Joe Biden, the President of the United States, ordered the withdrawal of American armed forces from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan over the opinion of some of his senior-most advisers in the State Department and Pentagon. Several former and current officials tell CNN that those advisers – including the leader of U.S. Central Command General Frank McKenzie, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley and some State Department officials – expressed worries about what a full withdrawal of troops might mean for the American counter-terror mission. Additionally, they expressed worry about the security of American diplomats in Afghanistan.
A senior administration official talked to CNN on condition of anonymity and said that all relevant points of view were perceived and all arguments put on the table. However, going back to the prior government, when former U.S. President Donald Trump was also considering a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, United States military leaders set a floor some twenty-five American troops to provide diplomatic security and counter-terror support. Whereas the ultimate number of American forces that will remain in Afghanistan to protect the American diplomatic mission still needs to debate and expected to drop that number.
Joe Biden gave the 11th September deadline for the withdrawal of the troops on the 20th anniversary of the terror strikes on the Pentagon and World Trade Center that launched the war – is absolute, with no possibility for extension based on worsening conditions in the region. During the announcement of his decision, Biden said that many people in the country loudly insist that diplomacy can’t flourish without a robust American military presence to stand as an influence. U.S. troops should not use as a negotiating chip between combatant parties in other countries.
Months of Meetings before Taking Decisions
Negotiations stretched greater than some American officials expected; even as Biden repeatedly gestured, a 1st May deadline set by the former government was almost impossible to meet. It hoped to provide space for the president to make an up-to-date concluding decision that he would not come to regret; officials wanted to avoid pressuring Biden, known for blowing previous deadlines. According to officials, Warnings about the Afghani Taliban’s possibility to regain power and raise violence increase pervaded several meetings over the last few months.
However, the U.S. president repeatedly chafed at recommendations American troops should remain in Afghanistan for a longer time, according to a source familiar with the matter, reminding his official advisers that – like his last two predecessors – he promised his voters he would end the longest war of the country, even if that intended going against the suggestions of his top military generals.
Infrequently heated meeting in the Situation Room around a decade ago, when Biden was a vice president, he grilled military officials at the time for their plans to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan, a decision he keenly argued against it. Joe Biden shared his assessment in a memo form to then-president Barack Obama, sent to the White House from his Thanksgiving vacation on Nantucket. He made his case in private asides and meetings.
A senior U.S. military official said that after the decision from the Biden administration to pull out troops, the Pentagon would start the process. Moreover, military leaders are in contact with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and are ready to start withdrawal. They are obviously ready and willing to take on the mission.
Effect of Decision on Intelligence
According to a source familiar with the matters, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which had an important say in American decision-making in Afghanistan, risked out some clear position during the latest negotiations, arguing in favor of continuous American involvement. Bill Burns, the CIA director, warned United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Wednesday that if America withdraws troops from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – whenever that time comes – the ability of CIA to gather intelligence information and possible combat threats there will diminish.
Burns said that neither the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) or al Qaeda currently have the ability to strike the United States homeland, but it is obvious that American ability to keep that threat in the country in check from either ISIS or al Qaeda in Afghanistan benefited significantly from the presence of American and coalition forces in the air and on the ground, powered by intelligence provided by the CIA and other American intelligence partners.
The CIA’s intelligence operations in Afghanistan long depended on the U.S. military presence there, and questions whirled around what type of counterterrorism and intelligence capabilities America might able to remain in Afghanistan after 11th September, as Joe Boden vowed to do so. Burns adds that there is a weighty risk after the withdrawal of the United States military along with the coalition militaries from Afghanistan. But he assures that they will work efficiently at the CIA and with all of their coalition partners to try to provide the type of strategic warning to others in the American administration that enables them and Americans to combat that threat if it starts to appear.
Hard Decisions to Come in Future
For the United States State Department, the removal of troops raises several urgent concerns, specifically how America will ensure the protection of its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan. Tony Blinken, the Secretary of State, whose relationship with President Biden extends for several years, knew exactly where Biden was on the matter. At the start of this month, when inquired if the president had made a mistake in saying that he couldn’t see American troops in Afghanistan by the year-end, Blinken didn’t skip a beat.
Blinken believed that if Americans went beyond 1st May, they would find themselves back at war with the Afghani Taliban. According to some familiar sources with the matter, there is still no concluding decision as to how many U.S. troops will stay to protect their country’s embassy in Afghanistan, and it’s early to speculate about how many troops will stay to protect the diplomatic presence in Kabul will look like since America does not know yet how the Taliban will respond.