US to begin final withdrawal from Afghanistan on May 1, says Biden
Washington DC [US], US President Joe Biden on Wednesday said that the United States will start its final withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan on May 1 and complete its pullout ahead of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"The United States will begin our final withdrawal beginning on May 1 this year," Biden said as he delivered his remarks on the "Way Forward in Afghanistan."
"US troops, as well as forces deployed by our NATO allies and operational partners will be out of Afghanistan before we mark the 20th anniversary of the heinous attack on September 11 but we will not take our eyes off the terrorist threat," he added.
Biden said the US will use all tools at its disposal to respond to any potential Taliban attack on US forces or partners.
"The Taliban should know that if they attack us as we draw down we will defend ourselves and our partners with all the tools at our disposal," Biden said.
He further said that he will ask other countries to step up support for Afghanistan.
"Will ask other countries in the region, especially Pakistan, but also Russia, China, India and Turkey, to step up support for Afghanistan," he added.
This statement comes after a senior Biden administration official on Tuesday had said that the US is ending the war in Afghanistan after 20 years and will complete the withdrawal of American troops from the country before this year's anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks.
"After a rigorous policy review, President Biden decided to draw down remaining US troops from Afghanistan and finally end the US war there after 20 years," the senior official told reporters.
Meanwhile, the Taliban have rejected the United States' plan to restore peace in Afghanistan as well as the proposed six-month delay in the withdrawal of the American troops.
Taliban's spokesperson Mohammad Naeem Wardak on Tuesday had said that the movement would refrain from taking part in any conference until foreign military presence in Afghanistan is ended.
"Until all foreign forces completely withdraw from our homeland, the Islamic Emirate will not participate in any conference that shall make decisions about Afghanistan," Wardak tweeted.
Former US President Donald Trump had set a May 1 deadline to withdraw from Afghanistan but the effort has been complicated by logistical issues, according to the senior Biden administration officials. (ANI)