The United States military confirmed on Tuesday that it did not give Afghan officials the precise time of troops would abandoning the strategic Bagram air base for security reasons, even as it left the facility open to looters.
According to reports, Afghan military officials, including the general who will run the base in the future, complained that they were not told in ad-vance that US forces would leave in the early hours last Friday.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said senior Afghan political and military officials were told about the exit two days ahead and were given a walk-through of the sprawling base, the centre of US and coalition operations against Al Qaeda and the Taliban for the past two decades.
“The exact hour of departure was not divulged for operational security purposes,” Kirby said in a press briefing. “In general we felt it was better to keep that information as closely held as possible,” he added.
The US withdrawal must be “safe and orderly,” Kirby said, pointing to the constant threat the Tali-ban poses to US forces.
“I can’t speak to how the Afghans interpreted that decision,” he added, amid questions of whether it showed a fundamental distrust of US partner forces in the country.