Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has said that the US will not undertake a hasty or disorderly withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, stressing that violence must decrease now in the war-torn country and more progress is needed in the Afghan-led negotiations.
The US and the Taliban reached an agreement in February 2020 that called for a permanent ceasefire, peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government, and a withdrawal of all foreign forces by May 1. There are about 2,500 US troops currently in the country.
“I told our allies that no matter what the outcome of our review, the US will not undertake a hasty or disorderly withdrawal from Afghanistan that puts their forces or the alliance’s reputation at risk. At this time, no decisions about our future force posture have been made,” Austin told reporters at a Pentagon news conference on Friday.
In an interaction with reporters after the first NATO Defence Ministers meeting, he said that the Biden administration is committed to a responsible and sustainable end to the war in Afghanistan, while preventing the country from becoming a safe haven for terrorist groups and that threaten the interests of the United States and its allies, and ensuring a just and durable end to the long-running conflict.
“And so, to that end, we are conducting a rigorous interagency review of the situation, including all relevant options, with full consideration of the consequences of any potential course of action.