Bagram Air Force Base, located in Afghanistan, has a rich history that spans several decades. It has played a significant role in military operations in the region. Here’s a brief overview of its development and history:
- Early Development: Bagram Air Force Base was initially built by the Soviet Union during its occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. It was a key military installation for the Soviet forces during the Afghan War, which lasted from 1979 to 1989. The base was initially known as Bagram Airfield.
- Post-Soviet Era: After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, the Afghan civil war continued, and control of the airfield changed hands multiple times. It was sometimes controlled by various warlords and factions.
- U.S. Involvement: Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001, the U.S. and its coalition partners launched Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Bagram Airfield was one of the first locations used by U.S. forces in the early stages of the conflict. The base was strategically important for launching military operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
- Expansion: Over the years, Bagram Airfield was significantly expanded and improved to support the growing U.S. and coalition presence. The base saw the construction of modern facilities, runways, and defensive structures. It also became one of the largest military installations in Afghanistan.
- Role in the War on Terror: Bagram Air Force Base served as a major hub for military and logistical operations during the War on Terror. It hosted a range of activities, including combat operations, intelligence gathering, and detention facilities. The base was home to the infamous Bagram detention facility, which housed detainees captured during the conflict.
- Transition to Afghan Control: In 2014, the United States formally handed over control of the detention facility at Bagram to the Afghan government, a significant step in the drawdown of international forces.
- U.S. Withdrawal: The U.S. formally ended its combat mission in Afghanistan in August 2021, and the withdrawal of American and coalition forces from Bagram Air Force Base was a highly publicized event. The base was officially handed over to Afghan security forces.
- Taliban Takeover: In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal, the Taliban rapidly gained control of various regions of Afghanistan, including Bagram Air Force Base. The Afghan government collapsed, and the base fell into Taliban hands in July 2021.
Bagram Air Force Base’s history is closely intertwined with the complex and often turbulent events in Afghanistan, including the Soviet occupation, the U.S.-led coalition’s involvement, and the changing dynamics of Afghan politics and security. It played a vital role in supporting military operations and logistics in the region during its active years, making it a significant symbol of the conflict in Afghanistan.