Troops Begin Leaving Afghanistan

( It has begun: U.S. military troops are officially starting to withdraw from Afghanistan, per President Joe Biden’s orders.

The president ordered that all U.S. troops still stationed in Afghanistan be withdrawn by September 11, which will mark the 20th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11. Karine Jean-Pierre, a deputy White House press secretary, told press members that “a drawdown is underway” already.

Biden had said that the drawn down of troops would begin this Saturday. That was the original deadline for a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan under a Trump administration agreement struck with the Taliban last year.

Currently, there are about 2,500 U.S. troops still stationed in Afghanistan, after the Trump White House reduced the overall number. There are also roughly 7,000 other NATO troops stationed in Afghanistan. Those troops, as well as all U.S. contractors, will be withdrawing from the country as well.

The U.S. is expecting an increase in violence in the region following the withdrawal of troops. That’s why all non-essential staff who were stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul were ordered to leave the country.

Thus far, the Taliban has refrained from initiating attacks on any American or coalition personnel since the agreement with the U.S. was signed last year. However, they have threatened to resume such attacks since the withdrawal of U.S. troops won’t end up abiding by the original May 1 deadline.

In response to those threats, the U.S. military is responding to protect the region. They are deploying B-52 bombers and will extend the deployment of the aircraft carrier the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. In addition, Jean-Pierre said parts of the Army Ranger task force will deploy to the country to help with protection.

She continued:

“The president’s intent is clear: The U.S. military’s departure from Afghanistan will not be rushed or hasty. It will be deliberate and conducted in a safe and responsible manner that ensures the protection of our forces. Potential adversaries should know that if they attack us during our withdrawal, we will defend ourselves and our partners with all the tools at our disposal.”

Many lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have been critical of Biden’s decision to rapidly drawn down American troops while the region is still not stabilized. While the U.S. hasn’t met its original obligation to drawn down all troops by May 1, the Taliban hasn’t held up its end of the bargain, either.

There is still a lot of uncertainty in the country. The Afghan government wants to preserve the country’s current democratic election process. The Taliban, meanwhile, wants the country to return to Islamic rule that it enjoyed following the 9/11 attacks.

At the same time, there are plenty of people in Washington who feel that enough is enough, and that American troops need to come home after 20 years in Afghanistan.

During his first address to a joint session of Congress this week, Biden said:

“American leadership means ending the forever war in Afghanistan.”