KABUL: U.S. President Joe Biden has declared that the final withdrawal phase of U.S. troops from Afghanistan would begin on May 1 and would be completed before September 11.
“We will begin our withdrawal on May 1,” Biden said during a speech in White House on Wednesday.
It will not be a “hasty rush to the exit,” and if the Taliban attacks, the U.S. will defend itself and partners with “all the tools at our disposal,” he said.
Biden emphasized that it has been 10 years since Osama Bin Laden’s death and that it is time to end America’s war in the region and bring U.S. troops home.
“We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago,” Biden said, declaring a complete withdrawal from the war-torn country.
“Our diplomatic and humanitarian work will continue,” he said, adding that the U.S. will continue to support Afghan security forces, the Taliban peace process, and the rights of Afghan women.
Meanwhile, Biden underlined that “We can’t keep extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan in the hopes of creating optimal conditions for a withdrawal and anticipating a different outcome.
“The Taliban should know that if they threaten us as we’re drawing down, we’ll protect ourselves and our allies with every weapon we have,” he said.
Referring to Biden’s remarks, at a press conference in Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the withdrawal has been discussed with allies and will be carried out responsibly.
“We will leave Afghanistan together and will bring our troops home,” Blinken said. “We will withdraw our forces responsibly and deliberately.”
He also said that the U.S. would keep the Taliban responsible for its promises to break relations with al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that all allies had decided to begin withdrawing NATO troops on May 1.
Only the Afghans, he said, would bring peace to Afghanistan.