WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden said on Wednesday U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan starting May 1 to end America’s longest war, rejecting calls for them to stay to ensure a peaceful resolution to that nation’s grinding internal conflict, reports Reuters.
Foreign troops under NATO command will also withdraw from Afghanistan in coordination with the US pull-out, NATO allies agreed. The withdrawal of foreign troops will be completed by Sept 11. Around 7,000 non-US forces from mainly NATO countries, also from Australia, New Zealand and Georgia, outnumber the 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan, but they still rely on American air support, planning and leadership.“While our military contribution will reduce, we will continue to support the stability of Afghanistan through our bilateral partnership and in concert with our other nations,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
Biden acknowledged that US objectives in Afghanistan had become “increasingly unclear” over the past decade and set a deadline for withdrawing all US troops remaining in Afghanistan by Sept. 11, exactly 20 years after al Qaeda’s attacks on the United States that triggered the war.
But by pulling out without a clear victory over the Taliban and other radicals in Afghanistan, the United States opens itself to criticism that a withdrawal represents a de facto admission of failure for American military strategy.
“It was never meant to be a multi-generational undertaking. We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives,” Biden said, noting that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by American forces in 2011 and saying that organization has been “degraded” in Afghanistan.