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European allies urge US to delay withdrawal from Afghanistan

European allies urge US to delay withdrawal from Afghanistan

U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Image infographic

The U.S. has begun the process of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, with senior U.S. officials hinting that the withdrawal could be completed as early as July 4. On May 7th US media quoted US officials as saying that European allies were urging the US to delay the withdrawal.

The Wall Street Journal reported on May 7th, citing U.S. officials, that some European countries want the U.S. to delay its withdrawal plan to give NATO allies more time to prepare for the withdrawal.

In response, the U.S. official said, the withdrawal plan could be delayed by two weeks or more. But delaying the withdrawal has been a problem, and Turkey has told the United States and NATO that Turkish troops will withdraw from Afghanistan. For years, the Turkish side has been responsible for security at Kabul airport, and once the Turkish army leaves, some Western countries may need to consider how to ensure that their embassy personnel travel to and from the country without an international force at the airport.

U.S. President Joe Biden last month ordered a full withdrawal by September 11, and the U.S. military said it could do so by the summer. On April 29th the Pentagon said it had begun the process of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

The war in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, when U.S. forces toppled the Taliban at the end of the year, and in May 2011, U.S. forces killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

On December 31, 2014, Obama announced that the U.S. military would begin to withdraw gradually after the end of major U.S. operations in Afghanistan, and in February 2020, the then-Trump administration signed an agreement with the Taliban announcing that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn by May 1, 2021. However, the withdrawal was later delayed; in April 2021, the new U.S. President Joe Biden announced that U.S. troops would leave Afghanistan by September 11 of that year.

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