US begins to withdraw troops from Afghanistan

(VOVWORLD) - The commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan, US Army General Austin Scott Miller, says US and NATO forces have begun to withdraw troops from Afghanistan as President Joe Biden has promised.
US begins to withdraw troops from Afghanistan - ảnh 1(File photo: VNA)

General Miller said international forces have already withdrawn from many bases in Afghanistan. When the process ends, US bases will be controlled by Afghan armed forces. A few days ago NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced NATO’s intention to pull out of Afghanistan starting May 1st. The withdrawal will take several months.  

Ending a costly war

The US began the Afghan war after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. Over the last 20 years, the US spent more than 2 trillion USD on the Afghan war, which has taken the lives of 2,355 American soldiers and wounded thousands more. But the US has failed to obtain its goal of establishing a stable democracy in Afghanistan.

Observers say the US gave up the goal of winning the war in Afghanistan years ago. It reduced its troops in Afghanistan from 100,000 to 3,500 in 2011. Their mission became to help the Afghan government suppress al-Qaeda terrorists and put pressure on Taliban fighters to sign a long-term peace deal.

The troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is part of the peace agreement former President Donald Trump signed with the Taliban, will put an end to the longest war in US history.

Initially the US said it would withdraw all troops by May 1, 2021. But the Biden administration often said it would be difficult to meet that deadline. On April 14, Biden introduced a detailed plan to bring all US forces home by September 11, and promised not to pass the conflict in Afghanistan on to his successor.

Risks and challenges

General Miller says the US forces will hand over their bases and equipment to the Afghan military. The US and coalition forces are taking steps to protect themselves during the withdrawal. They continue to support Afghan government forces. Miller has warned the Taliban that if the US or any coalition forces are attacked, there will be a forceful response.

The US navy has announced it will extend the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower's deployment in the Middle East for "a period of time" and send more B-52 bombers to back the withdrawal.

Observers say these moves prove the US is aware of threats to the withdrawal and Afghanistan’s future stability. Clashes between the Taliban and the Afghan government forces have continued. On March 26, the Taliban said it will renew attacks on US and NATO forces if foreign troops are not out by the May 1 deadline mentioned in the Trump deal.

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