Biden Announces Full Withdrawal by Sept. 11 of U.S. Troops from Afghanistan
April. 14 , 2021 (EIRNS)—President Joe Biden announced a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Former Presidents Bush and Obama approved of the decision—as did, by implication, President Trump, who had aimed for a May 1 withdrawal date in his administration’s peace talks with the Taliban.
Biden referred to this agreement: “When I came to office, I inherited a diplomatic agreement, duly negotiated between the government of the United States and the Taliban, that all U.S. forces would be out of Afghanistan by May 1, 2021, just three months after my inauguration. That’s what we inherited—that commitment.
“It is perhaps not what I would have negotiated myself, but it was an agreement made by the United States government, and that means something. So, in keeping with that agreement and with our national interests, the United States will begin our final withdrawal ... on May 1 of this year.”
The withdrawal will include NATO troops and is not conditions-based.
On the timing, Biden said,
“We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago. That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021.
“Rather than return to war with the Taliban, we have to focus on the challenges that are in front of us....
“We have to shore up American competitiveness to meet the stiff competition we’re facing from an increasingly assertive China.”
Pre-announcement of the decision had already attracted all kinds of responses and commentary before Biden’s official announcement. One example: a Taliban spokesman—Dr. Muhammad Naeem Wardak, the spokesperson for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, Qatar—is reported to have responded: “Until all foreign forces completely withdraw from our homeland, the Islamic Emirate [of Afghanistan] will not participate in any conference that shall make decisions about Afghanistan.”