NATO New Decisions
US President Joe Biden states that the time has come to end his country's longest war, announcing the start of a phased withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan on May 1st, provided that the withdrawal is completed before the September 11th anniversary of the attacks.
Also recently, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ( NATO ) declared that the allies have agreed to begin withdrawing their forces from Afghanistan on May 1st.
In a televised address on Wednesday, US President said, "The time has come to end the longest war the United States has waged," and "send American forces home."
On May 1st of this year, the United States will begin its final withdrawal
We are not going to make a hasty exit. We'll do it professionally, securely, and in full cooperation with our allies and partners in Afghanistan, who now have more forces than we do," he said.
In justifying his decision, Biden stated that holding US forces in one location is illogical given the spread of threats around the world.
He noted that he was the fourth American president to see US forces in Afghanistan, and he said that he would not delegate this duty to a fifth president. He also said that the claim that the time is not yet ripe for the US to withdraw from Afghanistan is "what took us to where we are today."
He said that he had discussed the decision with former President George W. Bush. After the September 11th attacks on the United States, Bush started this war in Afghanistan.
This is the United States' longest campaign, lasting more than two decades, with just about 2,500 troops remaining in Afghanistan at the moment.
In his address, Biden emphasized that the United States would support peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, but he also cautioned the Taliban against targeting US forces during their withdrawal, promising retaliation if they did.
According to the Doha agreement signed by the previous US administration with the Taliban in February 2020, US forces will be out of Afghanistan by May 1, but the Biden administration planned to assess the situation first.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg held a press conference with US defense and foreign ministers in Brussels to announce the joint withdrawal decision.
Stoltenberg said that the alliance would withdraw its forces from Afghanistan in May of next year, and that the alliance entered Afghanistan to support the US after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and that they saw to it that Afghanistan did not become a "safe haven for terrorists" as a result of those attacks.
He warned the Taliban that "if it attacks our forces during the withdrawal, we will respond with sufficient force," according to him.
"The Allies have agreed that we will begin withdrawing the Resolute Support Mission forces by May 1 next year," the 30 member states said in a statement. We expect to complete the withdrawal of all American units, as well as those assigned to the Resolute Support campaign, by the end of the year.