US troops not to leave Afghanistan in days: Biden
Washington: US President Joe Biden said on Friday that the drawdown in Afghanistan is “on track”, but troops will not leave the country in the next few days.
When asked by reporters at the White House whether the US will complete withdrawal in the next few days, Biden replied, “No, we’re on track exactly as to where we expect it to be.”
“I wanted to make sure there was enough running room that we… wouldn’t be able to do it all till September,” he added, Xinhua reported.
“There’ll still be some forces left, but it’s a rational drawdown with our allies… there is nothing unusual about it.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki later told reporters during a daily briefing that the withdrawal is expected to be completed by the end of August.
Biden in April ordered all US troops to leave Afghanistan before September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that drew the US into its longest war.
Security situation in the war-torn country has deteriorated as Taliban militants continue heavy fighting against government forces and gain ground since the drawdown of US troops on May 1.
The Taliban advances have prompted the US intelligence community to conclude that the government of Afghanistan could collapse as soon as six months after the complete withdrawal of the US military from the country, according to a report of The Wall Street Journal.
“I think they have the capacity to be able to sustain the government,” Biden said on Friday. “But I am concerned that they deal with the internal issues that they have to be able to generate the kind of support they need nationwide to maintain the government.”
He also noted that the Afghan military needs to depend on its own capabilities to ensure the security of the capital Kabul.
Biden’s words came as US troops had left a major military base in Afghanistan. A spokesperson for the Afghan Defense Ministry confirmed earlier in the day that all US and NATO forces in Afghanistan had evacuated the Bagram Airfield near Kabul, handing over the largest coalition base to Afghan government troops.