President Biden will withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that led to the longest war in American history.
Two congressional aides briefed on the plan confirmed the news to The Hill. A senior administration official later told reporters the United States “will begin an orderly drawdown of the remaining forces before May 1 and plan to have all U.S. troops out of the country before the 20th anniversary of 9/11.”
“We judge the threat against the homeland now emanating from Afghanistan to be at a level that we can address it without a persistent military footprint in the country and without remaining at war with the Taliban,” the official added.
The plan, which Biden is expected to formally announce Wednesday, pushes back a May withdrawal deadline that was set in a deal with the Taliban signed by the Trump administration last year.
But it sets a new formal deadline of Sept. 11, 2021, in line with Biden’s recent prediction that U.S. troops will be out of Afghanistan by next year.
The Biden administration has telegraphed for weeks it would not adhere to the May 1 deadline set in the U.S.-Taliban deal, if only because of the logistical challenges of moving out thousands of troops and their equipment in a short time frame.
But Biden, who unsuccessfully argued for a smaller troop presence in Afghanistan during the Obama administration, stressed he didn’t intend to keep troops there much longer than May.
“It’s going to be hard to meet the May 1 deadline,” Biden said at a news conference last month. “If we leave, we’re going to do so in a safe and orderly way.”
But asked if U.S. troops will be in Afghanistan next year, Biden said he “can’t picture that being the case.”