Pompeo: US Set for Full Afghanistan Withdrawal by Spring

US on track to get out of Afghanistan by April or May

US troop cuts in Afghanistan have been ahead of schedule or on track for much of the year, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that the US expects a full withdrawal from the country by April or May of 2021, as agreed to in the peace deal.

This comment came amid the first intra-Afghan peace talks, and is particularly significant because it is the first time a top US official confirmed that the peace deal, which indeed mandated a pullout, would actually end that way.

This may become a political issue, however. President Trump was very keen to get troop levels down before the election, but never addressed what happens after that. Vice President Biden gave lip-service to a drawdown in recent comments, but appeared to dismiss the idea of completing any withdrawals any time soon.

If Biden leaves the withdrawal incomplete, it’s likely to restart the war with the Taliban, as ending 19 years of US occupation was a top priority for them. Though there were rumors that a secret deal might allow a small US remnant to stay, the Taliban has persistently argued that this is not the case.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.