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Synopsis: The US President has formally started the final phase of withdrawal of US forces in Afghanistan. The President has also set September 11 as the deadline for withdrawal.
Why are US forces in Afghanistan?
- On 11 September 2001, attacks in the United States killed nearly 3,000 people.
- Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaeda was identified as the man responsible.
- The Taliban ran Afghanistan at that time. They protected Bin Laden and refused to hand him over. So, a month after 9/11, the US launched airstrikes against Afghanistan.
- As other countries joined the war, the Taliban was removed from power. But the Taliban didn’t disappear and its influence regrew after some time.
- Since then, the US and its allies have struggled to stop Afghanistan’s government from collapsing. Further, they also fail to end the deadly attacks by the Taliban.
- Also, the estimations are that the US has spent more than $2 trillion in Afghanistan in the past two decades.
U.S. troops Withdrawal from Afghanistan:
- In February 2020, the United States and the Taliban had signed a peace agreement titled the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan. The main provisions of this agreement are,
- Troops Withdrawal: The US will withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Further, the NATO or coalition troop numbers will also be brought down simultaneously. At last, all the troops will be out of Afghanistan within 14 months.
- Taliban: Taliban will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups including al-Qaeda to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.
- Sanctions Removal: In turn, the US and UN sanctions on the Taliban leaders will be removed.
- The 2021 withdrawal of U.S. troops is scheduled. By 11 September 2021, all the US troops will be removed from Afghanistan.
- However, the Taliban has accused the US of breaching the deal. In the peace agreement, the US had said it would have all troops out by May 1, 2021.
- The withdrawal of US troops has started against a backdrop of fierce clashes between the Taliban and government forces.
- There has been no interim peace agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
- Hence, the expectations are that Afghanistan’s security forces will come under increasing pressure from the Taliban after the withdrawal.
Source: The Hindu