Ex-US Bagram Base 'Active Again' Amid Unconfirmed Media Claims of China's Interest in Airfield

© REUTERS / WANA NEWS AGENCYVahdat, a Taliban soldier and former prisoner, sits on a chair at Bagram Air Base in Parwan, Afghanistan, September 23, 2021. Picture taken September 23, 2021. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS
Vahdat, a Taliban soldier and former prisoner, sits on a chair at Bagram Air Base in Parwan, Afghanistan, September 23, 2021. Picture taken September 23, 2021. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS  - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.10.2021
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The airbase was abandoned this summer by US troops amid a withdrawal ordered by US President Joe Biden. The airfield has since been seized by the Taliban*, but has remained dormant, potentially due to the lack of pilots in the organisation's ranks.
The Bagram Airbase, located not far from Kabul, Afghanistan, had its floodlights turned on for the first time in over a month, according to the accounts of local social media users posting alleged photos of it online. The airfield, which used to serve as the main base of the US military in Afghanistan, has also seen the return of air traffic to and from it, according to the alleged accounts of locals. Several military planes have reportedly flown to and from Bagram.
Дым от взрыва возле аэропорта в Кабуле, Афганистан - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.10.2021
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Several media outlets, including the Daily Mail and US News & World Report, were quick to allege that the planes could have belonged to China, citing the Asian nation's purported interest in the base.
Sputnik could not independently confirm the change in Bagram Airbase's status or the country of origin of the allegedly arriving aircraft.
US News & World Report claimed that China had mulled sending in military personnel and economic development officials to the former US airbase to assess whether it could be useful, for example as a part of the "Belt and Road Initiative". However, the Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, strongly denied such allegations as "a piece of purely false information".
The Taliban*, which seized power in Afghanistan in August amid the US withdrawal from the country, also rejected the notion that Bagram was occupied by Chinese forces. While the group did not explain the reports of increased activity at the base, some social media users alleged it had been re-activated to boost its defences against the purportedly remaining forces of the "resistance" – a group that defies and fights against the Taliban's rule.
*The Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries.
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