More:Biden faces Trump’s deadline on Afghanistan troop withdrawal: ‘Any way you cut it, we are headed for a messy outcome’
The drawdown in forces will begin before May 1 in coordination with NATO allies that are also withdrawing troops. The Biden administration warned the Taliban that any attacks on the U.S. during the withdrawal will be met with a forceful response, the White House said.
Biden consulted with his Cabinet, members of Congress, the Afghan government, NATO allies and other partners before making the decision, according to the official.
Biden had faced increasing pressure on whether to stick to Trump’s May 1 deadline to fully withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Some of Biden’s key allies in Congress warned a complete U.S. withdrawal would thrust Afghanistan further into chaos and violence. Others said keeping U.S. troops on the ground any longer could spark a backlash among progressives who want to see an end to America’s longest war.
Last month, the president said that even if the U.S. did not meet the May 1 deadline, U.S. troops would not be in Afghanistan for much longer.
I lost both my legs fighting in Afghanistan. Staying there doesn’t honor our troops.
The May 1 timetable was part of an agreement the Trump administration forged with the Taliban in February 2020. Under that deal, the U.S. agreed to withdraw all its forces; in exchange, the Taliban promised to sever its ties with al-Qaeda and end its attacks on American forces. The Trump administration began a drawdown of U.S. forces, and about 2,500 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan now.
Like Trump, Biden campaigned on a promise to end America’s “forever wars.” The conflict in Afghanistan has cost more than $2 trillion and more than 2,300 American lives. More than 38,000 Afghan civilians have been killed.
Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @Joeygarrison.
Contributing: Deirdre Shesgreen