According to a report from NBC News, President Biden is considering keeping troops in Afghanistan until November instead of leaving by May 1st, the deadline set by the US-Taliban peace deal.
Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the NBC report said Biden has been pushing back against the Pentagon’s efforts to stay in Afghanistan after May 1st but has been convinced to consider a six-month extension.
Biden was presented with three options: leave by May 1st, extend the withdrawal deadline, or stay in Afghanistan indefinitely. The report said deliberations are still being made, and a final decision has not been reached.
An extension of the withdrawal deadline would have to be negotiated with the Taliban, or the group would again target US troops. February 8th marked the first full year since the war started that no US troops died in combat in Afghanistan.
In an interview that aired Wednesday, Biden said meeting the May 1st deadline would be “tough” and that he is still in the process of making a decision on withdrawal.
On Thursday, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy for the Afghanistan peace process, participated in an Afghanistan summit in Moscow. The US, Russia, Pakistan, and China all called for the warring sides to agree to a ceasefire.