US and Nato Start to Withdraw Troops from Afghanistan

World | May 1, 2021, Saturday // 23:36
Bulgaria: US and Nato Start to Withdraw Troops from Afghanistan

The US and Nato allies has started formally withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, beginning the end of what President Joe Biden called "the forever war".

The US and Nato have had a presence in Afghanistan for almost 20 years.

But the withdrawal, which runs until 11 September, comes amid escalating violence, with Afghan security forces on high alert for reprisal attacks.

The Taliban have warned they are no longer bound by an agreement not to target international troops.

Under a deal signed last year between the militants and then-President Donald Trump, foreign forces were to have left by 1 May while the Taliban held off attacking international troops.

But US President Joe Biden last month some troops would stay on until 11 September this year, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, citing the security situation.

A Taliban spokesman said "this violation in principle has opened the way for Taliban fighters to take every counter-action it deems appropriate against the occupying forces."

But he also said Taliban fighters would await instructions from leaders before mounting attacks. Some analysts suggested with a US deadline for withdrawal in place large-scale attacks could be averted.

Meanwhile the US faces the logistical challenge of packing up and leaving. The AP report the military has been taking inventory, deciding what will be shipped back and what will be sold as junk on Afghanistan's markets.

US President Joe Biden says the US pull-out is justified as US forces have made sure the country cannot again become a base for foreign jihadists to plot against the West.

 Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says government forces are fully capable of keeping insurgents at bay. But not everyone shares his optimism.

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