The United States has planned to pull out all American troops of war-torn Afghanistan on September 11 this year, the 20th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attack on the twin towers in New York.
US President Joe Biden plans to announce the details of his plans to have all American troops out of war-torn Afghanistan on April 14. There are currently 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan.
A senior official said Biden has decided to withdraw the remaining US troops from Afghanistan and end the US war there after 20 years. The withdrawal of troops is not conditions-based, the official pointed out.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday, “The president will deliver remarks tomorrow on the way forward in Afghanistan, including plans and timeline for withdrawing US troops in close coordination with our partners, allies and the Afghan government, also his commitment to focusing on threats and opportunities we face around the world.”
Biden has reached a conclusion that the US will complete its draw down and remove its forces from Afghanistan before September 11.
“We will begin an orderly draw down of the remaining forces before May 1 and plan to have all US troops out of the country before the 20th anniversary of 9/11,” the official said.
“The president has judged that a conditions-based approach, which has been the case in the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever,” said the senior official.
Psaki said Biden has been consistent in his view that there is not a military solution to Afghanistan and that the US has been there for far too long.
“He believes and remains committed to supporting negotiations between the parties which are resuming next week. He also believes we need to focus our resources on fighting the threats we face today, almost 20 years after the war began… He will lay out more specifics tomorrow,” she said.
According to a State Department official, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has recently reached out to more than two dozen members of Congress, NATO allies, international partners and former government officials to outline the administration’s approach on Afghanistan.
Among the foreign leaders Blinken has spoken to recently, are his counterparts from Canada, Netherlands, Germany, France, Poland, Italy, Norway, Turkey and the United Kingdom and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. He has also spoken to European Union High Representatives and NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg.
The Republican Party has, however, slammed Biden for his decision on Afghanistan, claiming that this was a grave mistake.
“A full withdrawal from Afghanistan is dumber than dirt and devilishly dangerous. President Biden will have, in essence, cancelled an insurance policy against another 9/11.”
“A residual counter terrorism force would be an insurance policy against the rise of radical Islam in Afghanistan that could pave the way for another attack against our homeland or our allies,” Senator Lindsey Graham said.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell claimed that “precipitously withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan is a grave mistake”. He termed it a retreat in the face of an enemy that has not yet been vanquished and abdication of American leadership.
“Leaders in both parties, including me, offered criticism when the previous administration floated the concept of a reckless withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan. Those same voices in both parties should be equally concerned about Biden administration”s announcement,” he said.
“A reckless pullback like this would abandon our Afghan, regional and NATO partners in a shared fight against terrorists that we have not yet won,” McConnell said.
The Democrats, however, applauded the president”s decision with Congressman Gregory Meeks, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee saying it is time to bring back the troops.
“I understand that bringing our remaining troops home will entail risk, as the Taliban will be required to uphold its commitment not to allow groups like al-Qaeda to operate on Afghan soil. However, the time has come to test the Taliban”s commitment to these conditions and its ability to uphold its promises,” he said.
Last month, United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin said had stated the US has not taken any final decision on withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and no deadline has been set for this.
During presser in New Delhi during his three day visit to India, Austin said “no decisions have been made” over withdraw of troops from Afghanistan.
The defence secretary had also asserted that no decision on length of stay or troop numbers have been made to this point.
Talking about negotiation with Taliban, he had said that US is mindful of the timelines and requirements that the Taliban has laid on the table.
“I would just tell you that there’s probably nobody who understands the physics associated with removing troops and equipment out of a place better than me,” he had said.