The 2,500-odd US troops that are now present in Afghanistan would have flown back to their homeland by September 11, 2021, exactly 20 years to the day that al-Qaeda brought down the World Trade Centre, leaving more than 3,000 people dead in the biggest-ever attack on American soil.
The US responded by banding with allies and launching the war on terror, the big centrepiece of which was decimating terror groups and bringing the Taliban to heel in Afghanistan. Success in those missions has been hard-fought and it is argued that much of the work remains incomplete. But President Joe Biden believes that withdrawing is the only course to take now, though that still leaves a lot of unanswered questions, including for India.
WHEN ARE US TROOPS LEAVING?
The US troops would have been home by now had Biden not extended the May 1 deadline agreed by his predecessor Donald Trump’s administration with the Taliban last February. According to the terms of that deal, the US would withdraw all troops while the Taliban would enter into peace talks with the Afghan government in Kabul and agree to not allow Afghan soil to be used for terrorist activities.
Although Biden extended that deadline, the decision to have US troops back home by September 11, 2021 is not “conditions-based”. Which is simply that US troops will withdraw anyhow.