Russia Says US Troop Pullout from Afghanistan Risks 'Escalation'

Biden to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 (reports)

US plans to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by September 11

"We judged the threat against the homeland now emanating from Afghanistan to be at a level that we can address it, without a persistent military footprint in the country and without remaining at war with the Taliban", the official said.

September 11 is a highly symbolic date as it will be 20 years since al Qaeda attacked the United States with hijacked airliners, triggering military intervention in Afghanistan. The official, who spoke to reporters, did not wish to be identified.

The United States will withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, multiple US media outlets reported on Tuesday.

"It is time to end our nation's longest war, there's no doubt about that", Crow, a former U.S. Army Ranger, said in an interview with Denver7.

The conflict drove the Taliban, Afghanistan's rulers at the time, from power.

And, Osama bin Laden is dead, and the Al-Qaeda threat, and the threat to the USA, is largely gone. But an American withdrawal also risks numerous gains made in democracy, women's rights and governance, while ensuring that the Taliban, who provided al-Qaida's haven, remain strong and in control of large swaths of the country. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are expected to discuss the move with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies also on Wednesday. He says the USA has been "largely successful in crushing Al Qaeda and defeating ISIS", and the decision by the Biden administration is "hard to dispute". It said that the Afghan government would struggle to hold back the Taliban without support from the USA -led coalition.

The decision came as Turkey announced an global peace conference on Afghanistan that the hosts hope could pave the way to a power-sharing arrangement. Turkey's Foreign Ministry announced hours earlier on Tuesday that both the Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban had agreed to meet for 10 days "to accelerate and complement the ongoing intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha on the achievement of a just and durable political settlement". However, the Taliban has not confirmed the suggested dates. He told VOA that Afghanistan "could become one of the great No Man's lands for worldwide terrorists to hide out in the future".

Around 7,000 non-US forces from mainly North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries, but also from Australia, New Zealand and Georgia, outnumber the 2,500 USA troops in Afghanistan but still rely on U.S. air support, planning and leadership for their training mission.

USA officials have blamed the Taliban for not fulfilling its promises to reduce violence.

Those ties led to the USA military intervention in 2001 following the September 11 attacks on the US that took almost 3,000 lives.

Stoltenberg welcomed the Biden administration's determination to strengthen the alliance, terming Blinken's first North Atlantic Treaty Organisation visit a "unique opportunity to start a new chapter in the transatlantic relationship".

Steve Herman reported this story for VOA News. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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