US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin opposed the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, which will take place from May 1 to September 11. This was reported on April 17 by The Wall Street Journal, citing sources.
According to the publication, Austin reported to American leader Joe Biden that several US military leaders expressed concern about the White House’s plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Among them, as the newspaper notes, were the chairman of the Committee of the Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces (Armed Forces), General Mark Milli, the head of the Central Command (CENTCOM) of the US Armed Forces, General Kenneth Franklin McKenzie, and the commander of the United States and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Lieutenant General Scott Miller.
The Wall Street Journal said that Austin warned Biden that with the withdrawal of the US Armed Forces from Afghanistan, support for the already fragile stability that was established in the country would actually cease. On April 6, the defense minister and the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff learned that Biden had made a decision that contradicted the advice of the military leaders. According to the newspaper, the US President insisted that the withdrawal of the US Armed Forces would be the best way to avoid a resumption of hostilities in Afghanistan.
On April 14, Biden announced that the United States would begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan on May 1. At the same time, it was previously assumed that by this date the American soldiers in full force would have already left the country. The official deadline for the completion of the withdrawal of the US contingent is September 11, 2021.
NATO announced that it also intends to withdraw its military from Afghanistan. As the alliance stressed, the completion of the mission is taking place against the background of the resumption of the political process of resolving the situation in the region.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he respects the intention of the United States and expressed his willingness to work with American partners “to ensure a smooth transition.”
According to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, Washington does not rule out that it will increase the number of its military contingent in Afghanistan before withdrawing it from the region.
In February 2020, at a ceremony in Qatar, the United States and the radical Taliban movement banned in Russia signed the first peace agreement in more than 18 years of war.
The Taliban have guaranteed that they will not use the territory of Afghanistan for actions that pose a threat to the security of the United States and its allies.