US and Nato start to formally withdraw troops from Afghanistan

US and Nato start to formally withdraw troops from Afghanistan
The withdrawal will be completed by 11 September. Source: BBC
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Daily US Times: The United States has formally started withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, beginning the end of what President Biden called “the forever war”.

Nato and the US troops have had a presence in Afghanistan for almost 20 years.

But the withdrawal, which runs until 11 September this year, comes amid escalating violence, with Afghanistan’s security forces on high alert for reprisal attacks.

The Taliban have warned that they are no longer bound by an agreement not to target international soldiers.

Under a deal signed last year between Taliban and then-US President Donald Trump, foreign forces were to have left by 1 May while the militant group held off attacking international troops.

Officials told Reuters news agency during this time Afghanistan’s Taliban has been protecting western military bases from rival Islamist groups. That has not stopped Taliban attacks on civilians and Afghan security forces.

But last month, US President Joe Biden said some troops would stay on until 11 September, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, citing the security situation.

In response to Biden’s announcement, a Taliban spokesman said “this violation in principle has opened the way for [Taliban fighters] to take every counter-action it deems appropriate against the occupying forces.”

But he also said the fighters of the militant group would await instructions from their leaders before mounting attacks. Some analysts suggested with a US deadline for troops withdrawal in place large-scale attacks could be averted.

The United States, meanwhile, faces the logistical challenge of packing up and leaving. The Associated Press (AP) report that the US military has been taking inventory, deciding what will be shipped back and what will be sold as junk on Afghanistan’s markets.

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