US troops start withdrawing from Afghanistan

US officials urged American civilians and embassy employees to leave the country as soon as possible

Washington DC: The United States has begun pulling out its forces from Afghanistan, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Thursday.

“A drawdown is underway,” Jean-Pierre said. “Last week, Secretary of Defense approved the request from US Central Command for the temporary deployment of additional military assets into the Centcom AOR [area of responsibility] in order to support a safe and deliberate withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.”

Jean-Pierre noted that the US Army Ranger task force will be sent to Afghanistan amid the ongoing US troop withdrawal.

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“Elements of an Army Ranger task force will temporarily deploy to Afghanistan to assist with the force protection of forces on the ground as we initiate withdrawal operations,” Jean-Pierre said. “In the weeks and months ahead, the US Central Command will continually assess force protection requirements in coordination with US forces in Afghanistan and has the flexibility to move additional capabilities into and out of Afghanistan as required.”

Jean-Pierre pointed out that the Administration remains committed to withdrawing all US military personnel from Afghanistan by September 11, stressing, however, that the pullout will be conducted in a safe and responsible manner.

“Potential adversaries should know that if they attack us, our withdrawal, we will defend ourselves, our partners with all the tools at our disposal,” she warned.

On Tuesday, US officials urged American civilians and embassy employees to leave the country as soon as possible, given that a non-aggression agreement between the US and the Taliban is set to expire by May 1.

US President Joe Biden announced earlier this month the decision to withdraw troops from the country starting on that May 1 deadline, with the aim of completely withdrawing from Afghanistan by September 11, which would mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that sparked the war in Afghanistan, the longest conflict in American history.

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