NATO closes 202 bases in Afghanistan as part of drawdown

Last Updated: Mon, Aug 27, 2012 06:54 hrs

Kabul :North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) officials have said they have closed down more than 200 bases in Afghanistan and transferred nearly 300 others to local forces.

The officials said the move is a concrete step towards its 2014 target of handing over security-related responsibilities to Afghanistan.

NATO forces spokesperson David Olson said that all 202 closed facilities were small, ranging from isolated checkpoints to bases of a dozen to 300 soldiers.

According to News 24, Olson said that most of the bases that have been closed are along the country's main highways, spread across nearly every province.

Another 282 bases of the same size have been handed over to the Afghanistan Government, he said.

According to the report, the closures are part of the large-scale drawdown over this year and next year as international forces prepare to transfer security responsibility to the Afghan Government at the end of 2014.

Most of the troops that are leaving are American, and therefore most of the closures are U.S. bases, the report said.

"As our Afghan security force partners take more responsibility for their own security, more bases will be closing and transitioning," Steven Shapiro, who is heading up the operation to return or handover U.S. equipment, said. 

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