The U.S. closed five military bases in Afghanistan as part of a settlement signed with Taliban more than four months ago. The deal promised to remove all U.S. forces from the bases in the first 135 days, a milestone met on Tuesday.
Afghan media outlet Tolo reported the five U.S. bases that shut down are located in Uruzgan, Paktika, Helmand and Laghman provinces, in southern and eastern Afghanistan. The bigger U.S. bases in Bagram, located outside Kabul, and Kandahar Air Field in southern Afghanistan remain open.
Another major part of the agreement was the removal of American troops in Doha, Afghanistan in February. The total number troops decreased from over 100,000 to just around 8,600. Despite the reduction in U.S. troops, violence between the Afghan and Taliban forces continued to rise.
Surge in violence
Shortly before the closure of the bases, the Taliban detonated a car bomb at a government facility, near the office of the National Directorate of Security, a key intelligence agency, killing 11 security personnel and wounding over 50 civilians, including children.
The surge in violence is most likely to be seen as a tactical move to force the hand of the government to release more Taliban prisoners. It is clear that the government are set on reducing the amount of violence occurring in the country.
Former ambassador to Afghanistan, Khalilzad stated, “We condemn today’s attack. The use of major explosives to detonate a vehicle in a provincial capital is unacceptable and will strengthen those who oppose peace and plays into the hands of spoilers. All sides must reduce violence.”
The government of Afghanistan has pushed its agenda and has released 4,199 Taliban prisoners to relieve tensions. Even though there have been prisoner exchanges, mutual peace agreements have stalled and are still awaiting completion.