1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, watch CH-47 Chinook helicopters during a dust storm at Forward Operating Base Kushamond, Afghanistan, July 17, while preparing for an air strike mission above circle.
U.S. Army photo
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September and miss an important May 1 deadline brokered by the Trump administration, a senior government official said Tuesday.
Biden’s withdrawal from US forces coincides with the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that sparked the nation’s entry into the longest war. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the withdrawal of US and foreign troops from the war-torn country could come well before September.
“We will reposition our counter-terrorism capabilities to preserve significant assets in the region to counter the possible recurrence of a terrorist threat to the homeland from Afghanistan, and to keep the Taliban committed to ensuring that al-Qaeda is the United States or ours Interests are not threatened again or our allies, “said the official.
The government understands that “military force would not solve Afghanistan’s internal political challenges,” the official said.
Biden is expected to announce his plan on Wednesday.
In February 2020, the Trump administration brokered a deal with the Taliban that would initiate a permanent ceasefire and further reduce the US military’s footprint from around 13,000 soldiers to 8,600 by mid-July last year.
According to the agreement, all foreign armed forces would have left Afghanistan by May 2021. The majority of the troops in the country come from Europe and partner countries. About 2,500 US soldiers are now in Afghanistan.
U.S. Marines conduct a security patrol in South Shorsurak, Helmand province, Afghanistan, during Operation New Dawn June 20, 2010.
U.S. Marine Corps Photo
Last month, during his first press conference, Biden told reporters that he couldn’t commit to the May 1 deadline.
“It will be difficult to meet the May 1st deadline,” said Biden, adding, “I don’t intend to be there long.”
When asked whether US soldiers would stay in Afghanistan for another year, Biden said he didn’t see it that way.
“We won’t stay long. We will go, the question is when do we go,” said the president, adding that his administration was in consultations with NATO allies and partners in the region.
The announcement comes as Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meet with NATO partners in Brussels. NATO joined the international security effort in Afghanistan in 2003 and currently has more than 7,000 soldiers in the country.
According to a Department of Defense report, the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have combined cost US taxpayers more than $ 1.57 trillion since September 11, 2001.
Read more: Biden should hold U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the May deadline, the study group says