U.S. forces in Afghanistan hand over base to Afghan National Army

The U.S. forces in Afghanistan on Sunday handed over a key operating base to the Afghan National Army in restive southern Helmand province, local media reported.

"Camp Antonik in Helmand province was officially handed over to the Afghan army's 215 Maiwand Corps on Sunday," Tolo News TV reported.

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With no change in its name, the camp will be used as a base for Afghan Special Operations Forces, the report said.

Helmand, notorious for poppy growing, is a known Taliban insurgents' stronghold. Last month, at least 15 soldiers were killed following an armed attack by Taliban forces on an Afghan army checkpoint in the province's Nahri Saraj district.

The violence lingers in war-torn Afghanistan as U.S. and NATO troops have been leaving the country.

Five soldiers and eight militants were killed when fighting erupted in Afghanistan's northern Badakhshan province on Saturday night.

On Friday, there was a suicide attack in Pul-e-Alam, capital of Afghanistan's eastern Logar province, killing and injuring many civilians and causing significant damage to civilian premises, including a hospital.

The United States formally began withdrawing its last troops from Afghanistan on Saturday. About 3,500 U.S. forces and 7,000 NATO troops will be withdrawn before September 11, the day that marks the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that drew the U.S. into war in Afghanistan.

(Cover: Afghan National Army soldiers inspect the site of a car bomb attack on a military base in Shirzad district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, January 30, 2021. /Reuters)

(With input from Xinhua)

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