US troops to leave Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of al-Qaeda’s attacks on the US

Wednesday, 14 April 2021 - 0:26

US+troops+to+leave+Afghanistan+by+the+20th+anniversary+of+al-Qaeda%E2%80%99s+attacks+on+the+US
United States President Joe Biden will leave US troops in Afghanistan past the current May 1 deadline but will withdraw them by September 11, US officials said Tuesday.

“After a rigorous policy review, President Biden has decided to draw down the remaining troops in Afghanistan and finally end the US war there after 20 years,” a senior administration official told reporters.

US President Joe Biden is set to announce that American troops will leave Afghanistan by 11 September, officials have told US media.

The US would miss a May deadline for a pull-out agreed with the Taliban by the Trump administration last year.

Joe Biden had previously said the 1 May deadline would be tough to meet.

US and Nato officials have said the Taliban, a hardline Islamist movement, have so far failed to live up to commitments to reduce violence.

The new withdrawal date is the 20th anniversary of al-Qaeda’s attacks on the United States, which triggered the war in Afghanistan. The Washington Post and New York Times have also reported on Biden’s modified withdrawal date.

Biden, who will lay out his plan during a speech on Wednesday, has been signaling that he would likely miss the May 1 deadline negotiated by the Donald Trump administration and the Taliban as it became clear that withdrawing the remaining 2,500 troops would be difficult and potentially unsafe.

In a statement last month, the Taliban threatened to resume hostilities against foreign troops in Afghanistan if they did not meet the May 1 deadline.

But Biden will still set a near-term date with withdrawal, potentially allaying Taliban concerns that he would drag out the process.

The senior Biden administration official stressed that the pullout would not be subject to further conditions.

There are only about 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan currently, down from a peak of more than 100,000 in 2011. About 2,400 US service members have been killed in the course of the Afghan conflict and many thousands more wounded.

Then-President George W Bush sent American forces into Afghanistan in 2001 to topple its Taliban leaders just weeks after the September 11 attacks. US forces tracked down and killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011 during the presidency of Bush’s successor Barack Obama.

With a US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 ordered by Bush, the American military began a period lasting years of fighting two large wars simultaneously, stretching its capabilities. US troops left Iraq in 2011 under Obama, though some were later deployed under President Donald Trump in response to the threat posed by Islamic State fighters.




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