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Update: US set to withdraw remaining troops from Afghanistan before 11 September

US President Joe Biden announced on 14 April that he plans to withdraw the remaining 2,500 US troops from Afghanistan before 11 September, almost 20 years after the Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on the United States that resulted in the country engaging in its longest-running war.

“After consulting with our allies and partners, with our military leaders and intelligence personnel, with our diplomats and our development experts, with the [US] Congress and the vice president, as well as with [Afghan President] Mr [Ashraf] Ghani and many others around the world, I’ve concluded that it is time to end America’s longest war. It is time for American troops to come home,” said Biden in a televised address from the White House.

Ten years after the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, “our reasons for remaining in Afghanistan have become increasingly unclear, even as the terrorist threat that we went to fight evolved”, said the US president.

“Over the past 20 years the threat has become more dispersed, metastasising around the globe…. With the terror threat now in many places, keeping thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country at a cost of billions [of US dollars] each year, makes little sense to me and to our leaders. We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for the withdrawal and expecting a different result,” said Biden, adding that final withdrawal of both US and coalition troops from the Central Asian country will begin on 1 May.

US soldiers enter a CH-47 Chinook helicopter at an Afghan National Army combat outpost in Afghanistan on 23 June 2015. Biden announced on 14 April that the remaining 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan are set to leave the Central Asian country before 11 September. (US Air Force)

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