The final phase of ending America’s “forever war” in Afghanistan after 20 years formally began Saturday, with the withdrawal of the last U.S. and NATO troops by the end of summer.
President Joe Biden had set May 1 as the official start of the withdrawal of the remaining forces — 2,500 to 3,500 U.S. troops and about 7,000 NATO soldiers.
Even before Saturday, the herculean task of packing up and shipping out had begun.
The military has been taking inventory, deciding what is to be shipped back to the U.S., what is to be handed to the Afghan security forces and what is to be sold as junk. In recent weeks, the military has been flying out equipment on massive C-17 cargo planes.
The U.S. is estimated to have spent more than $2 trillion in Afghanistan in the past two decades, according to the Costs of War project at Brown University.