Biden to withdraw all United States troops from Afghanistan by September 11

Biden to withdraw all United States troops from Afghanistan by September 11

Over the past year, U.S. military commanders and defence officials have said that attacks on United States troops have largely paused, but they say the Taliban have increased attacks on the Afghans.

The Taliban controls about 40 per cent of Afghanistan, according to Afghan defence officials.

"It's going to be hard to meet the May 1 deadline", Mr Biden said in late March.

Mr Biden's choice of the 9/11 date underscores the reason that American troops were in Afghanistan to begin with - to prevent extremist groups like al-Qaeda from establishing a foothold again that could be used to launch attacks against the US.

The drawdown delays only by around five months an agreement with the Taliban by former president Donald Trump to withdraw all troops, amid a growing consensus in Washington that little more can be achieved. "And so, we are ending our military operations while we focus our efforts on supporting diplomatically", the official said. "We believe we certainly can complete that by September, and the question of how long before September depends on conditions as the drawdown unfolds".

Afghan civilians, wary of the Taliban's return to power, have long paid a disproportionate price in the decades of bloody fighting and the rise of the Taliban has raised particular fears among many Afghan women.

"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.

In this 2020 photo, Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers walk in a United States military base which had recently handed over to Afghan forces in Nangarhar province.

The President is deeply grateful for the honour, courage and determination of the US' men and women who served in Afghanistan for nearly two decades, as well as the sacrifices made not just by those troops, but also by their families, a senior Biden administration official told reporters during a conference call.

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The 24 April - 4 May conference will aim to lead to "a roadmap to a future political settlement and an end to the conflict", the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

A us intelligence report released at the end of March said that should the USA withdraw, it is likely the Taliban could take over Afghanistan within two to three years and potentially bring al Qaeda back to power in the country.

About 2 400 U.S. service members have been killed in the course of the Afghan conflict and many thousands more wounded.

Many observers believe that the Taliban effectively believes that it has won and can wait out the U.S. withdrawal, but the United States is eager to try to find a lasting peace solution that could bring stability.

The troop figure by the end of Mr Trump's presidency had gone down to 2,500 as support for military action waned.

The U.S. considers the re-emergence of al-Qaeda in the region after the draw-down of troops a "genuine threat" according to the official, who said the threat will be dealt with "directly" and by holding the Taliban accountable.

"We will have to survive the impact of it and it should not be considered as Taliban's victory or takeover", said a senior Afghan government source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Biden had previously warned that it would be "tough" to meet the deadline, citing the delay in the presidential transition process after the 2020 election.

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