Tuesday October 19, 2021

US sticks to its Aug 31 deadline of troops withdrawal

August 31, 2021

LAHORE: Pentagon reiterated Monday that the American troops would leave Afghanistan as per the stipulated deadline of August 31 (today), as was announced by the US President Joe Biden on August 24, 2021 that his country was on track to complete its hurried airlift in the embattled nation.

Having fought a nearly two decade-long war in Afghanistan, which is 7,411 miles or 11,927 kilometers from its territory, the United States had stationed 2,500 service members on the Afghan soil by January 15, 2021, which was then the lowest number of the world super power’s troops there since the George Bush Junior-led offensive of October 2001, which changed world’s history shortly after the 9/11 episode.

The withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan is a result of the February 20, 2020 Doha Agreement or the “Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan,” which was inked between President Donald Trump's administration and the Taliban. While the United States had pledged to withdraw its soldiers from Afghanistan, the Taliban had signed the accord to prevent al-Qaeda from operating in areas under control and command of Afghanistan.

According to the US Department of Defence, the White House, the Associated Press of America, another US media house “CNBC,” the New York Times, and the Al-Jazeera Television, the Doha Agreement was all about an initial reduction of US forces from 13,000 to 8,600 troops by July 2020, followed by a complete withdrawal by May 1, 2021, if the Taliban kept their word.

At the start of 46th US President Joe Biden’s tenure on January 20, 2021, some 2,500 American soldiers were performing duties in Afghanistan. During April 2021, the 78-year-old US President extended the May 1, 2021 deadline to September 11. And on July 8, we all heard that the world super power came up with a new withdrawal date of August 31.

Research shows that around 650 US troops were there in Afghanistan in early August this year, but they were primarily entrusted with the task to protect the Kabul Airport and their Embassy.

As Taliban raged towards Kabul, Biden’s administration announced on August 12 that 3,000 more US troops would be deployed at the Kabul Airport to secure the evacuation of embassy personnel, the stranded American nationals and Special Immigrant Visa applicants.

On August 14, the number of American troops was increased to 5,000. By August 15, or the day Kabul fell to Taliban, 1,000 extra soldiers were deployed. The same number of soldiers were stationed the following day, bringing the total number of troops to 7,000.