US Forces to Leave Afghanistan By Sept. 11

April 13, 2021 by Dan McCue
Secretary Austin Arrives in Afghanistan Photo by Lisa Ferdinando Office of the Secretary of Defense Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – U.S. military forces will leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Biden administration officials revealed Tuesday.

President Joe Biden is expected to formally announce the plan, which is not conditions-based, unlike previous decisions on troop levels, on April 14. 

A senior administration official, who spoke on background with reporters, said sticking with the conditions-based approach is a “recipe” for U.S. forces to stay in the country forever.

Biden’s new deadline is still more than four months after the May 1 deadline for American troops to leave the country that was agreed to under the February 2020 deal with the Taliban. 

U.S. officials have said the Taliban’s level of violence remains too high to completely withdraw forces, although the U.S. already has drawn down to about 2,500 in Afghanistan, from a peak of more than 100,000 in 2011.

Extending the deadline will give commanders the “time and space” needed to safely withdraw from the country, the official said.

After Sept. 11, the remaining military force will be focused on protecting the diplomatic presence in the country. The official did not say what size force would be needed for that mission.

However, blowback to word of the plan was immediate.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., demanded Biden publicly explain why he’s “abandoning our partners and retreating in the face of the Taliban.”

“Precipitously withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan is a grave mistake. It is retreat in the face of an enemy that has not yet been vanquished and abdication of American leadership,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, almost immediately took to Twitter to call it “a reckless and dangerous decision.”

“No one wants a forever war, but I’ve consistently said any withdrawal must be conditions-based,” Inhofe said. “Arbitrary deadlines would likely put our troops in danger, jeopardize all the progress we’ve made, and lead to civil war in Afghanistan — and create a breeding ground for international terrorists.

“I urge President Biden to reconsider this decision to withdraw all forces by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terorrist attacks. This date shows the decision is political and not conditions-based. It sends the wrong messages to our allies and adversaries,” he said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was equally angered.

“If reports are accurate that President Biden is withdrawing all forces from Afghanistan by September of this year, it is a disaster in the making. A full withdrawal from Afghanistan is so irresponsible, it makes the Biden administration policies at the border look sound,” he said.

“A full withdrawal from Afghanistan is dumber than dirt and devilishly dangerous. President Biden will have, in essence, cancelled an insurance policy against another 9/11,” Graham continued. “A residual counterterrorism force would be an insurance policy against the rise of radical Islam in Afghanistan that could pave the way for another attack against our homeland or our allies.

“The intelligence assessment of a complete withdrawal is very dire. I hope our military advised against this withdrawal because I know what is most likely to happen: a reigniting of the Afghan Civil War and reversing all gains for Afghan women and children. The void created by this fight benefits ISIS and al-Qaida, who still reside in Afghanistan,” he said.

“The American military footprint in Afghanistan today is 2,500 troops. Those brave American men and women are an insurance policy against another 9/11. I think it is insane to withdraw at this time given the conditions that exist on the ground in Afghanistan. I know people are frustrated, but wars don’t end because you’re frustrated. Wars end when the threat is eliminated,” Graham concluded.

In The News

Health

Voting

Military

Space Force to Play Increasingly Critical Role in Future of Warfare
Military
Space Force to Play Increasingly Critical Role in Future of Warfare
May 14, 2021
by Reece Nations

The conception of the United States Space Force developed from the bipartisan consensus that the country needed enhanced military capabilities in the domain of space. When President Ronald Reagan first announced the “Strategic Defense Initiative” in 1983, the concept was disparaged for being impractical and costly.... Read More

Free Offices With a View: 4 Lighthouses, Courtesy of Feds
Military
Free Offices With a View: 4 Lighthouses, Courtesy of Feds

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Dreading your eventual return to the office? The federal government is making available — for free — some waterfront workspaces with killer views that are sure to entice. But there's a catch. The General Services Administration says the U.S. Coast Guard has... Read More

Recalling the Pentagon Papers Case, 50 Years On (Part One)
Media
Recalling the Pentagon Papers Case, 50 Years On (Part One)
May 10, 2021
by Dan McCue

The battle was joined on a Monday night. It was shortly after 7 p.m. on June 14, 1971, when a seething President Richard Nixon telephoned his attorney general, John Mitchell, and told him it was time to make the administration’s position clear to The New York... Read More

Defense Experts Warn of New Threats From Weapons of Mass Destruction
Military
Defense Experts Warn of New Threats From Weapons of Mass Destruction
May 5, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Defense experts portrayed a bleak outlook Tuesday during a congressional hearing for risks to the United States and the world from weapons of mass destruction. No recent example is better than the COVID-19 pandemic, which is fast approaching 3.5 million deaths worldwide, according to... Read More

Withdrawal From Afghanistan Will Diminish U.S. Intelligence Network, CIA Chief Says
Geopolitics
Withdrawal From Afghanistan Will Diminish U.S. Intelligence Network, CIA Chief Says
April 29, 2021
by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON — Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee were warned by CIA Director William Burns that American intelligence operations in Afghanistan will be kneecapped by the United States’ imminent withdrawal from the region.  Burns, confirmed as the head of the CIA by the Senate last month,... Read More

Defense Department Seeks Comments on Supply Chain Risks for Critical Materials
Defense
Defense Department Seeks Comments on Supply Chain Risks for Critical Materials
April 15, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - The Defense Department is seeking comments on risks to the supply chain for strategic and critical materials. In February, President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the Defense Department and three other federal agencies to closely examine America’s supply chains in four critical... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top