On July 1, with little warning and no public ceremony, U.S. forces abandoned the sprawling Bagram Air Base, the hub of the 20-year American war effort in Afghanistan. Six weeks later, on Aug. 15, Taliban fighters swept into the base and freed thousands of prisoners — including senior Taliban and Al Qaeda figures — from a prison complex at Bagram.
A base that was once a bustling city housing tens of thousands of troops is now a desolate ruin. Within Bagram’s concrete blast walls, a bedraggled unit of Taliban fighters guards the emptied prison, once the site where the U.S. military detained thousands of people suspected of being insurgents, often for long periods without charge or trial. The guards camp amid mountains of debris and personal belongings abandoned by fleeing prisoners, and damaged equipment left by U.S. and Afghan government forces.
turned the base over to Afghan forces in July.
built by the United States in 2009. It replaced a nearby detention center at Bagram,
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