U.S. To Exit Afghanistan by Sept. 11

Bella Martin, Editor-in-Chief

On Apr. 13, President Joe Biden announced his plan to remove all American troops from Afghanistan over the coming months. He expects all American military presence to have exited the region by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. 

Biden’s decision to withdraw troops comes after a foreign policy and military review by his administration. In recent years, peace talks in Afghanistan have failed to advance, and radical Islamic fundamentalist groups such as the Taliban remain a dominant and threatening force in the country.

Biden’s announcement opposes the advice and warnings given to him by military advisers and the Pentagon, as some believe the exit of American troops could prompt a resurgence in terrorist attacks such as the Taliban. Some believe the withdrawal may also result in the collapse of the U.S.-backed Kabul government and the jeopardization of advancements in health, education and women’s rights. 

Last year, the Trump administration worked out a deadline with the Taliban to remove all American troops by May 1. In the agreement, the Taliban promised to scale back military attacks. With Biden’s new announcement of troops leaving by Sept. 11, all of these agreements change. 

In a statement, the Islamic terrorist groups announced their intention to renew attacks on U.S. and NATO forces if they did not exit the country by the negotiated deadline. However, it remains unclear if these threats are credible. U.S. and NATO forces have already announced that any attacks on withdrawing troops would result in “forceful response.”

American troops first entered the war in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City, the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93. President George W. Bush invaded the country in order to punish the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his followers, who were stationed in Afghanistan. 

Currently, the U.S. has deployed an estimated 3,000 American troops to the country, but over 2.7 million men and women have been deployed and over 7,000 have died since 2001. The war in Afghanistan has been the United States’ longest war in history. 

Removing troops from Afghanistan reflects the Biden administration’s interests in shifting global focus from one of counterinsurgency and interventionism to one of building and increasing military strength. 

More information about the process of removing troops and information about the true consequences of removing military presence from Afghanistan will come out in the coming months as Biden’s new deadline of Sept. 11 approaches.