President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is expected to formally announce plans Wednesday for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the twentieth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks that sparked the U.S. war on terror.
According to the Washington Post, there are currently about 2,500 American troops in Afghanistan in addition to several hundred special operation forces that are not included in this estimate.
A complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan would signal an end to the longest war in United States history, totaling two decades of involvement.
The plan to withdraw troops in September extends the U.S. presence in Afghanistan several months past the May 1 deadline established in an agreement made with the Taliban under the Trump Administration.
President Biden has indicated for some time that while meeting this deadline is unlikely, he remains dedicated to the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, saying in his March press conference, “If we leave, we’re going to do so in a safe and orderly way.”
“The President has judged that a conditions-based approach, which is then the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever. And so he has reached the conclusion that the United States will complete its drawdown, will remove its forces from Afghanistan before September 11,” a senior administrative official said of the decision.
Stephen Miles, executive director of nonprofit Win Without War, said Tuesday, “If today’s reports are true, President Biden is doing the right thing and taking a big step towards ending our nation’s endless wars.”
Miles asserted that the war in Afghanistan has been “endless, fruitless, and destructive”, saying that it is time to “end the era of endless war for good.”
The decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan does not come without criticism and controversy, as some feel that it is premature and potentially harmful.
The U.S. intelligence community’s annual assessment released Tuesday said that peace between the Taliban and the Afghan government remains unlikely in the near future, saying “The Taliban is likely to make gains on the battlefield, and the Afghan Government will struggle to hold the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws support.”
More details and a formal announcement regarding President Biden’s decision are expected to be released some time Wednesday.