With the deadline for a US withdrawal from Afghanistan approaching, a congressionally mandated report was released on Wednesday that calls for the Biden administration to stay in the country.
The US-Taliban peace deal signed in February 2020 set May 1st as a deadline for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan. The report, released by the Afghanistan Study Group, says the US should push the deadline back. The study repeats the usual talking points that hawks use to justify prolonging the almost 20-year war.
The report says if the US leaves by May, a civil war will break out since intra-Afghan peace talks are not complete. But that ignores the fact that fighting is already ongoing between the Taliban and the US-backed government.
Since the US-Taliban deal was signed, Taliban attacks on US troops have subsided. But the Taliban has vowed that if foreign troops don’t leave by May 1st that those attacks will start up again, a sign that if the US stays, more violence will erupt.
Also on Wednesday, a Biden administration official said the US hasn’t made a decision on the Afghanistan withdrawal. “At this time, no decisions about our force posture have been made,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, adding that the administration is reviewing the US-Taliban peace deal.
While the US hasn’t made an official announcement, there is little hope that the withdrawal will happen. The Pentagon said last week that the withdrawal timeline is uncertain, and NATO officials told reporters that foreign troops will be in Afghanistan after May 1st.