US plans to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by September 11
President Biden will remove all United States troops from Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks this year. The removal of troops will end America’s longest war around five months later than planned, a US official said.
Biden has “reached the conclusion that the United States will complete its drawdown – will remove its forces from Afghanistan – before September 11,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
President Biden is set to make an announcement Wednesday that all US forces, in coordination with those of Western allies, will leave other than limited personnel to guard United States diplomatic installations, the official added.
President Joe Biden ‘Conditions-based approach’
He will not link the departure to conditions on the ground, where there are fears the Taliban could make major gains against the internationally-backed government in Kabul.
“The president has judged that a conditions-based approach, which has been the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever,” the official said, calling for a shifting of US priorities.
For Afghans, the fighting will likely grind on. The USA intelligence released a threat assessment report warning that the Afghan government “will struggle” to hold off the “confident” Taliban if the US-led coalition leaves.
Taliban face ‘forceful response’
The withdrawal will begin in May and that the delay was largely logistic, with troops possibly out of Afghan well before September 11.
The Biden official warned the Taliban of a “forceful response” if they strike American troops on the way out.
“We have communicated to the Taliban in no uncertain terms that is they do conduct attacks against US or allied forces as we carry out this drawdown,” he said, “that we will hit back hard.”
The threat assessment report said the Taliban “is confident it can achieve military victory.”
“Afghan forces continue to secure major cities and other government strongholds, but they remain tied down in defensive missions and have struggled to hold recaptured territory or reestablish a presence in areas abandoned in 2020,” it said.
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