Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

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Kandahar Dispatch: Day 1 of the End of the U.S. War in Afghanistan

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New York Times, 3 May 2021

“The scenes over the weekend were almost as if a multitrillion-dollar war machine had morphed into a garage sale. At the airfield’s peak in 2010 and 2011, its famous and much derided boardwalk housed snack shops, chain restaurants, a hockey rink and trinket stores. Tens of thousands of U.S. and NATO troops were based here, and many more passed through as it became the main installation for the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan’s south. It stood beside rural villages from which the Taliban emerged; throughout it all, the province has remained an insurgent stronghold.

Now, half-demolished outdoor gyms and empty hangars were filled with nearly 20 years’ worth of matériel. The passenger terminal, where service members once transited between different parts of the war, was pitch black and filled with empty, dust-covered chairs. A fire alarm detector — its batteries weak — chirped incessantly. The mess halls were shuttered.”

Once Kandahar Airfield – one of the main Us bases in Afghanistan – “is stripped of everything deemed sensitive by its American and NATO landlords, its skeleton will be handed over to the Afghan security forces. And the message will be clear: They are on their own in the fight against the Taliban.”