In this file photo, members of the US Army stand at a checkpoint in Buwri Tana District, Khost Province, Afghanistan on August 9, 2012. (JOSE CABEZAS / AFP)
WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden will announce the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by Sept 11 on Wednesday, multiple US media outlets reported on Tuesday.
The decision would extend US military presence in Afghanistan past a May 1 deadline set in a deal between the previous administration and the Afghan Taliban.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a daily briefing that US President Biden is expected to make a formal announcement of the decision on Wednesday, without getting into details
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a daily briefing that Biden is expected to make a formal announcement of the decision on Wednesday, without getting into details.
A senior US official told media outlets that Biden made the decision after consultations with NATO allies and partners in Afghanistan, adding that NATO troops would also leave the country by Sept 11.
The official said that the new deadline was not conditions-based. "The President has judged that a conditions-based approach, which is then the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever."
The upcoming Sept 11 is the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that drew the United States into war in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history that caused about 2,400 US military deaths.
The United States and the Taliban signed an agreement in late February 2020, which called for a full withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan by May 2021 if the Taliban meets the conditions of the deal, including severing ties with terrorist groups.
The Biden administration had concluded that the Taliban had not met its commitment under the US-Taliban deal.
Biden said in a press conference last month that it would be hard for the United States to meet the May 1 deadline to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan "in terms of tactical reasons."
Some US lawmakers and experts noted in recent weeks that the May 1 deadline is "too soon" for withdrawing forces and equipment due to logistics reasons.
The Pentagon said that there are roughly 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan, but US media recently said the number did not include 1,000 more US special forces in the country. Besides, about 7,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan rely on US logistics and security support.
Meanwhile, high-level representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban will attend a US-backed peace conference in Istanbul this month aimed at ending two decades of war.
The event, hosted by Turkey and supported by Qatar and the United Nations, will begin April 24 and run through May 4, according to a joint statement released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday. Participation in the conference and its agenda have been the subject of extensive consultations with the Afghan parties, it said.
HONG KONG NEWS