Biden Seems Ready to extend Presence of U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

Biden seems to be willing to extend presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan
U.S. soldiers load onto a Chinook helicopter to head out on a mission in Afghanistan, Jan. 15, 2019....

President Joe Biden is willing to extend a May 1 deadline for completing the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Orderly withdrawal needs time, which Biden is running out of.

Biden has pushed so close to the deadline that his indecision almost amounts to a decision to postpone, at least for a few months, the withdrawal of the remaining 2,500 forces and continues to support the Afghan military at the risk of a Taliban retaliation. In the next three weeks, all units and equipment will be removed, along with alliance nations that cannot leave on their own – would be logistically challenging, as Biden himself mentioned in late March.

“It’s going to be hard to meet the May 1 deadline,” he said. “Just in terms of tactical reasons, it’s hard to get those troops out,” he added. “And if we leave, we’re going to do so in a safe and orderly way.”

According to James Stavridis, a former Navy admiral who served as NATO’s top commander from 2009 to 2013, it would be unwise to get out quickly.

“Sometimes not deciding becomes a decision, which seems the case with the May 1 deadline,” Stavridis said. “The most prudent course of action feels like a six-month extension and an attempt to get the Taliban truly meeting their promises – essentially permitting a legitimate ‘conditions based’ withdrawal in the fall.”

During the 2020 campaign, Biden said that if elected, he would maintain a counterterrorism force in Afghanistan but would also “end the war responsibly” to guarantee that US troops would never have to return. Peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, which started last fall, are seen as the best possibility, but they have achieved nothing so far.

Postponing the United States withdrawal increases the chance of the Taliban resuming attacks on the US and coalition troops, potentially worsening the conflict. In a February 2020 deal with President Donald Trump’s administration, the Taliban promised to cease those attacks and pursue peace negotiations with the Afghan government in return for a U.S. promise to a complete withdrawal by May 2021.

Biden reviewed the February 2020 agreement shortly after taking office, and on Tuesday advisers said he was still considering a strategy in Afghanistan. Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, emphasized that May 1 was a deadline imposed by the previous administration and that deciding was difficult.

“But it’s also an important decision – one he needs to make in close consultation with our allies and also with our national security team here in this administration,” Psaki said. “And we want to give him the time to do that.”

Biden has also received updates on Afghanistan from military officers such as Gen. Frank McKenzie, chief of US Central Command, who have openly and consistently showed that the Taliban have not entirely lived up to the promises they made in the February 2020 deal. According to McKenzie and others, the extent of violence is too high to reach a long-term political settlement.

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Congress was unwilling to reduce the United States military presence in Afghanistan. Last year, it prohibited the Pentagon from using funds to reduce the number of troops below 4,000, but the Pentagon proceeded anyway after Trump allowed a reduction to 2,500. The former President got over the legal stumbling block by signing a waiver.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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