The United States and NATO have announced the definitive departure of the force from Afghanistan. The operation will begin on 1 May and will be completed before 11 September, the day exactly 20 years ago Al-Qaeda terrorists committed aircraft attacks in the United States. The attacks were the prelude to what would become the longest war in the United States.
According to NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, it is now up to the Afghans to bring about lasting peace in their country. In his view, a comprehensive peace treaty is needed: “To put an end to violence; to protect the human rights of all Afghans, especially women, children, minorities; to maintain the rule of law; and to ensure that Afghanistan will never again serve as a safe port for terrorists.”
American President Joe Biden announced the American withdrawal with the words: “It‘s time to end America’s longest war. It‘s time for our troops to come home.” He had previously contacted his predecessor George W. Bush, who had sent the first military. It took long enough, said Biden. “I am now the fourth US president to oversee the US military presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not transfer this responsibility to a fifth.”
Afghanistan must also receive support after the withdrawal, so that the security gains achieved over the last 20 years are not lost, said foreigner Foreign Minister Stef Blok at the additional meeting of the NATO Council on Wednesday, according to a report.
The Minister said that after 20 years of NATO presence Afghanistan is no longer a base for international terrorism. Countries should keep “attention” to this, emphasised Bloc.
The US, like NATO, will begin its final withdrawal on 1 May. “It won’t be a hasty sprint to the exit. We will do it responsibly, thoughtfully and safely, and we will do it in full cooperation with our allies and partners, who now have more troops in Afghanistan than we do,” says Biden.
According to Biden, the departure from Afghanistan, where the brain of the attacks was initially entrenched by Osama bin Laden, does not mean the end of the fight against terrorism. The US will continue to work to ensure that it does not regain its head. Now America‘s focus on terrorist threats is needed elsewhere. And an increasingly assertive China also calls for extra attention, according to the President.
However, Biden stressed that the US would continue to support the Afghan people through development projects, humanitarian aid and security support. Washington and NATO also warned the Taliban not to attack the international force.
The Taliban reject the schedule of withdrawal of foreign military personnel from Afghanistan. The radicaalislamic movement adheres to the date agreed with the US last year of May 1, when all foreigners must be gone. “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants the withdrawal of all foreign troops from our homeland on the date specified in the Doha Agreement”, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid Wednesday. He warned that if the Doha agreement is broken, it will have consequences.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani spoke reassuring words for the future on Wednesday before Biden’s speech. “The proud security and defence forces are fully capable of protecting the country and its people, something they have always done and for which the Afghan nation will always be grateful.”