The slow pace of talks between Afghan and Taliban negotiators so far suggests it will be hard to reach a power-sharing arrangement before USA troops are withdrawn.
Setting the September 11 date, however, underscores the reason that American troops were in Afghanistan to begin with - to prevent extremist groups from establishing a foothold in the country again that could be used to launch attacks against the US.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies had been waiting on Biden to make a decision on whether the United States would stick to a May 1 deadline to withdraw under a deal struck between the administration of former U.S. leader Donald Trump and the Taliban. It's also an offshoot of the bipartisan push that was made to stop Trump from removing all United States troops from Afghanistan during his tenure.
The Taliban have been warned that if they attack U.S. troops during the pull-out phase, they "will be met with a forceful response", said a senior administration official who was briefing reporters.More news: BC tops 3,000 new COVID-19 cases in the province since Friday
While combat forces will be removed under Biden's plan there will still be some USA troops to protect diplomatic personnel at its embassy after the withdrawal is completed. The process could be completed "well in advance" of the September deadline, the official said. The terrorist group has vowed to renew attacks on USA forces and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops should they fail to withdraw from the country by May 1.
According to the Times, officials said that Biden hopes to avoid further violence in the region.
"The overriding objective of the Istanbul Conference on the Afghanistan Peace Process is to accelerate and complement the ongoing intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha on the achievement of a just and durable political settlement".
"The president has judged that a conditions-based approach, which has been the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever", the official said, noting that the USA exit will begin before May 1 and will be completed by September 11 at the latest. The Netherlands and other member states are also contributing troops to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation missions in Afghanistan.More news: China, S Korea wary of release of Fukushima treated water into sea
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are expected to discuss the decision with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in Brussels on Wednesday, sources said.
Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the move a "a reckless and unsafe decision" and urged the administration to reconsider. Arbitrary deadlines would likely put our troops in danger, jeopardize all the progress we've made, and lead to civil war in Afghanistan - and create a breeding ground for global terrorists. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said in a statement. US officials have previously reported there are about 2,500 troops stationed in Afghanistan, though the New York Times reported last month about 1,000 more special operations forces were also stationed in the country.
With a firm deadline for departure, US officials are hopeful that the Taliban will not escalate attacks on USA bases and on Afghan security forces in coming months. The roughly 3,500 troops could be airlifted out fairly quickly, but a rushed exit would pose force-protection challenges and necessitate destroying sensitive equipment or leaving it in the hands of the Afghan security forces.
"If we withdraw and no deal was made with the Taliban, I think the government of Afghanistan is going to be in for a very stiff fight to retain possession" of urban population centers, McKenzie warned.More news: Police kill Black man in traffic stop near Minneapolis, protests erupt
"Allies have been closely consulting on the way forward in Afghanistan for many months", a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official told AFP.