Bagram, the biggest airbase in Afghanistan, was ransacked within hours of the US withdrawal.
Afghan officials said the US didn't coordinate the withdrawal with them, though the US military denies this. Looters stole laptops and gas canisters. It's not a good sign for the future of Afghanistan.
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Within hours of the US withdrawal from Bagram - the largest airbase in Afghanistan and the long-time hub of America's longest war - looters rolled in.
The looters stole laptops and gas canisters from the base, said Darwaish Raufi, a district administrator for Bagram, per the New York Times.
Raufi said the US withdrawal from the base was done overnight and not in coordination with local officials.
"Unfortunately the Americans left without any coordination with Bagram district officials or the governor's office," Raufi said, the Associated Press reported. "Right now our Afghan security forces are in control both inside and outside of the base."
The looters were "stopped and some have been arrested and the rest have been cleared from the base," Raufi said. A local said the looters had also stolen materials like metal and plastic that could be sold as scrap, Stars and Stripes correspondent J.p. Lawrence reported.
Typically bases are turned over between military forces when the new troops are able to, at a minimum, secure the perimeter. That the base was so easily ransacked following the US pullout doesn't bode well for Afghanistan's future.
Video: U.S. leaves Afghan airbase, once war epicenter, after nearly 20 years (Yahoo! News)
Control of Bagram has been handed over to the Afghan military.
The US withdrawal from Bagram came nearly three months after President Joe Biden announced an end to the "forever war" in Afghanistan.
Biden pledged to withdraw all troops by September 11, though roughly 650 will remain to protect the US embassy in Kabul.
America leaves Afghanistan in a precarious state, with the Taliban emboldened and taking over districts across the country. With the full US withdrawal on the horizon and Afghan forces repeatedly losing or surrendering, regional militias have popped up to carry on the fight against the Taliban.
US officials have warned that deserting bases like Bagram leaves the US few options to strike terror groups or launch raid forces to capture militants, should the country again become hideout for groups plotting to attack the West. Aircraft carrier-launched fighters, for instance, would need clearance to fly over Pakistan on long missions to Afghanistan that would have little loiter time to find targets before returning, with the added risk of how to evacuate an American pilot whose jet malfunctions or is shot down.
Gen. Austin S. Miller, the top US commander in Afghanistan, earlier this week offered a grim assessment of what could come next for Afghanistan.
"A civil war is certainly a path that can be visualized if this continues on the trajectory it's on right now, that should be of concern to the world," Miller told reporters.
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