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Biden to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by Sep 11

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WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden will withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan earlier than this yr’s 20th anniversary of the Sep 11 assaults, lastly ending America’s longest struggle regardless of mounting fears of a Taliban victory, officers mentioned on Tuesday (Apr 13).

The drawdown delays solely by round 5 months an settlement with the Taliban by former president Donald Trump to tug troops, amid a rising consensus in Washington that little extra will be achieved.

The choice got here as Turkey introduced a world peace convention on Afghanistan in hopes of reaching an settlement that brings stability to a nation battered by practically 40 years of struggle. However the Taliban, newly emboldened, mentioned they’d boycott the conference.

Biden, who will make an announcement Wednesday, had earlier mused about protecting a residual pressure to strike at Al-Qaeda or an emergent Islamic State extremist risk or making withdrawal contingent on progress on the bottom or in slow-moving peace talks.

In the long run, he determined to do neither and can order a whole withdrawal aside from restricted US personnel to protect the US installations together with the imposing embassy in Kabul, a senior official mentioned.

“The president has judged {that a} conditions-based strategy, which has been the strategy of the previous 20 years, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan ceaselessly,” the official instructed reporters on situation of anonymity.

READ: Three security personnel killed in Taliban car-bombing near Kabul

Beneath the Trump administration’s February 2020 take care of the Taliban, all US troops would go away by Could 2021 in return for the insurgents’ promise to not again Al-Qaeda and different overseas extremists – the unique purpose for the 2001 invasion.

The Biden official mentioned the withdrawal would start in Could and that the delay was largely logistical, with troops presumably out of Afghanistan effectively earlier than Sep 11.

The official warned the Taliban – who’re observing a truce with US however not with Afghan forces – to not strike coalition forces as they go away, saying that in response to any assault “we’ll hit again laborious.”

TALIBAN ‘CONFIDENT’

Preventing will doubtless grind on. A risk evaluation report printed Tuesday by the director of nationwide intelligence mentioned the Taliban “is assured it may possibly obtain navy victory.”

Whereas in charge of cities, Afghan forces “have struggled to carry recaptured territory or re-establish a presence in areas deserted in 2020,” it mentioned.

US Marines patrol past a Danish army tank as they clear explosives in the northeastern outskirts of
US Marines patrol previous a Danish military tank as they clear explosives within the northeastern outskirts of Marjah in February 2010. (Picture: AFP/Patrick Baz)

Afghan civilians have lengthy paid a disproportionate worth within the combating and the rise of the Taliban has raised explicit fears amongst many Afghan ladies.

The Taliban, who implement an austere model of Sunni Islam, banned ladies from faculty, places of work, music and most of each day life throughout their 1996-2001 rule over a lot of Afghanistan. 20 years later, 40 per cent of schoolchildren are women.

The Biden official mentioned the USA would use non-military “instruments at our disposal” to advertise ladies’s rights together with bolstering civilian help.

However Afghan ladies have been largely shut out of talks between the Taliban and Kabul on a long-lasting peace deal within the nation, with activists arguing this might compromise their fragile, hard-won rights going ahead.

PEACE EFFORT IN TURKEY

Biden’s choice got here as Turkey introduced the dates of a US-backed peace convention that will deliver collectively the Afghan authorities, the Taliban and worldwide companions.

The Apr 24-Could four convention will purpose to result in “a roadmap to a future political settlement and an finish to the battle,” the Turkish overseas ministry mentioned in a press release.

READ: Russia urges speedy Afghanistan peace deal at Moscow talks

However Mohammad Naeem, spokesman for the Taliban workplace in Qatar, mentioned the insurgents is not going to take part in any convention on Afghanistan’s future “till all overseas forces fully withdraw from our homeland.”

Many observers imagine that the Taliban suppose they’ve already successfully received and might wait out the US withdrawal, as little progress has come out of on-off talks in Qatar.

In an indication of the large worldwide considerations, diplomats mentioned that each one of Afghanistan’s neighbours had been invited to participate together with Iran and China, which each have tense relations with the USA.

Additionally in attendance could be each Pakistan, the Taliban’s historic supporter, and its rival India, a staunch ally of the Kabul authorities which has strongly backed the US presence.

A decade in the past, the USA had some 100,000 troops in Afghanistan as a part of a “surge” technique by then president Barack Obama to defeat the Taliban.

The troop determine by the top of Trump’s presidency had gone all the way down to 2,500 as assist for navy motion waned.

Even onetime backers of the struggle have voiced concern about restricted positive aspects on the bottom in addition to infighting and corruption in Kabul and questioned whether or not the US$2 trillion spent in Afghanistan might have had higher makes use of at a time of rising alarm about China.

Senator Tim Kaine, an ally of Biden, mentioned the USA achieved a main objective 10 years in the past by killing Osama bin Laden and it was time to “refocus American nationwide safety on probably the most urgent challenges we face.”

However Consultant Mike McCaul, the highest Republican on the Home International Affairs Committee, mentioned he was “shocked and appalled” by Biden’s choice.

The withdrawal means “abandoning our Afghan companions throughout important peace negotiations and permitting the Taliban a complete victory,” he mentioned.

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