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Pentagon Says Afghan Withdrawal Proceeding Steadily

Up to 3,500 U.S. troops will withdraw from Afghanistan.

The Pentagon says the withdrawal of remaining U.S. military forces in Afghanistan is proceeding steadily to meeting a September 11 deadline set by U.S. President Joe Biden.

In a statement on May 11, the U.S. military's Central Command, or Centcom, said enough equipment had been decommissioned to fill 104 C-17 Globemaster planes, the military’s jumbo transport aircraft.

More than 1,800 pieces of equipment had been turned over to a separate logistics agency to be destroyed, Centcom said.

It also said a base in Helmand Province had been turned over to Afghan forces.

Centcom estimated that it had completed up to 12 percent of the "retrograde process" -- a technical term used by the military to describe a withdrawal of forces and equipment.

In April, Biden announced the withdrawal of remaining forces -- about 2,500-3,500 U.S. troops and about 7,000 NATO troops -- by September 11, after two decades of U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan.

The administration of former President Donald Trump originally pledged to be out of the war-torn country by May 1, but Biden pushed the date back.

Fighting has been soaring across the country amid the ongoing withdrawal of U.S. and international forces from Afghanistan by September 11.

The pullout will be a major test for Afghan security forces, with U.S. generals and other officials expressing concerns in recent weeks that it might lead to the collapse of the Afghan government in the absence of progress on stalled peace talks with the Taliban.

Intra-Afghan peace efforts have stalled since the Western-backed government in Kabul and the Taliban began talks in Qatar last year.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters