani jokingly said, “that is a question you need to ask Biden.”
Now that the airbase is completely handed over to the Afghan army, a police personnel responsible for Bagram’s security told anonymously that they not only destroyed their country but also the good stuff. “They could have given the useful items to the army but instead they chose to destroy it, just like they destroyed our country.” (Kanika Gupta / TRTWorld)
Bagram housed within its massive compound everything that the US and allied soldiers needed for a comfortable living. The rooms were well-equipped, barbeque stations installed outside their living quarters and a well-stocked hospital with the latest equipment and dental chair. (Kanika Gupta / TRTWorld)
A large gymnasium outside the hospital was fitted with all the latest workout equipment to keep the soldier’s morale high in this war-torn country. But none of these facilities were usable for the Afghan soldiers who inherited the airbase from their American counterparts. (Kanika Gupta / TRTWorld)
The rooms looked like they had been cleared in a jiffy. The half-empty cups of coffee, half-played board games, and beds in complete disarray reveal that the base was emptied at a moment’s notice. The refrigerators still had food in them that by now was rotting. (Kanika Gupta / TRTWorld)
According to an Afghan military official, the items that they left behind include a wide range of civilian cars and armored vehicles, but most of them do not have keys to start the ignition. (Kanika Gupta / TRTWorld)
The electricity supply was cut off when the Americans left. Seeing the base so dark after so many years, locals realized that the Americans are gone. Before the army officially took over, some civilians breached the complex walls and plundered the base before being evicted. (Kanika Gupta / TRTWorld)
No power supply also meant that the food inside deep-freeze containers was now a breeding ground for flies and reeked of decaying meat. The energy drinks and MREs littered around the huge campus are also mostly expired. (Kanika Gupta / TRTWorld)
The wrecked first-aid boxes and physical items that the Americans left behind are reminiscent of years of war. They demolished not just their armoured cars but many other smaller items to prevent the Afghans from selling it for profit. But some things managed to slip out of these fortified walls and grace the shelves of many shops located at a short distance from the airbase. (Kanika Gupta / TRTWorld)
The Afghan vendors stock their tiny little shops with items that they salvaged from dumpsters or bought from private contractors that worked inside the base. But with the troops leaving, the shopkeepers worry about their business and brace themselves for an uncertain future. (Kanika Gupta / TRTWorld)

With the Americans gone, civilians are anxious about the security of Bagram as the threat of Taliban looms large. Shaiq Sanjani, Police Chief of Bagram district claims that their problem is not security, but the number of personnel at their disposal.  

“The problem we are facing right now is that the number of police we have is quite less. Bagram is important for not just Afghan National forces but also Talib and DAESH. We only have 108 personnel to protect the entire district. Some of them have gone to Ghorband to help with ongoing clashes and some of them are on sick leave. Our forces are working day and night. We are overworked,” reveals Sanjani.  

Once the seat of US military power, Bagram Airbase is now fully under the control of the Afghan National Army who is confident of defending the base until its last soldier, General Kohistani told TRT World. (NOTE: This report was filed 19 July 2021 and does not reflect the current situation.)


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