Washington DC, Aug 24 (EFE).- The Pentagon on Tuesday confirmed that “several hundred” United States soldiers have left Afghanistan after completing their mission at Kabul airport and ruled out that their departure would affect the evacuation and withdrawal operations that Washington hopes to conclude by Aug. 31.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a statement that the troops that have left Afghanistan “represent a mix of headquarters staff, maintenance and other enabling functions that were scheduled to leave and whose mission at the airport was complete.”
Kirby described the decision as a “prudent and efficient” management of the forces and clarified that “it will have no impact on the mission at hand.”
He added that “commanders on the ground are empowered to make any adjustments they see fit, when they see fit.”
Hours earlier, CNN, citing two officials from the Department of Defense, reported that the first US soldiers had already begun to leave Afghanistan to meet the Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw US troops from the country.
One of these officials said that the reduction in troops will not affect the mission of protecting the airport since the commanders on the ground can decide which units are no longer needed.
Washington has had to boost its military presence in Afghanistan to ensure the security of Kabul airport after the Taliban’s takeover.
US President Joe Biden told his G7 partners, the European Union, NATO and the United Nations on Tuesday that his country is on track to complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan by the Aug. 31 deadline.
Biden was speaking in a virtual meeting with his partners, in which the US allies in Europe failed to convince him to extend the deadline.
The US has been forced to speed up the process of evacuating its citizens and allies in Afghanistan due to the rapid seizure of power by the Taliban, who took control of Kabul on Aug. 15. EFE