US military mission in Afghanistan to conclude

Photo: Bob Strong/Reuters

Today marks the deadline set by President Joe Biden by which the United States military must be fully withdrawn from Afghanistan. 

Since last Thursday, Biden has faced sustained backlash over what critics contend are logistical and intelligence failures that enabled a terrorist attack that killed 13 US servicemen and over 170 Afghans. 117,000 people have been evacuated through a US-led airlift after the Taliban took over Kabul earlier this month.  

Despite Thursday’s attack and domestic and international criticisms, Biden remains committed to the withdrawal and is expected to extract the last remaining troops today. The US would ensure “safe passage” for any US citizens and collaborators that remain past today’s deadline seeking visa requests and repatriation flights. However, this effort will likely be hampered by Biden’s recent decision to pull non-military diplomatic personnel from the country by the troops withdrawal deadline. Officials have stated the embassy in Kabul will be out of operation until relations with the Taliban can be assessed despite the Taliban’s expressed interest in maintaining some form of diplomatic relations with the US. While the Taliban remains engaged in talks with the US regarding future diplomatic presence, it is unclear if the Biden administration will legally recognize the new regime. 

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