An official of the US President Joe Biden’s administration has said on Tuesday that after a rigorous policy review, President Biden has decided to draw down remaining US troops from Afghanistan, and finally end the US war there after 20 years.
“We will begin an orderly drawdown of the remaining forces before May 1, and plan to have all US troops out of the country before the 20th anniversary of 9/11,” the official said.
“We went to Afghanistan to deliver justice to those who attacked us on September 11. And to disrupt terrorists seeking to use Afghanistan as a safe haven to attack the United States,” the official said, adding that “we believe we achieved that objective some years ago. We judged the threat against the homeland now emanating from Afghanistan, to be at a level that we can address it without a persistent military footprint in the country and without remaining at war with the Taliban.”
He also mentioned that Biden will made the determination and is announcing on Wednesday that the best path forward to advance American interests is to end the war in Afghanistan after 20 years.
“We've long known that military force would not solve Afghanistan internal political challenges and would not end Afghanistan internal conflict. And so, we are ending our military operations while we focus our efforts on supporting diplomatically the ongoing peace process,” according to official.
The Biden administration inherited a number of things, the lowest number of US and partner forces since the early days of the war, an agreement between the US and Taliban to draw down all US troops by May one, just three months after Inauguration Day, as well as a military stalemate between the Taliban and Afghan forces.
President Biden asked for a review of genuine realistic options to advance and protect US interests. And a review that would not end did not sugarcoat the likely outcomes or rely on best case scenarios, the US official said.
“The President and his team consulted with his cabinet, members of Congress, the Afghan government, NATO allies, partners, who are still serving alongside the United States in Afghanistan, as well as other donor nations regional powers and former officials from both parties here in the United States. What emerged was a clear-eyed assessment of the best path forward,” the official mentioned.
“We will focus our efforts on supporting the ongoing peace process. And that means putting the full weight of our government behind diplomatic efforts to reach a peace agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government. But what we will not do is use our troops as bargaining chips in that process,” according to official.
He also further said that the US will coordinate with NATO allies and partners about a drawdown of their forces in the same timeframe beginning before May one, ending before the 20th anniversary of September 11.
“And we have told the Taliban in no uncertain terms that any attacks on US troops as we undergo with safe and orderly withdrawal will be met with a forceful response,” he pointed.
The official said that US is going to remain deeply engaged with the Afghan government committed to the Afghan people who have made extraordinary services.
“We'll stand behind the diplomatic process. And we will use our full toolkit to ensure the future that the Afghan people are seeking has the best chance of coming about,” he said.
The official also said: “We will also look to work with other countries using diplomatic, economic and humanitarian tools to protect the gains made by Afghan women. And we will encourage any future government in Afghanistan to expand resources for refugees and internally displaced peoples while also working with Congress to expand and expedite Special Immigrant Visas for those Afghans in their families who supported us efforts in Afghanistan.”
The officials said that US not taking “eye off of the terrorist threat, or signs of al Qaeda’s resurgence.”
“They do not currently present an external ... do not currently possess an external plotting capability that can threaten the homeland. But this is something that we have to focus on...its potential for reemerging in the years ahead,” the official said. “So, in coordination with our Afghan partners, and with other allies, we will reposition our counterterrorism capabilities retaining significant assets in the region to counter the potential reemergence of a terrorist threat to the homeland from Afghanistan, and to hold the Taliban to its commitment to ensure al Qaeda does not once again threaten the United States, or our interests or our allies.”
“This is not 2001. It is 2021. And in 2021, the terrorist threat that we face is real. And it emanates from a number of countries, indeed a number of continents, from Yemen, from Syria, from Somalia, from other parts of Africa,” the official said.