As per official records, there are at least 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan along with an additional 7,000 foreign forces in the country.
President Joe Biden is set to announce that America will be withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan by September 11 — the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It will officially be the end of the longest war America has been involved in. This will also mean that thousands of US forces will now be staying back in the country beyond the May 1 exit deadline that was negotiated with the Taliban by the Trump administration. The Taliban had earlier warned that it would attack US troops and NATO personnel if foreign troops didn't exit the country by May 1. It remains to be seen if the Taliban will follow through with their threat for extending the deadline. As per official records, there are 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan along with an additional 7,000 foreign forces, including NATO personnel, in the coalition in the country, reported The Washington Post. An official said the U.S. forces would be withdrawn in coordination with NATO and other coalition partners.
There was a mixed response to Biden's decision across both parties with some Republicans and Democrats cheering the return of troops and bringing the longest American war to an end. On the other hand, some politicians across both parties said the decision was premature and would cost America some of the hard-fought gains in Afghanistan. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell labeled the decision a grave mistake, according to CNN. "Precipitously withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan is a grave mistake. It is a retreat in the face of an enemy that has not yet been vanquished and abdication of American leadership," said McConnell. "Leaders in both parties, including me, offered criticism when the prior administration floated the concept of a reckless withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan." South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham opposed the move as well, adding that the withdrawal was "dumber than dirt and devilishly dangerous." He also added that Biden "canceled an insurance policy against another 9/11."
I applaud President Biden for making the brave and right decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and bring an end to the longest war in our country’s history. pic.twitter.com/kDHp566tVI— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) April 13, 2021
The war has cost the lives of 2,000 U.S. service members and a trillion dollars. At least 100,000 Afghan civilians have been injured or killed during the war. The US troops will leave the country in phases over the coming months. A senior member of the Biden administration said some US forces will remain in the country to protect the US embassy, without giving any clarity on the number of personnel that will stay back. Republican Ted Cruz said he was happy that US troops would be coming home. "Bringing our troops home should not be taken as a sign that America will be any less vigilant in protecting American lives and those of our allies, but we can do so without a permanent military presence in a hostile terrain," said Cruz.
Thank you to @POTUS for withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan. We’ve been fighting in Afghanistan since 2001. If we haven’t won in over 19 years, we’re not going to win by staying another 19 years. We should have left years ago. Glad President Biden is getting this done. https://t.co/p5zxZ4t7RS— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 13, 2021
Senator Elizabeth Warren was pleased with the decision to end a war that had no end in sight. "While our withdrawal comes years late, President Biden recognizes the reality that our continued presence there does not make the US or the world safer," said Warren. "For nearly 20 years, we have adopted a costly war-based approach to national security and counterterrorism policy with no clear endgame."
“If we break the May 1st 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,” a source familiar with the discussions told The Washington Post. “This is not conditions-based. The president has judged that a conditions-based approach . . . is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever. He has reached the conclusion that the United States will complete its drawdown and will remove its forces from Afghanistan before September 11th.”