Tuesday, 26 October, 2021


Biden to withdraw all USA troops from Afghanistan by September 11

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Noah Ferguson | 13 April, 2021, 23:53

Military leaders, particularly in the special operations community, are concerned that when the US withdraws, the terrorist threat will evolve and grow in Afghanistan's vast uncontested regions, said one former military official familiar with the discussions.

The Washington Post was the first to report Biden's impending announcement, which is expected Wednesday. In the fight against terrorism, the United States then went to Afghanistan and hunted down Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the devastating terrorism.

The US has some 2,500 troops in Afghanistan as part of a 9,600-strong North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission in the country. The Netherlands and other member states are also contributing troops to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation missions in Afghanistan.

The alliance announced the jumbo meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin attending in person after talks with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief Jens Stoltenberg.

The withdrawal will miss a May 1 deadline that had been established by the Trump administration in a deal with the Taliban a year ago, which included provisions for peace talks between Afghanistan's government and the Taliban that have since faltered. This was in line with the radical Islamic Taliban, which was able to maintain itself despite years of fighting with foreign powers.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin are expected to brief North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies on the decision in the Belgian capital, Brussels, on Wednesday.

USA officials said that raids by special operations troops based outside the country and airstrikes could be employed if intelligence found that Al Qaeda posed a growing threat.

"The conference will focus on helping the negotiating parties reach a set of shared, foundational principles that reflect an agreed vision for a future Afghanistan, a roadmap to a future political settlement and an end to the conflict", read the statement.

Biden would not commit to a withdrawal by May 1 during a press conference last month, saying that a full withdrawal by that date would be hard.

Democratic Senator Jack Reed, chairman of Senate Armed Services, called it a very hard decision for Biden.

According to the official, Biden was adamant that a hasty, ill-coordinated withdrawal that puts at risk United States forces and those of its allies and operational partners is not a viable option.

Peace talks that began a year ago between the Taliban and the Afghan government had been seen as the best hope, but they have produced little so far.

Biden administration and Pentagon officials have signaled for months that they will not meet the May 1 deadline to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan.

Tellingly, he added: "And if we leave, we're going to do so in a safe and orderly way". The roughly 3,500 troops could be airlifted out fairly quickly, but a rushed exit would pose force-protection challenges and necessitate destroying sensitive equipment or leaving it in the hands of the Afghan security forces. "We will leave", Biden said.

As a condition of starting negotiations with the Afghan government, the Taliban also demanded the release of thousands of their men in a prisoner swap.

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