President Biden Expected To Withdraw US Troops From Afghanistan By September 11

At this point, it's entirely possible to be a legal adult in the United States and to have spent your entire life in a period when U.S. forces were active in Afghanistan.

According to to The Washington Post, not only is the war in Afghanistan the longest waged in American military history, but it has resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 U.S. personnel and at least 100,000 Afghan civilians while also costing the United States trillions of dollars.

But based on reports from within President Joe Biden's administration, it seems the nation's involvement in the conflict will draw to a close before the year is out.

In February of 2020, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed an agreement with Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar.

As The Washington Post reported, this agreement saw the United States agree to withdraw all forces by May 1, 2021 in exchange for the Taliban's pledge to sever all ties with al-Qaeda and to begin negotiating a peace accord with the Afghan government.

However, both the Pentagon and the United Nations have reported that the Taliban have not been holding up their end of the agreement.

Not only is this due to the peace talks seeing little progress after beginning in September of last year but also because Taliban forces have increased attacks on Afghan troops and expanded their territory.

According to The Washington Post, some Afghan experts suggest that the Taliban could be on their way to a military victory despite 20 years of work by NATO forces to break their ranks.

Nonetheless, anonymous parties within the Biden administration told the newspaper that President Biden could confirm America's withdrawl from Afghanistan as early as Wednesday.

Although the government doesn't anticipate that the May 1 deadline will be met, all forces should be out of Afghanistan by September 11, 2021.

As a person familiar with this plan said, "We’re going to zero troops by September."

CNN further reported that this is the last possible date for the final soldier to depart and that it's possible that all troops will be withdrawn before that day rolls around.

Part of of this has to do with Biden's administration seeing no military solution to the issues Afghanistan faces.

However, it was also influenced by the fact that the United States had already achieved the primary objective of rooting out those responsible for the 9/11 attacks and by emerging threats elsewhere in the world.

As the anonymous speaker told The Washington Post, "The main threats to the American homeland are actually from other places: from Africa, from parts of the Middle East — Syria and Yemen. Afghanistan just does not rise to the level of those other threats at this point."

Despite that, this person stated that the United States will "remain committed diplomatically" to the Afghan government.

According to administration officials, this will concern the nation's continued involvement in the Afghan peace process as well as humanitarian aid and assistance to Afghan security forces.

This caveat was likely intended to address concerns that a U.S. withdrawal will lead to the collapse of Afghanistan's current regime and with it, the progress the country has seen in terms of health, education, and women's rights over the past two decades.

This possibility seems particularly realistic if the 7,000 other troops (mostly from members of NATO) coordinate their withdrawal alongside the estimated 3,500 American troops currently in Afghanistan.

That said, there are reasons to suspect that the Taliban may be more reluctant than it seems to regain the seat of government.

Namely, that doing so would earn them the label of a pariah government, which would not only lessen Afghanistan's supporters within the international community but also result in a significant reduction in global sources of aid.

But however the peace process unfolds beyond this point, one thing about America's involvement in it becomes clear.

As the anonymous speaker said, "What we won’t do is use our troops as a bargaining chip in that process."

h/t: The Washington Post

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