KABUL, Afghanistan — The U.S. military has begun its complete withdrawal from Afghanistan, the top American commander there said Sunday, marking what amounts to the beginning of the end of the United States’ nearly 20-year-old war in the country.
“I now have a set of orders,” said Gen. Austin S. Miller, the head of the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, to a news conference of Afghan journalists at the U.S. military’s headquarters in Kabul, the capital. “We will conduct an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan, and that means transitioning bases and equipment to the Afghan security forces.”
General Miller’s remarks come almost two weeks after President Biden announced that all U.S. forces would be out of the country by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that propelled the United States into its long war in Afghanistan.
Mr. Biden’s announcement was greeted with uncertainty in Afghanistan, as it prepares for a future without a U.S. and NATO military presence despite a Taliban insurgency that seems dead set on a military victory despite talks of peace.
The insurgent group’s harsh version of Islamic law, which barred women from many jobs during its rule in the late 1990s and banned music and dance, among other arts, will probably return if the Taliban reassumes power — either through force or if they are incorporated into the government.
Holding the line for now are the Afghan security forces, which have endured a particularly difficult…