Austin travels to Afghanistan as the deadline for troop withdrawals approaches


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (R) met with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Kabul, Afghanistan on March 21, 2021.

Presidential Palace / sharing via REUTERS

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to Afghanistan on Sunday to meet with the state leader as Washington considers it a potential end to the longest U.S. war.

The trip, which Austin makes the first Biden government official to visit a war-torn country, comes 40 days before the deadline for the withdrawal of American forces.

In February 2020 The United States mediated in agreement with the Taliban that would cause a permanent ceasefire and further reduce the trail of the U.S. military from approximately 13,000 troops to 8,600 by mid-July last year.

According to the agreement, all foreign forces will leave Afghanistan by May 2021. There are currently about 2,500 US troops in the country.

The Biden administration has not yet announced its next steps forward in Afghanistan.

The collective wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria have cost U.S. taxpayers more than $ 1.57 trillion since Sept. 11, 2001, according to data Report of the Ministry of Defense.

Ongoing U.S. military operations, called the Sentinel of Freedom in Afghanistan, Operation Inherent Resolve in Syria and Iraq, and Operation Noble Eagle for homeland security missions in the U.S. and Canada, amounted to $ 265.7 billion of that amount.

Operation Lasting Freedom in Afghanistan, which began in October 2001 and formally ended in December 2014, cost taxpayers $ 578.7 billion.

Of the three current operations, Freedom’s Sentinel takes the lion’s share of the cost of $ 197.3 billion, then Inherent Resolve of $ 40.5 billion and Noble Eagle of $ 27.9 billion.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin walks during a visit to Kabul in Afghanistan on March 21, 2021.

Presidential Palace / sharing via REUTERS

According to the report, the money goes to training, equipment, maintenance, as well as food, clothing, medical services and payment for the corps.

Last month, the world’s most powerful military alliance met to discuss a range of challenges facing a group of 30 members. High on the agenda was the road ahead in Afghanistan. NATO joined international security efforts in Afghanistan in 2003 and currently has more than 7,000 troops in the country.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance would continue to assess the situation on the ground in Afghanistan.

“Our goal is to ensure that there is a lasting political agreement that can allow us to go in a way that does not undermine our main goal, which is to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven again. [for terrorists]”Stoltenberg said.

“Most troops come from European allies and partner countries. We will do whatever it takes to make sure our troops are safe,” he said when asked if the alliance was ready for violence if the agreement with the Taliban was violated.

Austin told reporters during the NATO meeting that the reduction of US forces in Afghanistan would depend on the reduction of violence in the country.

“Violence must be reduced now,” Austin said at his first press briefing. “I have told our allies that, regardless of the outcome of our audit, the United States will not undertake a hasty or disorderly withdrawal from Afghanistan,” he said, referring to NATO virtual meetings.

“There will be no surprises. We will consult, consult and decide together and act together,” Austin said of the NATO-led mission.


Like it? Share with your friends!


What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
confused confused
fail fail
fun fun
geeky geeky
love love
lol lol
omg omg
win win


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *