President Biden has decided to remove the last US troops from Afghanistan by September 11 this year, officials report. That day is 20 years since the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York were carried out, which was the direct reason for the invasion of Afghanistan under the leadership of the United States.
The withdrawal is unconditional, according to a senior US government official. “The President has ruled that with a conditional withdrawal, what the strategy has been over the past two decades, America is doomed to remain in Afghanistan forever.”
According to the official, there is ‘no military solution’ for the conflict in Afghanistan. The Americans will continue to be present in the region after 11 September with ‘substantial resources’ to combat terrorism.
The US Foreign and Defence Ministers, Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin, will probably announce the decision to the NATO allies in Brussels tomorrow. Possibly Biden will also make a statement himself.
Deadline is not met
In January, acting Defence Minister Miller said that the last troops were supposed to be gone by May of this year. The previous government, that of Donald Trump, had agreed to this with the Taliban, without informing the allies beforehand. Last month the Taliban threatened violence if the Americans did not leave on 1 May.
At the moment, about 2,500 American soldiers are stationed in Afghanistan. The peak was in 2011, when there were about 100,000 American soldiers in the country. Around 2400 American soldiers have died since the beginning of the war and thousands have been wounded.
The Netherlands is sending extra soldiers
The Netherlands and other Member States contribute troops to the NATO mission in Afghanistan. The Netherlands is sending another eighty soldiers to Afghanistan to participate in the NATO mission Resolute Support, confirmed by the demissionary ministers Blok (Foreign Affairs) and Bijleveld (Defence) today in a letter to the House of Representatives.
They are army infantrymen sent at the request of ally Germany because of the increased threat posed by the Taliban. The House of Representatives will soon be informed of the decision in a so-called Article 100 letter, followed by a debate.