The U.S. has reportedly handed Bagram Air Base back to Afghanistan after 20 years

Bagram Air Base
(Image credit: Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. military has left Bagram Air Base after nearly 20 years and handed it over to Afghanistan, two U.S. officials told The Associated Press on Friday. President Biden said U.S. forces will be out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11, but the handover of Bagram Air Base to the Afghan National Security and Defense Force is the latest sign the pullout date will be much sooner, closer to July 4. Most of the 7,000 allied NATO troops have already quietly left the country, AP reports, citing announcements from several European countries.

Bagram Air Base, first built by the Soviet Union in the 1950s, was the center of military power after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S. "When the U.S. and NATO inherited Bagram in 2001, they found it in ruins, a collection of crumbling buildings, gouged by rockets and shells, most of its perimeter fence wrecked," AP reports. Under U.S. control, CNN adds, "the airfield became a small city in its own right, complete with shops, gyms, and classrooms for the thousands of service members and contractors who worked at the base and its facilities."

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