Afghanistan

Will US Troops Leave Afghanistan?

The US Secretary of State reportedly wrote to the Afghan President saying the US is considering the full withdrawal of forces by 1 May.

The US Secretary of State has reportedly written to Afghanistan's President to warn that US forces could be withdrawn completely by May.

Antony Blinken has called for urgent leadership in the stalled peace talks with the Taliban, as the UK and other NATO allies wait on the US decision to determine the future of their own military presences.

Mr Blinken said: "When we look back at the past decades of our military involvement in the world, especially in Afghanistan and the Middle East, we must remember what we learned about the limits of force to build a durable peace."

Attacks on international troops have largely stopped but violence against Afghans has soared, despite the Taliban promising a ceasefire and the severing of ties with terrorist groups.

Dr Julie Norman, from University College London, said: "The Taliban, of course, would like to see the US withdraw completely and they're still trying to push for that."

Scott Smith, from the United States Institute of Peace, said he believes there is concern in Washington about what could happen to American and international troops should they remain in the country.

"One of the other concerns, I imagine, in Washington is that if we stay beyond 1 May, the Taliban would now resume attacks against international forces," Mr Smith said.

NATO has just missed a self-imposed deadline to decide to withdraw all troops by 1 May (Picture: MOD).

Under the peace deal, all international troops are supposed to leave Afghanistan by the beginning of May.

Since the deal was signed, 7,000 NATO troops – mostly American – have left Afghanistan.

NATO has just missed a self-imposed deadline to decide to withdraw all troops under the terms of the peace deal.

"The Taliban is definitely aggravating the terms of the agreement they made with the US, is making things very difficult for the Afghan government on the ground to govern in any kind of meaningful way," Dr Norman told Forces News.

"The Afghanistan government, at the same time, by many assessments and by the US assessment, could be doing more.

"The US is also worried that the Afghanistan government is also not producing meaningful incentives for the Taliban to negotiate with them or move things forward," she added.

The US has suggested a United Nations-led conference, which could lead to a new Afghan government involving the Taliban.

Cover image: A US flag flying in Afghanistan in 2018 (Picture: US Air Force).