US Treats Afghan Pullout Deal as Just an Option

Details of US position seem related to secret annexes

The February 29 peace agreement with the Taliban presented the date for the US pullout to be completed as May 1. There are secret annexes we were never allowed to see, of course, which have allowed the US to present the date as aspirational. More recently, the Biden Administration has presented it as an “option” among which the US is considering.

The Trump Administration did most of the heavy lifting of a pullout before inauguration, but indications recently are that certain vague violations are being made reference to as a justification for why the US might not cross the finish line on the pullout, while still holding that out as a possibility, treating it almost as a bargaining chip.

Without access to the full peace deal, it’s hard to tell if this is a fair reaction by the US, and that they didn’t want to make everything public from the beginning suggests that some US officials had an eye toward abusing uncertainty from the start.

Now that the US is giving lip service to helping the intra-Afghan talks along, it might be that leaving Afghanistan really is an option they’re considering, and trying to lay the groundwork for. The decision-making process, however, could stand to be a lot more transparent.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.