President Biden is planning to withdraw all remaining troops from Afghanistan and will complete the pullout by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that sparked the country’s longest war, according to a person familiar with the decision. Biden plans to make the announcement this week.
The plan means that a portion of the fewer than 3,500 troops in Afghanistan will remain after May 1, a deadline set last year with the Taliban. White House officials feared that pulling out all U.S. troops by that deadline would have undercut efforts to achieve a settlement of the war between the Taliban and the Afghan government, the person said.
With a firm deadline for departure, U.S. officials are hopeful that the Taliban will not escalate attacks on U.S. bases and on Afghan security forces in coming months.
U.S. officials said that raids by special operations troops based outside the country and airstrikes could be employed if intelligence found that Al Qaeda, the militant group responsible for the 2001 attacks, posed a growing threat.
U.S. officials are planning to keep a small contingent of Marines at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, the capital, to provide security, the person said.