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April 15, 2021

Biden still consulting on troop withdrawal issue: White House

By: The Kabul Times

KABUL: With just over three weeks to go before the May 1 troop withdrawal deadline, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that US President Joe Biden has not yet made any decision on the issue and is still in consultations over the matter.
In a press briefing Monday, Psaki said in answer to a question on whether the troops exit will go ahead as per the Doha agreement between the US and the Taliban: “Well, as the president has said before, it will be tough to meet the May 1st deadline for full withdrawal, for logistical reasons.
“We are continuing — he’s continuing to consult internally with his national security team and advisors and, of course, also with our partners and allies.” She said Biden has “been working on these issues — foreign policy issues, national security issues — for several decades now and, of course, wants to take the time to make the right decision.”
Asked if the expectation could be that troops will stay in Afghanistan after the May 1st withdrawal deadline, Psaki said that Biden “set the expectation it will be tough for a full withdrawal, for logistical reasons, by that timeline.” She said this is something that has been conveyed clearly to all partners as well.
“But in terms of what’s next, you know, he just wants to take the time to make a decision,” she said.
This comes close on the heels of former Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s interview this week with TRT World where he stated that any withdrawal – or extension of troop presence – should be done in a responsible manner. Karzai said the troop withdrawal must be carried out in a responsible manner so as to make sure it is done in coordination with major powers and countries in the region in order to ensure peace in Afghanistan.

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