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The United States has begun the troop withdrawal process in Afghanistan, a top Army commander revealed, after President Biden this month announced a full removal by Sept. 11.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference in Kabul Sunday, US Army Gen. Scott Miller, commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan, made the revelation after being asked if American troop withdrawal had begun.
“All of our forces are now preparing to retrograde,” Miller replied, adding, “Officially, the notification date will be the first of May. But at the same time, as we start taking local actions, we’ve already begun that.”
The comment marks official confirmation that the withdrawal process is in motion, though it likely would have needed to begin soon anyway to meet President Biden’s Sept. 11 deadline to bring all troops home.
Biden announced that deadline earlier this month, offering US troops an additional four months from former President Trump’s order to withdraw all troops from the nation by May 1.
The president had hinted prior to the announcement that Trump’s withdrawal date would be hard to meet because of “tactical reasons” and would be impossible to accomplish in a safe and orderly fashion.
In a speech explaining his decision, Biden argued that the US had achieved its goal of bringing Osama bin Laden to justice and destroying al Qaeda, his terror network, something many progressives and a growing number of Republicans support.
“I’ve concluded it’s time to end America’s longest war. It’s time for American troops to come home,” Biden said at the time.
“I’m now the fourth United States president to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan: two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.”
Critics of the move have cautioned that it could lead to the creation of a new ISIS, as President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw from Iraq did in 2011.
For his part, Trump slammed Biden’s decision to move the date from May to Sept. 11, arguing it “should remain a day of reflection and remembrance.”
“September 11th represents a very sad event and period for our Country and should remain a day of reflection and remembrance honoring those great souls we lost,” he said.
Instead, Trump urged Biden to “keep as close” as possible to his own goal of getting the troops out on May 1.
With Post wires
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