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Biden says US unlikely to withdraw remaining troops from Afghanistan by 1 May

US President Joe Biden said the upcoming 1 May deadline to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan – as envisaged in the 29 February 2020 conditions-based US-Taliban agreement – will be “hard to meet”.

During his first press conference since taking office on 20 January, Biden cited “tactical reasons” for the move, while noting that it was not his intention “to stay there a long time”.

“The question is how and under what circumstances do we meet that agreement that was made by [then]-president [Donald] Trump to leave under a deal that looks like it is not being able to be worked out to begin with,” said Biden on 25 March.

The president pointed out that US officials are co-ordinating with NATO allies that also have troops in Afghanistan on how to proceed, adding that it is important for the remaining 2,500 US forces in the Central Asian country to leave in a safe and orderly manner.

Biden administration officials have repeatedly stated that the level of violence in Afghanistan is “too high” and that “more progress” must be made in the intra-Afghan negotiations.

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