•   
  •   

World The US military is finally withdrawing from Afghanistan

01:05  26 april  2021
01:05  26 april  2021 Source:   vox.com

Mother of soldier killed in action and an Afghan interpreter reflect on troops leaving Afghanistan

  Mother of soldier killed in action and an Afghan interpreter reflect on troops leaving Afghanistan People whose lives are entwined with the war in Afghanistan reflect on troops withdrawing from the country. Susan Chuck, the mother of an Australian soldier who was killed in action in 2010, says it's time for the troops to come home, while interpreter Jan Bismillah Rahime fears for the future of his country.There are concerns the Taliban may yet regain control over the country — a prospect that especially alarms the Afghan interpreters who worked alongside Australian forces, some of whom have since been allowed to resettle here.

The US has formally begun its withdrawal from Afghanistan after almost 20 years in the country, Army Gen. Austin Miller confirmed on Sunday. The news comes less than two weeks after President Joe Biden announced that all US troops would be out of the country by September 11, 2021 — a significant achievement that eluded his predecessors.

a couple of people that are standing in a military uniform: US Marines board a transport aircraft headed to Kandahar, Afghanistan as British and US forces withdraw from a complex in Helmand province in 2014. © Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images US Marines board a transport aircraft headed to Kandahar, Afghanistan as British and US forces withdraw from a complex in Helmand province in 2014.

According to the New York Times, Miller, the top commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, told reporters at a press conference in Kabul on Sunday that he had received his orders, and the US would begin “transitioning bases and equipment to the Afghan security forces.”

20 years in Afghanistan: Was it worth it?

  20 years in Afghanistan: Was it worth it? The BBC's Frank Gardner asks the awkward question about a war with an astronomical human cost.The date is significant. It is exactly 20 years since Al-Qaida's 9/11 attacks on America, planned and directed from Afghanistan, that brought in the US-led Coalition that removed the Taliban from power and temporarily drove out Al-Qaeda.

“All of our forces are now preparing to retrograde,” Miller said, according to a CNN report of the same press conference. “Officially, the notification date will be the first of May, but at the same time, as we start taking local actions, we have already begun that.”

Previously, the Trump administration had set May 1 as the deadline for withdrawing all US troops from the country as part of a deal struck with the Taliban in February 2020, but as of this month, the US had about 3,500 troops still in Afghanistan.

As Vox’s Alex Ward reported earlier this month, Biden inherited that promise, and essentially chose to extend the timeline for removal, but without the Taliban’s explicit approval.

“We will not conduct a hasty rush to the exit,” Biden said earlier this month in a speech announcing the new deadline. “We’ll do it responsibly, deliberately, and safely. And we will do it in full coordination with our allies and partners, who now have more forces in Afghanistan than we do.”

Donald Trump Criticized Afghanistan Withdrawal Timeline, but Republicans Back It

  Donald Trump Criticized Afghanistan Withdrawal Timeline, but Republicans Back It A new poll has found than half of Republican voters back President Joe Biden's withdrawal plan.A new poll from Morning Consult found that a little more than half of GOP voters (52 percent) backed Biden's move to pull American forces out of Afghanistan two decades after they first invaded the country.

Currently, according to the Times, about 7,000 NATO and allied forces are in Afghanistan supporting US troops, but “those NATO forces will probably withdraw alongside the United States.”

The vast majority of the 18,000 private military contractors in the country are also set to withdraw, the Times reported Sunday, though the US will leave military equipment behind to be used by Afghan troops.

The Pentagon also emphasized that it would continue to support Afghan forces after withdrawing, though a top commander said that this would not include boots-on-the-ground involvement.

“It is our intention also to continue funding the Afghan military and that will be administered through the platform that will be our embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan,” Gen. Frank McKenzie, who leads US Central Command, told reporters on Thursday, according to a transcript released by the Pentagon. “It is our intention to continue that support and we believe that it — it will be a tough fight for the Afghans, but we intend to continue to support them.”

The U.S. Is Leaving Afghanistan. We Must Not Abandon It | Opinion

  The U.S. Is Leaving Afghanistan. We Must Not Abandon It | Opinion After two decades at war, the United States has decided that it cannot continue an indefinite military presence in Afghanistan. But that doesn't mean that Washington—and the rest of the world—should turn their backs on a country that has been through decades of conflict. Millions of people in Afghanistan are depending on us to help preserve the progress of the past two decades, and it may very well be in our own interest to use the economic and diplomatic tools we have to prevent the country from spiraling into a situation where its violence may not stay within its own borders for long.


Video: Erdogan responds to latest U.S. sanctions on Turkey: 'We expect support' not sanctions (NBC News)

In the meantime, however, the US troop presence might actually increase ahead of the September 11 deadline. The AP reported Friday that a US aircraft carrier, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, would remain stationed in the region as the US draws down its troop presence in Afghanistan, and more troops may also be deployed “to assist with the withdrawal.”

“It’s time to end America’s longest war”

As the Pentagon begins to move on an Afghanistan withdrawal, one thing is clear: This isn’t a conditions-based withdrawal, and September 11 will be a fixed deadline for the Biden administration.

“I’m now the fourth United States President to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan: two Republicans, two Democrats,” Biden said earlier this month. “I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.”

As Vox’s Alex Ward explained when Biden made his announcement, that’s something of a break from Biden’s position on the campaign trail:

How can the West fight terror after leaving Afghanistan?

  How can the West fight terror after leaving Afghanistan? As Western troops prepare to go, there are concerns over the future of counter-terrorism operations.Western intelligence officials believe they still aspire to plot international terrorist attacks from their Afghan hideouts, just as Osama Bin Laden did with 9/11.

Biden pledged during the presidential campaign to bring all US “combat troops” back from Afghanistan by the end of his first term. By using the squishy term “combat troops,” he was essentially leaving the door open to maintaining a small number of troops in the country whose mission would focus solely on counterterrorism operations against ISIS and al-Qaeda, not fighting the Taliban.

It seems Biden has abandoned that approach. “We’re going to zero troops by September,” the unnamed senior official told the Post.

Biden’s plan has been the target of harsh criticism in Congress, with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham deriding it as “dumber than dirt.” But in his address earlier this month, Biden expressed concern about a “significant downside risk to staying beyond May 1 without a clear timetable for departure.”

As one senior official told the Washington Post, staying longer could stimulate more conflict, not less.

“This is the immediate, practical reality that our policy review discovered,” said one person who spoke with the Post anonymously. “If we break the May 1 deadline negotiated by the previous administration with no clear plan to exit, we will be back at war with the Taliban, and that was not something President Biden believed was in the national interest.”

Defence Minister Peter Dutton says there are 'no plans for Australian troops to return' to Afghanistan

  Defence Minister Peter Dutton says there are 'no plans for Australian troops to return' to Afghanistan Australian troops are unlikely to return to Afghanistan, even if the nation's security unravels in the coming years, new Defence Minister Peter Dutton says.This year's Anzac Day commemorations will be the last marked with Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel deployed in Afghanistan.

An apparent breakdown in talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government this month may also have played a role, according to Ward. The Taliban said earlier in April that it would not participate in talks scheduled for April 16, and the conference has since been postponed, Reuters reported last week.

Whether or not talks pick back up again, though, Sunday’s news indicates that the US troop presence will end this year, after 2,448 US deaths and nearly 21,000 wounded, as well as an untold number of civilian casualties.

According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, at least 35,500 Afghan civilians have died since 2009, but the toll over 20 years of US involvement is certainly higher.

And a troop withdrawal will not spell the end of the turmoil in the region. Experts have cautioned that the absence of US and NATO troops could contribute to a local power vacuum that could spill across the region.

“War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multi-generational undertaking,” Biden said. “We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives. Bin Laden is dead, and al Qaeda is degraded ... in Afghanistan. And it’s time to end the forever war.”

US starts withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan .
This marks the beginning of the end of the US's longest war, which has lasted almost 20 years.The US and Nato have had a presence in Afghanistan for almost 20 years.

usr: 0
This is interesting!