US to pull troops from Afghanistan

In this file photo US marines patrol past a Danish army Leopard 2A5EK tank as they clear IEDs. President Joe Biden will remove US troops from Afghanistan before September 11. (Photo: AFP)
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has decided to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, 20 years to the day after Al-Qaeda's attacks triggered America's longest war, three sources familiar with the decision told Reuters.اضافة اعلان

However, the withdrawal would be based on certain security and human rights guarantees, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the formalization of the decision. The sources did not provide further details.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are expected to brief the decision to NATO allies in Brussels on Wednesday. Biden may also publicly announce his decision, the sources said.

Biden's decision, should it be confirmed, would miss a May 1 deadline for withdrawal agreed with Taliban insurgents by his predecessor Donald Trump's administration.

In a statement last month, the Taliban threatened to resume hostilities against foreign troops in Afghanistan if they did not meet the May 1 deadline.

But it would still set a near-term date with withdrawal, potentially allaying Taliban concerns that Biden would drag out the process.

The May 1 deadline had already   to appear less and less likely in recent weeks, given the lack of preparations on the ground to ensure it could be done in a safe and responsible way. US officials have also blamed the Taliban for failing to live up to commitments to reduce violence and some have warned about persistent Taliban links to Al-Qaeda.

It was those ties that triggered US military intervention in 2001 following Al-Qaeda's September 11 attacks on New York and Washington because the Taliban had harbored Al-Qaeda leaders.

Thousands of American and allied troops have died in fighting in Afghanistan.