President Biden seems ready to extend US troop presence in Afghanistan

President Biden seems ready to extend US troop presence in Afghanistan
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Washington, April 8

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Without coming proper out and saying it, President Joe Biden seems ready to let lapse a May 1 deadline for finishing a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

Orderly withdrawals take time, and Biden is working out of it.

Biden has inched so shut to the deadline that his indecision quantities nearly to a call to delay, at the very least for plenty of months, a pullout of the remaining 2,500 troops and proceed supporting the Afghan army on the danger of a Taliban backlash.

Removing the entire troops and their gear in the subsequent three weeks — together with coalition companions who can’t get out on their very own — can be tough logistically, as Biden himself steered in late March.

“It’s going to be hard to meet the May 1 deadline,” he stated. “Just in terms of tactical reasons, it’s hard to get those troops out.” Tellingly, he added, “And if we leave, we’re going to do so in a safe and orderly way.”        

James Stavidis, a retired Navy admiral who served as NATO’s prime commander from 2009 to 2013, says it might be unwise at this level to get out rapidly.

“Sometimes not making a decision becomes a decision, which seems the case with the May 1 deadline,” Stavidis stated in an e mail alternate Wednesday.     

“The most prudent course of action feels like a six-month extension and an attempt to get the Taliban truly meeting their promises — essentially permitting a legitimate conditions based’ withdrawal in the fall.”                                

There are crosscurrents of stress on Biden. On the one hand, he has argued for years, together with throughout his time as vp, when President Barack Obama ordered an enormous buildup of US forces, that Afghanistan is best dealt with as a smaller-scale counterterrorism mission. Countering Russia and China has since emerged as the next precedence.

On the opposite hand, present and former army officers have argued that leaving now, with the Taliban in a place of relative energy and the Afghan authorities in a fragile state, would danger shedding what has been gained in 20 years of combating.

“A withdrawal would not only leave America more vulnerable to terrorist threats; it would also have catastrophic effects in Afghanistan and the region that would not be in the interest of any of the key actors, including the Taliban,” a bipartisan specialists group referred to as the Afghan Study Group concluded in a February report.

The group, whose co-chair, retired Gen Joseph Dunford, is a former commander of US forces in Afghanistan and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, really helpful Biden extend the deadline past May, ideally with some type of settlement by the Taliban.

If the troops keep, Afghanistan will turn out to be Biden’s battle. His selections, now and in coming months, may decide the legacy of a 2001 U.S. invasion that was designed as a response to al-Qaida’s Sept. 11 assaults, for which the extremist group led by Osama bin Laden used Afghanistan as a haven.

Biden stated throughout the 2020 marketing campaign that if elected he may preserve a counterterrorism drive in Afghanistan but in addition would “end the war responsibly” to guarantee U.S. forces by no means have to return. The peace talks that started final fall between the Taliban and the Afghan authorities are seen as one of the best hope, however they’ve produced little to this point.

Postponing the U.S. withdrawal carries the danger of the Taliban resuming assaults on U.S. and coalition forces, presumably escalating the battle. In a February 2020 settlement with the administration of President Donald Trump, the Taliban agreed to halt such assaults and maintain peace talks with the Afghan authorities, in alternate for a US dedication to an entire withdrawal by May 2021.

When he entered the White House in January, Biden knew of the looming deadline and had time to meet it if he had chosen to accomplish that. It grew to become a steep logistical hurdle solely as a result of he delay a call in favour of consulting at size inside his administration and with allies.

Flying hundreds of troops and their gear out of Afghanistan in the subsequent three weeks below the potential menace of Taliban resistance will not be technically not possible, though it might seem to violate Biden’s promise not to rush.

Biden undertook a evaluation of the February 2020 settlement shortly after taking workplace, and as not too long ago as Tuesday aides stated he was nonetheless considering a method forward in Afghanistan. White House press secretary Jen Psaki pressured that May 1 was a deadline set by the prior administration and {that a} choice was sophisticated. — AP

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