WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 06th May, 2021) The US pullout of troops from Afghanistan is proceeding according to plan, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a press conference on Thursday.
"So far, less than one week in, the drawdown is going according to plan," Austin said.
Austin said the United States has pulled out about 60 C-17 plane loads of equipment from Afghanistan and marked more than 1,300 pieces of equipment that will be destroyed. Moreover, the United States has formally handed over the US base Camp Antonik in Helmand, Afghanistan, to the Afghan National Army, he added.
US Central Command estimates that the United States has completed between 2 percent to 6 percent of the entire withdrawal process.
Austin said Washington will do everything to make the drawdown deliberate, orderly and safe as well as to protect its people and partners.
The US administration is hopeful that the Afghan security forces will be able to play a major role in stopping the Taliban, but acknowledged that it will be a challenge for them, Austin said. The United States will continue to support the Afghan security forces through logistics and financial support after the US withdrawal, Austin said.
The withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan began last week, following the original May 1 deadline agreed upon by the United States and the Taliban. A full withdrawal from the country would mark an end to the longest war in US history.