Moscow: Former US President Donald Trump has critiqued US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by September 11.
“I wish Joe Biden wouldn’t use September 11 as the date to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, for two reasons. First, we can and should get out earlier. Nineteen years is enough, in fact, far too much and way too long. I made early withdraw possible by already pulling much of our billions of dollars of equipment out and, more importantly, reducing our military presence to less than 2,000 troops from the 16,000 level that was there,” Trump said in a Sunday statement.
Trump urged the Biden administration to keep as close as possible to the May 1 deadline that he had set as a goal for withdrawing troops.
“September 11 represents a very sad event and period for our Country and should remain a day of reflection and remembrance honoring those great souls we lost,” Trump emphasized, arguing that the US should pull out forces ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
On Saturday, The Wall Street Journal reported that top US military commanders advised Biden to retain the current 2,500 troops in Afghanistan and try to cement a peace agreement first, but the US president was set on pulling US forces out by September 11. According to the newspaper, Gen. Austin Miller, who leads NATO forces in Afghanistan, and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, found out about Biden’s decision on troop withdrawal on April 6.
The pullout is expected to start by May 1.
On Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance would begin troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on May 1 and would wrap it up within several months.
The US Defense Department does not rule out the possibility of deploying additional capabilities to Afghanistan for the US drawdown, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on Friday.