Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin suggested Thursday that there may not be a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by May 2021 as ordered by former President Donald Trump before he left office.
Austin told the NATO defense ministerial that the U.S. would not “undertake a hasty or disorderly withdrawal from Afghanistan” in a break with the preceding administration.
The deal negotiated by Trump requires the Taliban to stop attacking U.S. military and cut its ties to international jihadists groups like al-Qaeda. International observers have said that the Taliban is not severing ties with jihadist groups, which may justify not withdrawing all troops.
If withdrawal is delayed, October 2021 will be 20 years that U.S. troops have been in Afghanistan in some capacity.
Head of the Taliban Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar claimed that the Taliban is “sincerely committed to finding a political solution to the ongoing conflict.”
Read the full story here.