ALL U.S. TROOPS TO PULL OUT FROM AFGHANISTAN BY SEPT. 11
President Joe Biden will withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America that were coordinated from that country, several US officials said Tuesday, April 13, 2021, Lolita C. Baldor ad Ellen Knickmeyer reported for the Associated Press (AP).
The decision defies a May 1 deadline for full withdrawal under a peace agreement the Trump administration reached with the Taliban last year but leaves no room for additional extensions.
A senior administration official called the September date an absolute deadline that won’t be affected by security conditions in the country.
While Biden’s decision keeps US troops in Afghanistan four months longer than initially planned, it sets a firm end to two decades of war that killed more than 2,200 US troops, wounded 20,000, and cost as much as $1 trillion.
The conflict largely crippled al-Qaida and led to the death of Osama bin Laden, the architect of the Sept. 11 attacks.
But an American withdrawal also risks many of the gains made in democracy, women’s rights, and governance, while ensuring that the Taliban, who provided al-Qaida’s safe haven, remain strong and in control of large swaths of the country.
Biden has been hinting for weeks that he was going to let the May deadline lapse, and as the days went by it became clear that an orderly withdrawal of the roughly 2,500 remaining troops would be difficult and was unlikely.
The administration official said the drawdown would begin by May 1. 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-Qaida from establishing a foothold again that could be used to launch attacks against the US.