Photo taken on Jan 23, 2018 shows a Black Hawk helicopter during a handover ceremony between the US forces and the Afghan air force in Kandahar province, south Afghanistan. [Photo/Xinhua]

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

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

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

Helmand province, notorious for poppy growing, is a known Taliban insurgents’ stronghold.

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

About 3,500 US forces and 7,000 NATO troops will be withdrawn before Sept 11, the day which is the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that drew the United States into war in Afghanistan.