The U.S. military has started to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. A top American commander confirmed the report. He also shared that this marks the start of the end of the almost 20-year-old war in the country.
At a news conference held at the U.S. military’s headquarters in Kabul, Gen. Austin S. Miller spoke with Afghan journalists. The head of the U.S.-led coalition said: “I now have a set of orders. We will conduct an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan, and that means transitioning bases and equipment to the Afghan security forces.”
The general’s remarks come after President Biden’s announcement a couple of weeks ago that all U.S. forces will be vacating the country by September 11th. This is the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that initiated the long war between the U.S. and Afghanistan.
The top commander of the NATO forces in Afghanistan also shared that “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, Trump’s administration set a deadline on May 1st to withdraw all U.S. troops from the country. The deadline was part of a deal it had struck in February 2020 with the Taliban. But as of this writing, the U.S. military still has around 3,500 troops in the country.
When Biden took over Trump’s role, he decided to keep that promise but moved the timeline for removal. Unfortunately, he hasn’t obtained explicit approval from the Taliban.
As Biden shared earlier this month, “We will not conduct a hasty rush to the exit. 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.”
As of this writing, there are still around 7,000 NATO and allied forces in the country that are supporting U.S. troops. But the NATO forces will likely withdraw support like the United States.
The 18,000 private military contractors in Afghanistan are also expected to withdraw. But the U.S. will be leaving behind military equipment that will be used by Afghan troops.
The Pentagon shares that it will continue to support Afghan forces after it withdraws. But this support will no longer include boots-on-the-ground involvement.