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Taliban advances in Afghanistan as U.S. withdrawal 95% complete

By
Kyle Barnett
As the U.S. military pulls out of Afghanistan -- more than 95% of which is completed -- security of the country has been left to Afghan security officials, such as those pictured, amid a Taliban offensive across the country. File Photo by Muhammad Sadiq/EPA-EFE
As the U.S. military pulls out of Afghanistan -- more than 95% of which is completed -- security of the country has been left to Afghan security officials, such as those pictured, amid a Taliban offensive across the country. File Photo by Muhammad Sadiq/EPA-EFE

July 13 (UPI) -- The United States pullout from Afghanistan is more than 95% completed, the U.S. military said Tuesday, as the Taliban has mounted a growing offensive in the country.

U.S. Central Command said in a press release that the "orderly and responsible withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan" was still underway, with less than 5% of the withdrawal process left to complete.

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As of July 12, the Department of Defense had moved 984 C-17 loads out of the country and offline 17,074 pieces of equipment.

The United States has also transitioned seven facilities to the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

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The announcement comes a day after Army Gen. Austin "Scott" Miller announced he was stepping down. Miller led U.S. forces in the country for nearly three years.

President Joe Biden first announced the ordered withdrawal of troops in April.

In the wake of the announcement, the Taliban launched an offensive and captured a reported 80 districts.

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Reports from the front indicate a swift takeover without opposition of many areas of the country by the Taliban, which has also reportedly recovered caches of American equipment abandoned by fleeing Afghans.

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Afghan forces have been retreating, with over 1,800 having reportedly fled into border areas.

Taliban fighters killed 22 Afghan commandos Tuesday as they attempted to surrender in the continued conflict.

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The country's second largest city, Kandahar, was able to push back a Taliban attack on Friday.

Further outbreaks of skirmishes were reported in Kunduz, Baghlan, Herat, Ghazni, Faryab and Maidan Wardak provinces.

The U.S. withdrawal was originally planned for September but is ahead of schedule and is expected to wrap up by the end of July.

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The occupation of Afghanistan has lasted nearly 20 years and is the United States' longest running conflict.

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