“There is a drawdown going on,” White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Air Force One Thursday. “While these actions will initially increase the level of forces, we are committed to keeping all US military personnel out of Afghanistan by September 11, 2020.”
According to several US defense officials, more than 100 soldiers, along with military equipment, have been massed by aircraft to execute an order by President Joe Biden to begin the withdrawal process no later than May 1.
In addition, contractors and US government employees are also moving out of the country, officials said. The Pentagon has said that it is concerned about personnel under Taliban attack as they depart so it is unclear whether it will disclose all details of the departure process, which is scheduled to be completed by 11 September.
There are about 2,500 American soldiers in Afghanistan who are openly accepted, along with several hundred additional Special Operations Forces. All these will depart under the orders of the President.
Mark, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General, in a statement by CNN. “We have begun a deliberately coordinated responsible regression of US military personnel from Afghanistan. It is a complex operation and not without risk. And it will be revealed in the coming weeks,” he said.
A NATO official told CNN that NATO allies have also started withdrawing troops and they plan to have their evacuation “completed in a few months.” The official said they would not “go into operational details, including deadlines for troops or individual nations”, to ensure the safety of their troops, adding that “any Taliban attack during the withdrawal would be met with vigorous response” . “
Miley spoke with his NATO counterparts on Thursday to ensure a coordinated drawdown, a defense official told CNN, tensions mobilized, the intentional withdrawal of the US and coalition forces from Afghanistan “together, out together”. Under the promise of.
Jean Pierre said, “The president’s intent is clear, US military departure from Afghanistan will not be hastened. … It will be delivered and operated in a safe and responsible manner that ensures the security of our forces.”
The military is wary of the worst situation that will involve the collapse of Afghan security forces and watching closely for any signs that it is playing on the ground. The Ministry of Defense said the threat was not only from the Taliban, which threatened to attack the US military, but also from guerrilla factions with their agendas and priorities, unequal and fragmented as a country, one as Afghanistan. There is considerable risk, a defense said.
Biden: ‘Afghanistan was never meant to be a multi-sectoral enterprise’
In his first address at a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night, Biden argued that “war in Afghanistan has never meant a multi-venture of nation-building.”
“We went to Afghanistan to catch the terrorists – the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 – and we said we would follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell. … And we did justice to Laden The President said, “We have reduced the terrorist threat of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. And after 20 years of worth – heroism and sacrifice, the time has come to bring those soldiers home. “
The Pentagon has assembled an important security force to send a strong message to the Taliban that it is ready to respond if they attack the US military. About 650 other ground forces, mainly Army Rangers, are advancing in Afghanistan as a covering force for military security in the coming years, particularly as they withdraw from remote areas.
The US is also sending in additional army artillery and rocket systems for the security force. Aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower will remain in the North Arabian Sea to carry out airstrikes against the Taliban if needed. And the Air Force has also deployed several B-52 bombers in the Bay Area.
Miller told reporters, “All of our forces are now preparing to be retrograde. Officially the notification date will be the first of May, but at the same time when we start taking local action, we have already started , “Kabul if US withdrawal from bases had begun.
Officials told CNN that after the withdrawal began, there would be an attempt to take out conventional forces and equipment as quickly as possible if that equipment was not commissioned for Afghan forces or destroyed on the spot.
America intends to maintain military influence when troops leave
Last week, the senior American responsible for US troops in the Middle East clarified that the US military and Afghanistan intend to maintain military influence and the ability to carry out air strikes in Afghanistan after the retreat of American and NATO troops.
The commander of the US Central Command, General Frank McKenzie, which includes the Middle East and Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that military planners are looking at ways to continue operations in the country after the withdrawal.
He said the US is capable of conducting counter-terrorism missions, at least through the use of manned and unmanned aircraft, as well as for surveillance and reconnaissance.
“We will have an architecture in the theater that will allow us to see it in Afghanistan,” McKenzie said. “It won’t give us the same picture that we have right now. It will allow us to see in. The ranges will be higher, the resources will be higher, the risks will all be higher, but it will be possible to do it again. It is certainly not impossible, But we will not have the vision that we have right now. “
This story has been updated with additional reporting.
CNN’s Betsy Klein, Jennifer Hansler, Nicole Gouette and Arnaud Siyad contributed to this report.