Explained: US vacates Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. What it means for India and changing security dynamics in Indian subcontinent?
Kabul (Afghanistan) | Jagran News Desk: The US troops and their western allies vacated Bagram airbase, their strongest bastion of airpower in Afghanistan on Friday. With this, the US “effectively ended” the operations against Taliban forces before its scheduled withdrawal by September 11 this year. For the two decades that the US forces operated in Afghanistan, Bagram airbase was the centre of ammunition and logistics for the US and its NATO allies. The US forces reportedly started leaving the airbase on Thursday night. By Friday morning, the airbase was vacated of its US and allied forces and its handover to Afghan forces was complete.
We will use the airbase to combat terrorism: Afghan government
The Afghan Ministry of Defence in a statement to media, acknowledged that the US forces had left the airbase. “We will protect the airbase and use it to combat terrorism,” Fawad Aman, spokesperson of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
US leaving Bagram: What does it mean for Afghanistan?
Bagram was widely held as a symbol of the US’ expensive operations in Afghanistan following September 11, 2001 attack on New York’s World Trade Centre by Al-qaeda, an apparent ally of Taliban that also operated out of Afghan nation. The closure of operations in Bagram comes weeks before the planned exit of the US troops from Afghanistan.
The official US intelligence estimates suggest that President Ashraf Ghani’s government could fall in as less as six months following the complete withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan. The Taliban have already taken a quarter of country’s districts in past two months and are inching closer to Kabul.
What all will remain of the US forces in Afghanistan?
A two-star Navy admiral will head a 650-troop strong US Embassy-based military office, dubbed US Forces Afghanistan-Forward, to oversee the new mission of providing security for the embassy and its diplomats, Associated Press reported.
The report adds that a satellite military office based in Qatar will be headed by a US one-star general to administer US financial support for the Afghan military and police.
US withdrawal from Afghanistan: What it means for India?
Indian embassy in Kabul has termed security situation in Afghanistan “dangerous”. The advisory suggests that Indians “additionally face a serious threat of kidnapping” in Afghanistan and thus Indian nationals must exercise “utmost vigilance and caution” in the country. India had also abruptly shut down its missions in Jalalabad and Herat last year citing Coronavirus concerns. Experts in India suggest that these missions may stay shut following Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan. Others have predicted the possibility of New Delhi having to evacuate Indians from Afghanistan in the immediate future while keeping a “skeleton staff” in its embassy.
Experts on Afghan-Pak region also add that the US’ exit will make way for China’s entry into Afghanistan.
China-Pakistan-Taliban triad in Kabul can therefore be proven a huge security and strategic challenge to India, strategic scholars add.
Posted By: Mukul Sharma