The president will make an official statement on this issue on Wednesday, a source in the Biden administration said.
President Joe Biden has decided to fully withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that triggered the longest-running US-led military conflict. A senior White House official announced this in an interview with reporters.
According to Agence France-Presse, President Biden will make an official statement on this issue on Wednesday. Earlier, the president considered the possibility of maintaining a small contingent in Afghanistan to fight the terrorist groups “Al-Qaeda” and “Islamic State.” Also, the option of linking the withdrawal of troops to the progress of peace talks between the Taliban and official Kabul was considered.
As a result, the president decided to order a full withdrawal of troops, except for limited personnel to protect American facilities in Afghanistan, including the US Embassy in Kabul, a White House official said.
“The president decided that the approach… which has been used for the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever,” said a source in the administration.
According to a deal made by the administration of former President Donald Trump with the Taliban in February 2020, all US troops were to leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for the Taliban’s promise not to support Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups.
A Biden administration official said the withdrawal would begin in May. Due to logistical issues, the delay specifies that troops could be withdrawn from Afghanistan well before September 11. Simultaneously, the source warned the Taliban about the inadmissibility of attacking the coalition forces after the Americans’ departure, warning of an imminent “retaliatory strike” to any such attack.
Ten years ago, the United States deployed about 100,000 troops to Afghanistan as part of President Barack Obama’s strategy of building up the force to defeat the Taliban. By the end of the Trump presidency, the number of US military personnel in this country had dropped to 2,500.
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, a Biden ally, said the United States achieved its primary goal 10 years ago by eliminating Osama bin Laden, adding that it was time to “refocus American national security on the most pressing challenges we face.”
Simultaneously, Mike McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he was “shocked and appalled” by Biden’s decision. The withdrawal, according to McCaul, means “abandoning the support of our Afghan partners during the most important peace negotiations and … a complete victory for the Taliban.”