Afghan security officials have taken complete control of Bagram Air Base a week after complete withdrawal of the US troops from there. Bagram Airbase, hub of the United States forces in Afghanistan for 20 years until they withdrew last week, buzzed again with activity on Monday as Afghan forces settled into the vast premises, complete with its runways, barracks, control towers and hospital.
American troops handed the base over to Afghan security forces to bring an effective end to the longest war in US history, following an agreement with the insurgent Taliban last year. According to media reports, Afghan security officials have claimed that the US troops did not inform them before leaving the Bagram Airbase. Hence, Afghan security officials came to know about vacant Bagram Airbase two hours after the US troops left the base.
Dozens of vehicles left behind by the United States stood on the premises while others zipped around with Afghan officials and personnel looking to come to terms with the magnitude of operating the vast base.
Radars oscillated as soldiers stood on guard, and hundreds of Afghan security personnel moved into barracks that once housed US soldiers.
Where American entertainers had once visited to boost the morale of US troops, an Afghan soldier strummed a guitar, singing a Pashto language epic on the Afghan homeland, while other Afghan soldiers toured the grounds on bicycles.
Outside the walls of the vast base, things are not as serene. The Taliban have ramped up offensives against Afghan government forces across the country, particularly in the north where insurgents have gained territory rapidly.
On Sunday, hundreds of members of the Afghan security forces fled to refuge in neighbouring Tajikistan. Peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government remain inconclusive, and many fear the country could descend into a full-blown civil war once again.