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A U.S. Air Force transport plane lands at the Bagram Air Base on July 1, 2021. Photo: WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

The U.S. military has departed Bagram Airfield, the center of its war to oust the Taliban and search for the al-Qaeda perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, AP reports, citing two U.S. officials.

The big picture: The airfield was handed over to the Afghan National Security and Defense Force entirely, a clear indication that the remaining U.S. troops have left the region or are planning departure ahead of President Biden’s promise that they would be gone by Sept. 11, per AP.

  • American troops arrived at Bagram nearly two decades ago.
  • The troop withdrawal from Afghanistan is likely to be complete within the coming days, much earlier than the timeline that Biden had initially set for withdrawal, CNN reports.

Driving the news: The American departure from Bagram was done overnight with no coordination with local officials, per Afghanistan’s district administrator for Bagram, Darwaish Raufi.

  • Early Friday morning, dozens of looters entered the base before Afghan forces regained control.
  • "They were stopped and some have been arrested and the rest have been cleared from the base," Raufi told AP.
  • "Unfortunately the Americans left without any coordination with Bagram district officials or the governor’s office," Raufi said. "Right now our Afghan security forces are in control both inside and outside of the base."

Go deeper: Afghan president visits D.C. amid growing fears of Taliban takeover

Go deeper

Oct 9, 2021 - World

U.S. officials, Taliban to convene for first in-person senior meeting

A member of the Taliban Fateh, a "special forces" unit, on Sept. 8 stands guard outside the former U.S. Embassy, which now displays a Taliban flag in the outer concrete wall. Photo: Aamir QURESHI//AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. delegation will meet with "senior Taliban representatives" in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday and Sunday, a State Department spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: It will be the first in-person meeting at a senior level since the Taliban reclaimed Afghanistan.

Updated Oct 8, 2021 - World

Suicide bombing at Shiite mosque in Afghanistan kills dozens

Taliban fighters investigate following the attack in Kunduz. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

A suicide bombing inside a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan on Friday killed more than 45 people and wounded dozens of others, AP reports.

Driving the news: ISIS-K, an Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the blast, which took place as people gathered for Friday noon prayers at the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque in the city of Kunduz, per AP. It's the highest death toll in an attack since U.S. and NATO troops withdrew from the country in August.

2 hours ago - World

U.S: Nord Stream 2 "will not move forward" if Russia invades Ukraine

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price during a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will make sure the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany won't go ahead if Russian troops invade Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told NPR on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Germany's ambassador to the U.S. appeared to support Price's strong rhetoric on the strategically significant pipeline that would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion, per Axios' Zachary Basu.