United States to withdraw its combat troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021
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Reuters says the disclosure of the plan came on the same day that the U.S. intelligence community released a gloomy outlook for Afghanistan, forecasting “low” chances of a peace deal this year and warning that its government would struggle to hold the Taliban insurgency at bay if the U.S.-led coalition withdraws support.
Biden’s decision would miss a May 1 deadline for withdrawal agreed to with the Taliban by his predecessor Donald Trump. The Taliban militants had threatened to resume hostilities against foreign troops if that deadline was missed. But Biden would still be setting a near-term withdrawal date, potentially allaying Taliban concerns, according to Reuters.
The Washington Post says Biden’s decision comes after an administration review of U.S. options in Afghanistan, where U.S.-midwifed 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 reportedly cost trillions of dollars in addition to the lives of more than 2,000 U.S. service members. At least 100,000 Afghan civilians have been injured or killed.
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, according to The Washington Post.