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President Biden announcing the Afghanistan withdrawal on April 14. Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

The U.S. has withdrawn more than 50% of its forces and equipment from Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command estimated in an update Tuesday.

Why it matters: President Biden announced in April that the U.S. would begin the process of withdrawing all forces from Afghanistan starting May 1, with the goal of finishing by Sept. 11. CENTCOM said Tuesday that it would no longer be updating the specific percentage of its withdrawal, citing security reasons.

Details: As of June 8, the U.S. Department of Defense has retrograded about 500 C-17 loads of material out of Afghanistan.

  • Approximately 13,000 pieces of equipment, comprised of federal excess personal property, have been handed over to the Defense Logistics Agency, according to CENTCOM
  • Additionally, six U.S. facilities have been turned over to the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

The big picture: The U.S. withdrawal has sparked fears that the Taliban could overrun the Afghan government and retake control of the country.

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that Taliban forces are preparing for "large-scale offensives against major population centers," surrounding positions held by Afghan security forces as they wait for the last U.S. troops to depart.
  • The State Department announced last week it would send more than $266 million in new humanitarian aid to Afghanistan as part of its enduring commitment to the country's stability.

Go deeper

Obama, Bush, Clinton join aid effort welcoming Afghan refugees to U.S.

Then-President Obama (left), and former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton attend the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in April 2013 in Dallas. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton, along with first ladies, governors, mayors and military leaders, will help welcome and support Afghan refugees who fled the country for the United States because of Taliban rule as part of an aid effort being launched Tuesday.

Why it matters: The U.S. evacuated more than 65,000 Afghans during its military withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the Biden administration must now process and resettle thousands of families around the country in the coming weeks.

Sep 15, 2021 - World

Trump officials aim to turn GOP against Afghan refugees

Photo: Douglas P. DeFelice via Getty Images

A handful of former Trump officials are making a concerted effort to amass opposition to Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban, AP reports.

Why it matters: In media appearances, position papers and meetings with GOP lawmakers, they're crafting a narrative that hinges on the anti-immigrant sentiment that defined former President Trump's rise and overall discontent with the Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Red flags for Biden's "over-the-horizon" strategy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration's "over-the-horizon" strategy in Afghanistan is drawing serious questions from lawmakers and counterterrorism experts, as the U.S. withdrawal shifts calculations about threats and capabilities.

Driving the news: Tensions ramped up in an Aug. 27 conference call between President Biden's top national security officials and senators from both parties, sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios. One said members of the intelligence community label it, derisively, the "over-the-rainbow" strategy.