The official date will be May 1, Miller said. At the same time, they have already begun “by taking action on the site”. U.S. President Joe Biden announced last week that he would bring U.S. troops home by September 11th. After the United States, NATO decided to withdraw its troops. Meanwhile, the progress for July 4 is under discussion. Both coded dates: September 11, 2001, the Al Qaeda invasion of the United States, and July 4, the United States’ national holiday, commemorating independence in 1776.
Miller said Sunday that arrangements will be made for a proper withdrawal. That means all bases and other equipment will be handed over to the Afghan security forces. If the militant Islamic Taliban attacks US or NATO forces, they will respond with a “decisive reaction.”
The US-Taliban agreement signed last year under US President Donald Trump agreed that troops would be withdrawn by May 1. The Taliban continue to insist on a withdrawal date, warning that “any necessary reactions will be taken” if the United States does not comply in mid-April.
According to official figures, 2,500 U.S. troops were last stationed in Afghanistan. In addition, about 18,000 US contract workers perform various jobs in the country. NATO still has 7,500 troops, including 1,100 from Germany.
Violence in Afghanistan has recently increased significantly. At least 29 people were killed and many more injured over the weekend. Targeted attacks on intellectuals and the media and government representatives are on the rise again. In the capital, Kabul, strangers shot dead a university lecturer, a government official and four police officers in three incidents on Saturday. The U.S. military has blamed the Taliban for similar attacks in the past.
Attacks on military posts and roadside bombs took place in several provinces, killing security forces and civilians. The Taliban claimed some of this. At least seven civilians were killed by government forces in central Wardak province on Sunday – four in an airstrike and three in a motor fire.
In the first three months of 2021, the UN Security Council will focus on Afghanistan. At least 573 civilians were killed and 1,210 were injured, according to the relief effort Unama. This is almost 30 percent more than a year ago. In particular, the number of women injured or killed increased by 37 percent and the number of children by 23 percent.
The high-level peace conference scheduled for Saturday in Istanbul was canceled by the Taliban because US troops had been staying there too long. Observers fear that if international troops retreat without a political solution to the conflict, the country could go into a new civil war.