On 8 June, United States Central Command (CENTCOM) declared in its regular weekly report that the Afghanistan withdrawal is halfway complete. Released on 8 June, the report was titled “Update on withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan June 7, 2021”.
In addition to reporting the handover of six bases to Afghan government forces, the report stated that:
“Since the President’s decision, the DoD has retrograded the equivalent of approximately 500 C-17 loads of material out of Afghanistan and have turned [over] nearly 13,000 pieces of equipment to the Defense Logistics Agency for disposition.”
The withdrawal from Afghanistan is of course not limited to just US forces. Crucially, Germany announced last week that it will be withdrawing 60,000 cans of beer from the country. The news was widely reported by the German media. German soldiers were generally allowed to consume moderate amounts of alcohol while stationed in Afghanistan but the increased risk resulting from heightened enemy activity was used as justification by German commanders to cancel the privilege. More than 1,000 alcohol-deprived German personnel still remain in Afghanistan.
As the withdrawal continues, questions have continued to arise regarding the future of Afghan Interpreters who had served along coalition troops. Congress has recently called upon the President to expedite the visa processing process for Afghan interpreters but little progress has been made so far. Without more resolute action such as an airlift followed by processing inside the Untied States, it is unlikely that they could be successfully withdrawn before the Department of Defense finishes its Afghanistan exit strategy. Disregarding morality, there is some merit to keeping the interpreters in Afghanistan from a geopolitical perspective; the danger posed to their families by the Taliban is likely to incentivize them to fight hard to preserve the current government. Nevertheless, a continued record of perceived betrayal will make it harder for the US to recruit similar supporters in future conflicts.