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US closes 5 Afghan bases as part of Taliban peace deal

Kabul: Even as Taliban attacks against Afghan forces continue to surge, the US has shut down five of its military bases as part of a February peace pact with the Taliban, media reports said.

The bases were in Helmand, Uruzgan, Paktika and Laghman provinces, TOLO News reported.

“The US has worked hard to carry out the 1st phase of its commitments under the Agreement, including to reduce forces & depart five bases. NATO troops have come down in proportional numbers,” US Special Representative on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said on Twitter.

The larger US bases in Bagram, located outside Kabul, and Kandahar Air Field in southern Afghanistan remain open.

US troops in the country have been reduced to 8,600.

However, violence between the Taliban and Afghan forces has spiked in recent months, according to the Afghan government.

A day ahead of the base closures, the Taliban detonated a car bomb at a government facility in Aybak, killing 11 security personnel and wounding at least 63 civilians, including children.

The US-Taliban deal signed on February 29 in Doha has remained unimplemented in some parts of the agreement, such as a reduction in violence and intra-Afghan negotiations, which should have happened 135 days after the accord.

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