With no change in its name, the camp will be used as a base for Afghan Special Operations Forces…reports Asian Lite News
The US forces in Afghanistan have handed over a key operating base to the Afghan National Army in the restive southern Helmand province, reported local media.
“Camp Antonik in Helmand province was officially handed over to the Afghan Army’s 215 Maiwand Corps on Sunday,” Tolo News reported.
With no change in its name, the camp will be used as a base for Afghan Special Operations Forces, Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying on Monday.
Helmand province, notorious for poppy growing, is a known Taliban insurgents’ stronghold.
The violence lingers in war-torn Afghanistan as the US and NATO troops have been leaving the country.
About 3,500 American forces and 7,000 NATO troops will be withdrawn before September 11, the day which is the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that drew the US into war in Afghanistan.
The White House has said the US military will send additional forces to Afghanistan to protect US and coalition forces during the withdrawal.
“Elements of an Army Ranger Task Force will temporarily deploy to Afghanistan to assist with the force protection of forces on the ground as we initiate withdrawal operations,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One.
She also said Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin had directed that a carrier strike group would provide sustained additional force protection capabilities in the region throughout the withdrawal.
“While these actions will initially result in increased forces levels, we remain committed to having all US military personnel out of Afghanistan by September 11, 2021,” she added.
The Pentagon last week said that B-52 bombers and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier will deploy to the region to protect U.S. and coalition forces as they withdraw from Afghanistan.
Citing defence officials, CNN reported that fewer than 100 troops and military equipment had been pulled out of the country largely by aircraft to implement the withdrawal order announced by President Joe Biden earlier this month.
The US State Department on Tuesday ordered non-essential staff to leave the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. US Charge d’Affaires to Afghanistan Ross Wilson tweeted that the departure was approved “in light of increasing violence & threat reports in Kabul.”