Biden says unlikely that US troops will remain in Afghanistan next year

It will be hard to meet the May 1 deadline to withdraw US troops, says President Biden

Reuters March 25, 2021
US President Joe Biden speaks about the administration's response to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic at the White House in Washington, US, March 2, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS


President Joe Biden on Thursday said it will be hard for the United States to meet the May 1 deadline to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan but said he did not think the US soldiers would still be in the country next year.

Speaking at his first formal press conference in the White House as the President, Biden was asked if it was possible there would be US troops in Afghanistan next year. He said: “I can’t picture, that being the case.”

His comments come amid a push by the United States to build international pressure to kickstart stalled peace talks between the Taliban and a delegation that includes officials of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s government before the May 1 deadline.

The deadline was set in a February 2020 deal struck with the Taliban under former President Donald Trump for a phased withdrawal of US troops from America’s longest war.

Biden noted that Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been in Europe meeting with US allies that have troops in Afghanistan and “if we leave, we are going to do so in a safe and orderly way.”

“The question is how and in what circumstances do we meet that agreement that was made by President Trump to leave under a deal that looks like it’s not being able to be worked out to begin with,” Biden said.


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