With the May 1st Afghanistan withdrawal deadline only weeks away, President Biden has yet to make an official decision on whether or not troops will remain in the country, which is frustrating US military officials.
Current and former officials told NBC News that there is growing frustration within the military over President Biden’s failure to make a decision. One former senior official described Biden as “dithering” and said military leaders want the president to “just tell us what we’re doing here.”
While there hasn’t been a formal announcement, all signs indicate that Biden is looking to stay. At his first press conference last month, President Biden said it would be “hard” to meet the deadline. Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said it would be “tough” to withdraw by May 1st and that the president wants more time to decide.
The White House has been claiming it would be hard to pull out the remaining troops by May, but the Pentagon has said it is ready to execute the withdrawal if ordered to do so.
The US reportedly asked the Taliban to agree to an extension of the deadline, but that seems unlikely to happen. If the US stays beyond May 1st, the Taliban has warned they will again start targeting foreign forces. Since the US-Taliban deal was signed in Doha last February, no US troops have died in combat in Afghanistan.