Pentagon reaffirms U.S. Afghan withdrawal despite uptick in violence
UPDATED 3:34 PM PT – Tuesday, June 22, 2021
The Biden administration has vowed to complete the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, despite the growing number of violent attacks from the Taliban. On Monday, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the withdrawal will continue as scheduled.
Kirby’s comments came after Taliban forces took over a key district in the northern Kunduz province and surrounded its capital. Local police stressed this has been the latest of dozens of district takeovers by the Taliban since U.S. and NATO forces began their final departure from the country on May 1.
“Every day, you know, the situation in Afghanistan changes as the Taliban continue to, to conduct these attacks and to, to raid district centers,” he expressed. “…Every day there’s a fresh set of data to look at that, that helps inform his discussions with military commanders.”
The pace of the #Taliban‘s advance since the U.S. withdrawal announcement is shocking.
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) June 21, 2021
In response to the uptick in violence, the head of Afghanistan’s National Reconciliation Council Abdullah Abdullah urged the Biden administration to halt its retreat. He insisted terrorist groups already felt emboldened by the possibility of a withdrawal and could further be empowered if left unchecked.
The Biden administration announced it would only delay the withdrawal if there was a big enough threat to Afghanistan.
“What we are doing is looking every week to check as the draw down unfolds whether or not it lines up with our effort to ensure that there is a sufficient security presence at the embassy, that the airport will be secure,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan explained. “We’ll do another one of those check-ins this coming week.”
Meanwhile, Joe Biden is expected to host a meeting with several Afghan officials including Abdullah and Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani on Friday. White House officials stated Biden will reaffirm America’s commitment to providing financial and humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
In addition, the Democrat should discuss how to ensure Afghanistan won’t become a safe haven for terrorist groups ever again.