Taliban Fighters Advance After U.S. Closes Main Afghan Base


KABUL—Taliban fighters have moved to take control of dozens of new districts in Afghanistan in recent days, after the U.S. last week closed its operations at Bagram Air Field, the centerpiece of the American military presence for nearly 20 years.

The transfer of the air base to the Afghan army added momentum to a Taliban drive which has retaken districts in the country’s north, east and south, according to officials and local news reports.

U.S. officials have said Taliban fighters have taken more than 100 districts, although more than 15 districts appear to have fallen to Taliban control in the past two days, according to ToloNews.

Afghanistan consists of more than 400 local government districts, which are comparable to counties in the U.S., and district centers. Local Afghan forces have fled amid Taliban advances in some districts, while fighting has ensued in others.

Gen. Scott Miller, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is traveling to Brussels and Doha, Qatar, to meet with other officials, and is expected to return to Afghanistan soon. He then is expected to turn over his command in the coming weeks. Rear Adm. Peter Vasely, who is already in the country, will become the new U.S. senior officer, officials said.