The U.S. military has completed 90 percent of President Joe Biden’s promised Afghanistan withdrawal, U.S. Central Command announced on Tuesday.
The news comes days after the military vacated Bagram air base, the focal point of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan for the last 20 years. The U.S. has officially handed over seven facilities to the Afghan Ministry of Defense, including Bagram.
While the Pentagon has completed the vast majority of the withdrawal in just two months since Biden announced the decision in May, the White House said Friday that the drawdown will not be fully complete until the end of August.
“We’re on track exactly as to where we expect to be,” Biden said Friday, which aligns with his deadline of ending America’s longest war by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Tuesday marked the first time since early June that the Pentagon has published a number showing the rough progress of the withdrawal. At the time, progress reports said only that the withdrawal was more than 50 percent complete and stopped being specific “for operational security reasons and to preserve force protection.”
As the military continues moving troops and equipment out of the country, the Taliban has dramatically gained ground in recent days. In the last six days alone, the group has taken control of 10 percent of the country, most of them in critical areas, according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which has closely tracked the conflict.
Overall, the Taliban controls 188 of the country’s 407 districts, and contests another 135.
Bill Roggio, senior fellow at FDD, warned that Afghanistan is “at risk of complete collapse,” noting that the Afghan security forces are surrendering to the Taliban without a fight around the country. U.S. intelligence officials have reportedly warned that the Afghan government could collapse in as little as six months.
“If the Afghan government does not get a handle on the security situation and finds a way to regain control of the north, its tenure may well be measured in weeks or months,” Roggio said in a statement.