President Joe Biden is slated to announce on Wednesday that he will have all U.S. troops withdrawn from Afghanistan by September this year, pushing back the May 1 deadline ex-President Donald Trump had negotiated with the Taliban in 2020.
“The President has been consistent in his view that there is not a military solution to Afghanistan, that we have been there for far too long,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing on Wednesday.
The White House official declined to provide details on the President’s plans for the exit, saying that she did not want to get ahead of his announcement.
However, a source told the Washington Post that Biden plans to complete the withdrawal by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The person told the Post that the U.S. will “remain committed diplomatically” to Afghanistan, but “in terms of where we will be investing force posture, our blood and treasure, we believe that other priorities merit that investment.”
During his first press briefing as president last month, Biden said it was “going to be hard” to meet the May 1 deadline. The New York Times reported that intelligence officials gave Biden a classified assessment saying the Taliban could take over Afghanistan in two or three years if the U.S. left before the Afghan government and the terrorist organization reached a power-sharing agreement.
The impending withdrawal will mark a new chapter in the decades-long conflicts that have come to be known as the U.S.’s “forever wars.”
More than 310,000 civilians in Afghanistan have been killed since it began in 2001, according to Brown University’s Costs of War Project. A study by the project published last year found that airstrikes by the U.S. and its allies killed 700 civilians in 2019 — “more civilians than in any other year since the beginning of the war in 2001 and 2002.” Approximately 2,300 American troops have died in Afghanistan since 2001.