Pentagon Downplays Afghan Attacks, Says Won’t Affect Withdrawal

Dismisses Taliban's 'small, harassing attack'

Heavy fighting in Afghanistan over the weekend is being downplayed by the Pentagon, which presented the events as “small harassing attacks” that would have no effect on the US withdrawal from the country.

This is a major difference in the narrative of the US military, as Taliban attacks were long the excuse for slowing the drawdown, and dragging the pullout beyond the May 1 deadline. Now, with the date pushed back to September 11, they are no longer concerned.

Likely part of the motivation is that the attacks now are specifically because the US reneged on the pullout date it agreed upon. The Taliban were very clear that they intended to restart attacks on the US if it dishonored the pullout date.

The narrative could change again at any time, if officials decide to press on with the war beyond September. Then the attacks could suddenly be an excuse to stay even longer, which is part of why missing May 1 set the stage for potentially endless more war.

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.