President Joe Biden has decided to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, 20 years to the day after al Qaida’s attacks triggered America’s longest war, three sources familiar with the decision told Reuters.US to drawdown troops in #Afghanistan from May with goal of having all of them out by 9/11 of this year — the 20th anniversary of the Al Qaeda attacks, announces a senior US official.— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) April 13, 2021A clear-eyed assessment of the best path forward is to focus on the ongoing peace process between the Taliban and the Afghan peace process and US troops won’t be a bargaining chip in those talks, says the official.— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) April 13, 2021″This is not condition-based,” says the senior administration official of the 9/11 2021 deadline.— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) April 13, 2021However, the withdrawal would be based on certain security and human rights guarantees, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the formalization of the decision. The sources did not provide further details.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are expected to brief the decision to NATO allies in Brussels on Wednesday. Biden may also publicly announce his decision, the sources said.Biden’s decision, should it be confirmed, would miss a May 1 deadline for withdrawal agreed with Taliban insurgents by his predecessor Donald Trump’s administration. In a statement last month, the Taliban threatened to resume hostilities against foreign troops in Afghanistan if they did not meet the May 1 deadline.If Taliban attack US or allied forces “we will hit back hard,” says the senior official.— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) April 13, 2021But it would still set a near-term date with withdrawal, potentially allaying Taliban concerns that Biden would drag out the process.The May 1 deadline had already started to appear less and less likely in recent weeks, given the lack of preparations on the ground to ensure it could be done in a safe and responsible way. U.S. officials have also blamed the Taliban for failing to live up to commitments to reduce violence and some have warned about persistent Taliban links to al Qaida.It was those ties that triggered U.S. military intervention in 2001 following al Qaida’s Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington because the Taliban had harbored al Qaida leaders.