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Biden Says ‘Tough’ To Meet May 1 Deadline for Afghanistan Troop Pullout

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U.S. President Joe Biden said in an interview broadcast on Wednesday that it would be “tough” for him to meet a deadline on May 1 to withdraw the last troops from Afghanistan, ending the longest war of America.

Biden’s comments to ABC News were his most extensive so far about the deadline set in an agreement struck with the Taliban under former President Donald Trump in February 2020.

His interview was aired a day before Russia, China, the United States, Pakistan, a delegation of top Afghan officials and opposition leaders and Taliban negotiators met in Moscow in an attempt to start deadlocked talks. talk of peace.

Some U.S. officials and many experts fear that if U.S. -led international forces leave before a peace agreement is reached, Afghanistan could plunge into a new civil war, giving al Qaeda a new sanctuary.

“I’m in the process of making this decision now when they will leave,” Biden said of the last 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. “It could happen, but it’s tough.”

Biden said the Trump deal was not “very firmly negotiated.” However, Biden remained as his own peace messenger Zalmay Khalilzad, the veteran U.S. diplomat who worked for Trump.

The Taliban has warned that it could continue attacks on US-led international forces if Biden misses the deadline.

The 2020 agreement refers to a US-based conditional recession. Trump ordered it to continue despite escalating violence blamed mostly on the Taliban, a six-month delay in intra-Afghan peace talks and what U.S. officials said was the Taliban’s failure to carry out a promise to cut ties with al Qaeda. This will dilute US negotiation leverage.

The Taliban has denied that al Qaeda fighters will remain in Afghanistan, where the rebels have given sanctuary to Islamists as they planned the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States. The Taliban has denied responsibility for the rising violence.

In office, Biden ordered a review of a 2020 agreement.

But in keeping Khalilzad, Biden took in large part a proposed peace deal set at the end of the Trump administration that called for U.S. -backed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to hand over power to an interim administration, half to members chosen by the Taliban.

Ghani has repeatedly denied the setback, saying the election should decide a change in government. The Taliban rejected the democratic elections and the national ceasefire demanded by the US proposal.

(Reporting by Jonathan Landay; Editing by David Gregorio)

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