According to The Washington Post, President Joe Biden will withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that drew the United States into its longest war.
The decision, which Biden is expected to announce on Wednesday, will keep thousands of U.S. forces in the country beyond the May 1 exit deadline that the Trump administration negotiated last year with the Taliban, according to one person familiar with the matter, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity to describe plans that are not yet public.
While the Taliban has vowed to renew attacks on U.S. and NATO personnel if foreign troops are not out by the deadline, it is not clear if the militants will follow through with those threats given Biden’s plan for a phased withdrawal between now and September.
Officially, there are 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, although the number fluctuates and is currently about 1,000 more than that. There are also up to an additional 7,000 foreign forces in the coalition there, the majority of them NATO troops.
Biden’s decision comes after an administration review of U.S. options in Afghanistan, where U.S.-midwived peace talks have failed to advance as hoped and the Taliban remains a potent force despite two decades of effort by the United States to defeat the militants and establish stable, democratic governance. The war has cost trillions of dollars in addition to the lives of more than 2,000 U.S. service members and at least 100,000 Afghan civilians.
Image credit: Screengrab / NowThis News / YouTube