Report: U.S. starts shipping equipment out of Afghanistan

Squad of Three Fully Equipped and Armed Soldiers Standing on Hill in Desert Environment in Sunset Light.

The United States has commenced moving equipment out of Afghanistan as it begins to withdraw troops and wind down its longest-ever war, three defense officials told CNN in a Friday report.

One of the officials told the news outlet that the immediate focus is to continue shipping out unnecessary equipment and supplies that will neither be destroyed nor provided to Afghan forces. Equipment deemed to be “obsolete” will be destroyed, the official also said.

Although the withdrawal of personnel will not begin “for a few weeks,” the U.S. will “retain our ability to defend the force and provide support” to Afghan units, the official said.

In order to safeguard U.S. and NATO forces—plus contractors—as they pull out of Afghanistan, the Pentagon has authorized the deployment of hundreds of maritime, air, and land forces to the region, the defense officials told CNN.

Furthermore, the Pentagon also approved maintaining an aircraft carrier in the region, to protect troops with fighter jets as they pull out, CNN mentioned. The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the carrier currently stationed in the region, will likely stay put and have its return home delayed, the officials said.

Last week, President Joe Biden announced his plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from the country by September 11 of this year, the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which caused the U.S. to initially invade Afghanistan.

“War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking,” Biden said last week in the White House Treaty Room, the same room from which President George W. Bush had announced the war’s start in October 2001. “It’s time to end the forever war.”

“We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives,” Biden also said. “Bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda is degraded in Afghanistan and it’s time to end the forever war.”

RELATED: ‘It’s time to end America’s longest war’: Biden announces plan to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan

About 2,500 U.S. troops are posted in Afghanistan, on top of the hundreds of special operations forces.

No more than 1,000 ground troops, under the Defense Department approval, will also be deployed to Afghanistan to offer “force protection” for troops exiting the country, the outlet also reported.

MORE ON AFGHANISTAN: Trump: ‘I wish Joe Biden wouldn’t use September 11th as the date to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan’

MORE ON AFGHANISTAN: ‘I could not disagree more’: Graham slams Trump’s support of Biden’s proposed U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.