President Joe Biden is planning to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11th, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, according to the Washington Post.
Some background: The decision, if it goes through, would bring to a close 20 years of American occupation. It’s been a turbulent two decades, with the Taliban still remaining a force in the region.
Speaking of the Taliban: The terroristic political/religious organization has vowed to continue attacks on U.S. and NATO personnel if they are not out of the country by May 1st.
That’s the original date that former President Donald Trump set, and Joe Biden’s plan would miss it by months. It’s not clear if the Taliban will make good on its promise.
“We’ve long known that military force would not solve Afghanistan’s internal political challenges, would not end Afghanistan’s internal conflicts, and so we are ending our military operations while we focus our efforts on supporting diplomatically the ongoing peace process,” an unnamed official with knowledge of the decision, which is anticipated to be announced on Wednesday, said.
U.S. occupation of the Middle East has been one of the most challenging and controversial foreign policy issues in modern history, and this announcement was met with similar responses.
Representative Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California, said the decision was a wise one.
“I applaud President Biden for achieving an impossibility here in Washington: ending a forever war. It is an act of extraordinary political courage and vision,” Khanna said.
Representative Jim Inhofe, a top Republican from Oklahoma, however, said the decision was ill-considered.
“To say I’m concerned is a vast understatement — this is a reckless and dangerous decision,” he said. “No one wants a forever war, but I’ve consistently said any withdrawal must be conditions-based. Arbitrary deadlines would likely put our troops in danger, jeopardize all the progress we’ve made, and lead to civil war in Afghanistan — and create a breeding ground for international terrorists. We’re talking about protecting American lives here.”
The bottom line: Biden’s decision is a signal of a changing foreign policy focus.
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