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Thursday, August 5, 2021

US to build military base in Qatar to support Afghan military amid troop pull out

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The Joe Biden Administration announced in April that the US will be completing its troop withdrawal by 11 September.

The Pentagon confirmed on Friday that it will establish an American command centre in Qatar to support Afghan security forces amid the US troop withdrawal, which is now set to be completed by the end of August.

US Department of Defence Spokesman John F. Kirby said the office will manage Washington’s financial support for the Afghan military, its air force and police.

Army Brigadier General Curtis Buzzard will be leading the new Qatar defence security cooperation management office. Qatar has yet to publicly comment on the matter.

The Pentagon also said it now expects the complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan to be completed “at the end of August” instead of the 11 September deadline announced by President Biden earlier this year .

The announcement of the new completion date for the withdrawal comes after America handed over the Bagram Air Base in the war-torn country over the weekend.

US military operations at the Bagram base ended with the departure of its remaining military flights, a key milestone towards the full withdrawal of American forces.

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Washington’s Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin also approved the transfer of command authority for the US Forces Afghanistan from General Austin Scott Miller to General Frank McKenzie, the commander of US Central Command.

Since President Biden announced the new deadline, Afghanistan has witnessed a surge in violence, raising security concerns over the process of the pull out.

A total of 650 American military personnel will remain in Kabul after the completion of the withdrawal to help protect the civilian airport in Afghanistan as well as the US embassy.

The Taliban has also continued to seize control of more territories in Afghanistan, capturing more than 100 districts since early May.

Army base in Jordan

Meanwhile American military news website Stars and Stripes reported on Thursday that the US closed bases in Qatar housing weaponry and transferred the remaining supplies to Area Support Group —Jordan [ASG-J].

The website said the bases include the US Army Camp As Sayliyah-Main, Camp As Sayliyah-South, and an ammunition supply point named Falcon.

The camp contained 27 warehouses storing tanks, armoured personnel carriers, along with other military equipment.

According to Stars and Stripes, moving the mission to Jordan is part of US efforts to settle potential disputes with Iran and decrease the threat of rocket attacks in the Gulf region from “Iranian-backed militias”.

Nevertheless, the move will not impact the operations of the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, the biggest American military outpost in the MENA region, which hosts at least 10,000 US military members as well as over 100 aircrafts.


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