U.S. President Joe Biden listens as Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, D.C., last Friday, amid the ongoing retrograde of the U.S. military from Afghanistan. Pool Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI | License Photo
June 29 (UPI) -- More than 50% of the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan, including departure of American troops, has been completed, U.S. Central Command said on Tuesday.
The Department of Defense has withdrawn about 896 C-17 loads of material out of Afghanistan, including nearly 15,943 pieces of equipment identified for disposition, as of Monday morning, CENTCOM said in the Tuesday press release.
The United States has also turned over six facilities to the Afghan Ministry of Defense.
"U.S. Central Command estimates that we have completed more than 50% of the entire retrograde process," CENTCOM said, noting that it expects to hand over additional bases and military equipment in the near future.
The progress is apparent after then Pentagon announced in early June that the pullout was 30% complete.
The Biden administration first announced in April this year that it expected the withdrawal to end by September 11, 2021.
More recently, the evacuation appears to have picked up with troops expected to depart entirely by the end of July.
Amid the exit plans, last week Biden hosted Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani at the White House.
"The United States has not spared any effort in blood or treasure during these years. As a grateful nation I want to acknowledge that and ask you, thank the gold star families," Ghani said.
The United States first invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, leading to two decades of U.S. occupation.
In that time over 2,500 Americans have died and 1 million have served in the nation during the United States' longest foreign occupation.
The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier was deployed to the region to relieve the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower as a temporary measure last week.
Meanwhile in nearby Syria U.S. forces recently found themselves under missile fire in the al-Omar oil field.
The attacks came from Iraq-based rebels, according to officials..
In retaliation the United States ordered attacks on Kata'ib Hezbollah and Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada.