(RepublicanInformer.com)- On Friday, July 2, the US announced after the fact that it had vacated Bagram Airbase as part of the Pentagon’s final withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
What the Pentagon didn’t do was inform the Afghan commander who would be taking over the base. Instead, they cut off the electricity and without so much as a “see ya,” left the dark, empty base wide open for looters.
And the looters went to town.
Within no time, they smashed through the north gate and completely ransacked the place.
Now, there were Afghan soldiers patrolling the perimeter of the base at the time the US left. And even they weren’t informed that the Americans were bugging out. Had they been informed, they could have secured the gates and kept the looters out. Eventually, the Afghan forces were able to secure the base and eject the looters, but not before a lot of booty was gathered up.
One of the Afghan soldiers on duty claimed that the US forces called from the airport in Kabul (more than an hour away) to let them know they’d left.
According to the incoming Afghan commander General Mir Asadullah Kohistani, all he heard was “some rumor” that the US had already bugged out. By seven o’clock in the morning, it was finally confirmed that Bagram was left empty.
Well, not entirely empty. Left behind were thousands of civilian vehicles with no keys to start them, hundreds of armored vehicles and lots of small weapons and ammo.
When the Afghan troops arrived at the base, they assumed the looters were Taliban soldiers. But they weren’t. Instead, they were scrap dealers and peddlers of US military supplies.
One Afghan soldier told the Associated Press that in one night the Americans “lost all the good will of twenty years by leaving the way they did.”
When the Afghan forces opened the base for reporters on Monday, soldiers were still cleaning up the piles of garbage left behind by the looters. While outside the base, scrap dealers and peddlers were selling the wares they grabbed up in their looting spree.
Rather than directly address this major SNAFU, US military spokesman Colonel Sonny Leggett merely referred reporters to a statement sent out last week. In this statement, Leggett had said that the US forces were coordinating their departure with Afghanistan’s leaders.
If only they told Afghanistan’s leaders that.