According to the White House and US defense officials, the United States is starting to remove troops, contractors, and US government workers from Afghanistan.
“A drawdown is underway,” Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Deputy Press Secretary, said. “While these actions will initially result in increased forces levels, we remain committed to having all of US military personnel out of Afghanistan by September 11, 2020 [sic].”
General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN that withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is risky.
“We have begun a deliberate coordinated responsible retrograde of US military personnel from Afghanistan. This is a complex operation and not without risk. And it will unfold over the coming weeks,” Milley said.
During President Joe Biden’s first joint address to Congress, he said that “war in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multi-generational undertaking of nation-building.”
“We went to Afghanistan to get terrorists — the terrorist who attacked us on 9/11 — and we said we would follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell to do it. …And we delivered justice to bin Laden. We degraded the terrorist threat of al Queda in Afghanistan. And after 20 years of value — valor and sacrifice, it’s time to bring those troops home,” President Biden said.
“The President’s intent is clear. The US military departure from Afghanistan will not be rushed. …It will be delivered and conducted in a safe and responsible manner that ensures the protection of our forces,” Jean-Pierre said.
It has been 10 years since Osama bin Laden was killed by a United States military special operations unit. Two al Qaeda operatives told CNN in an exclusive interview that the war will continue until American troops are completely removed from the Islamic world.
“But make no mistake — the terrorist threat has evolved beyond Afghanistan since 2001, and we will remain vigilant against threats to the United States, wherever they come from. Al Qaeda and ISIS are in Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and other places in Africa and the Middle East and beyond,” President Biden said.
The Commander of the US Central Command, General Frank McKenzie, says the US will continue to keep the region under surveillance snd reconnaissance. The US wants to have the capabilities to conduct counter-terrorism missions.
“We will have an architecture in the theater that will allow us to look into Afghanistan,” General McKenzie said. “It will not give us the same picture that we have now. It will allow us to see in. The ranges will be greater, the resources will be greater, the risks will be greater, but it will be possible to do those again. It is certainly not impossible, but we won’t have the vision we have now.”