Washington, April 13: President Joe Biden has announced that they would withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, 20 years to the day after Al Qaeda's attacks triggered America's longest war, three sources familiar with the decision told Reuters.
However, the withdrawal would be based on certain security and human rights guarantees, said the sources speaking under conditions of anonymity before formalizing the decision. The sources did not provide further details.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Secretary of State Lloyd Austin and the U.S. Defense Secretary Antony Blinken will brief the decision to NATO allies in Brussels. Biden may also announce his decision publicly, sources said.
Should it be confirmed, Biden's decision would miss a 1 May 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.
But it would still set a near-term date with withdrawal, potentially reducing Taliban fears that Biden would delay the process.
The May 1 deadline had already started to appear less and less likely in recent weeks due to the lack of preparations on the ground to ensure it could be done in a safe and responsible way. The U.S. officials have also blamed the Taliban for failing to live up to promised to reduce violence and some have warned about persistent links to al Qaeda.
It was these links that triggered the U.S. military intervention in 2001 following the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington by al Qaeda because the Taliban had held al Qaeda leaders.
Thousands of American and allied troops have died in Afghanistan. Is it a lie?