Afghan Officials Offer Variety of Responses to US Changing Pullout Date

Ghani supports US staying, others warn it is risky

Across Afghanistan, and from other nations with vested interests in the country, reactions are coming in to President Biden’s decision to renege on the promised May 1 pullout and move it back to September 11.

Afghan officials seem to be basing their positions on the idea that after decades of occupation, the US is fully responsible for Afghanistan. President Ghani, who never wanted the US to leave in the first place, backed Biden’s delay, and talked of a “new phase” of partnership.

Others counseled doing things slowly, saying the US needs to be responsible. Some Afghan MPs even declared the pullout date a “betrayal,” arguing that the US should not be able to leave at all until the situation improves.

Underpinning the deal to leave in the first place was that improving the security situation in Afghanistan simply wasn’t happening, and if anything the US deployments were leaving the country trapped in a losing war, with ever-growing Taliban positions.

Unsurprisingly, the Taliban was critical of Biden over this move, as the US had committed to May 1 already. Arguments that there was no longer time ring empty since Biden spent his first several months sitting on his hands, when US troop levels in Afghanistan were already cut.

The Taliban referred to this as breach of agreement, and warned it could cause problems going forward. They are refusing to participate in overseas conferences until the US leaves, and that’s likely to throw the September 11 date into doubt as well.

Russia was also critical, at least somewhat, of the decision. They cautioned it might fan violence in Afghanistan, and said the US should’ve kept to the deal they’d already made.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of