US Formally Begins Afghanistan Troop Pullout

Joanna Estrada
May 2, 2021

The Taliban have said in a statement that the withdrawal of the occupying forces from Afghanistan starting from May 1 as stipulated in the Doha agreement, has been delayed, threatening the United States that any violation of obligations to withdraw troops according to the timeline will not go unanswered. The U.S. military then responded to the rocket attack with an airstrike on a Taliban position, CNN reports.

"This violation in principle has opened the way for IEA Mujahidin to take every counteraction it deems appropriate against the occupying forces", a Taliban spokesperson said Saturday.

The war in Afghanistan - as we remember the debates here - were [sic] never meant to be multigenerational undertakings of nation-building. Between 66,000 to 69,000 Afghan troops have been killed. On Friday, a huge blast in eastern Logar killed dozens as they broke their fast during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan. The Pentagon has said it is concerned about personnel coming under attack from the Taliban as they depart so it's not clear if it will disclose all the details of the departure process, which is due to be completed by September 11.

Official and Taliban sources say contacts have been maintained to try to get the Taliban back to the negotiating table and agree to the extended foreign troop presence but no announcement on an extension had been made by Saturday.

"The Taliban know as well that this country, which has been suffering so much in the wars of the past decades, is massively dependent on global aid financially", Maas said.

Two al Qaeda operatives have told CNN in an exclusive interview that "war against the USA will be continuing on all other fronts unless they are expelled from the rest of the Islamic world".

"Potential adversaries should know that if they attack us in our withdrawal, we will defend ourselves, [and] our partners, with all the tools at our disposal", White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said as she traveled with reporters on Air Force One.

Experts said the Taliban threats should be taken seriously, but a number of factors meant that full-scale attacks against foreign targets could be averted, as the Taliban continued negotiations. The US and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies went into Afghanistan together on October 7, 2001 to hunt the al-Qaida perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks who lived under the protection of the country's Taliban rulers.

On Friday, senior Taliban members said they acknowledge Washington's plan, but the delay violates the peace deal.

The U.S.is estimated to have spent $2 trillion in Afghanistan alone over the last 20 years, losing over 2,300 American soldiers during the fighting that ensued, along with an estimated over 47,000 Taliban and Afghan civilians, according to the Costs of War project. In that agreement, the USA said it would have all troops out by May 1.

Pakistan's foreign office did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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