The American and British flags were lowered and folded up for the final time at the regional headquarters of the international military, 13 years after the toppling of the Taliban’s radical Islamist regime launched America’s longest war. The timing of the troops’ withdrawal from the base in the strategic province of Helmand was not released for security reasons. However, according to earlier reports, the ‘longest war in American history’ will last at least another decade, as per the conditions of a garrisoning deal for US forces signed by the new Afghanistan government late last month.The deal guarantees that US and NATO troops will not have to withdraw by year’s end, and permits their stay ‘until the end of 2024 and beyond.’ Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJIBut the current wrap-ups hold high symbolic currency. Camp Leatherneck is the largest US base to be handed over to Afghan control as the coalition ends its combat mission at the end of the year, leaving most of the fight against a resilient Taliban insurgency to Afghan army and police. British forces transferred the adjacent Camp Bastion at the same time. Once a teeming compound of some 40,000 personnel, the coalition’s Regional Command (Southwest) combined base on Sunday resembled a dust-swept, well-fortified ghost town. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindConcrete blast walls and razor wire were left guarding empty sand lots and barracks. Offices were bare, and bulletin boards stripped of photo tributes of fallen American troops. The most recent official estimate of combined international troops at the base was 4,500 – and those last few will be gone soon, officials said. After the withdrawal, the Afghan National Army’s 215th Corps will be headquartered at the 6,500-acre base, leaving almost no foreign military presence in Helmand.