US Trying to ‘Buy More Time’ on Afghanistan Pullout

May 1 withdrawal date expected to be postponed

In making proposals about a power-sharing deal and interim government, the US has given the Afghan factions a new reason to approach the peace process. That may come as a cost, however, because with just a month and a half left before the May 1 withdrawal date, the US doesn’t believe it has enough time.
Rather, the Biden Administration was in the process of weaseling out of that date already, and now suggests they are just trying to “buy more time” for the peace process, trying to back their new proposal by staying in Afghanistan despite the promised pullout date.

This could be risky, of course, as the Taliban has been holding out for the pullout, and Afghan officials don’t seem at all keen on the idea of the US leaving under any circumstances. The US staying could convince the Taliban the peace isn’t tenable, and convince the government that they can keep the US occupation by just not making peace.

It’s not clear if this is an improvement, as Biden was talking postponing the pullout from the start. Now, at least, they seem to be suggesting that the goal is to make peace in the near term and then leave. At least that would keep a soft-of definitive end-date on the horizon.

The problem is many in Congress are so comfortable with the open-ended war they were already resisting the pullout, even if it was almost done. Postponing it means they’ll be ready to resist anew any time a pullout again approaches.

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.