In fact, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan has already begun | Free press

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Kabul (dpa) – After nearly 20 years, the US and NATO have actually started the process of their withdrawal from Afghanistan with local action. The general of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Austin Scott Miller, told reporters in Kabul on Sunday.

The official date is May 1, Miller said. At the same time they have already started “by taking measures on location”.

US President Joe Biden announced last week that he would be bringing home US troops by September 11. After the US, NATO had also decided to withdraw its troops. Meanwhile, the move to July 4 is under discussion. Both are symbolic dates: September 11, 2001 was the Al Qaeda attack in the US and July 4 is the US national holiday, commemorating independence in 1776.

Miller said on Sunday an orderly withdrawal would be organized. That means that all bases and other equipment would be turned over to the Afghan security forces.

According to official information, 2500 American soldiers were last stationed in Afghanistan. In addition, there are about 18,000 US indentured servants in the country who perform various duties. NATO still has about 7,500 soldiers in the country, including about 1,100 from Germany.

Meanwhile, at least seven civilians have been killed by government forces in two incidents in Afghanistan. Local officials confirmed this on Sunday. According to this, at least four members of a family were killed in an air strike by the Afghan Air Force in the Jalriz district of the central province of Wardak.

At least three other civilians were killed in the Saidabad district of the same province when a private home was hit by a mortar shell. A county council said the shelling came from a government checkpoint. As a sign of protest against the killings, hundreds of protesters blocked the highway between Kabul and Kandahar on Sunday.

Wardak is now considered a stronghold of the militant Islamist Taliban. There are repeated reports of civilians being killed or injured during operations by the Afghan security forces.

The day before, at least 10 people had died in attacks and murders. In the capital, Kabul, strangers shot and killed a university lecturer, a government official and four police officers in three incidents. A police spokesman announced this on Saturday. Targeted killings by Islamist organizations have increased sharply in Kabul in recent weeks.

A roadside bomb explosion also killed at least four civilians and injured two others in eastern Afghanistan. The incident took place in the provincial capital of Ghazni, a spokesman for the governor of Ghazni said. The Taliban were suspected of being behind the attack.