SRINAGAR: The US troops will finally leave Afghanistan by September 2021, US President Joe Biden has announced in a nationally televised address. All the troops will leave.
Joe Biden has asked the regional stakeholders to have stakes in a stable future of war-torn Afghanistan.
“We will ask other countries in the region to do more to support Afghanistan, especially Pakistan, as well as Russia, China, India and Turkey,” Biden was quoted saying in his address. “They all have a significant stake in the stable future of Afghanistan.”
The Joe Biden administration has undone the plans of withdrawal set by his predecessor, Donald Trump. However, it announced the end of the “forever war” as all the troops would leave Afghanistan by September 11. September 11 is a highly symbolic date as it will be 20 years since al Qaeda attacked the United States with hijacked airliners, triggering military intervention in Afghanistan.
With US troops, the soldiers deployed by NATO will also leave Afghanistan. While the US has little over 2500 soldiers in the war-torn country, NATO has around 7,000 non-US forces from mainly NATO countries, also from Australia, New Zealand and Georgia, outnumber the 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan, but still rely on American air support, planning and leadership for their training mission.
According to the NATO website, EU members Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden have troops in Afghanistan.
Netherlands media reported that its 160 soldiers will start withdrawing from May 1. These troops were deployed in Uruzgan and Kunduz provinces in 2002.
“Even as we are withdrawing our troops, we will continue to support diplomatic and humanitarian work,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was quoted saying. “We will ask other countries to step up, whether that’s Pakistan, Russia, China, India, Turkey – countries in the region that certainly have a stake in stability. We will continue to provide significant humanitarian resources.”
A Taliban leader has claimed they have won. Haji Hekmat, the Taliban’s shadow mayor in Afghanistan’s northern Balkh has told the BBC that America has lost “We have won the war and America has lost,” he was quoted saying. “We are ready for anything. We are totally prepared for peace, and we are fully prepared for jihad.”