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PublishDate: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 15:01

Biden still consulting on troop withdrawal issue: White House

With just over three weeks to go before the May 1 troop withdrawal deadline, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that US President Joe Biden has not yet made a decision on the issue and is still in consultations over the matter.

Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_In a press briefing Monday, Psaki said in answer to a question on whether the troops exit will go ahead as per the Doha agreement between the US and the Taliban: “Well, as the president has said before, it will be tough to meet the May 1st deadline for full withdrawal, for logistical reasons.

“We are continuing — he’s continuing to consult internally with his national security team and advisors and, of course, also with our partners and allies.”

She said Biden has “been working on these issues — foreign policy issues, national security issues — for several decades now and, of course, wants to take the time to make the right decision.”

Asked if the expectation could be that troops will stay in Afghanistan after the May 1st withdrawal deadline, Psaki said that Biden “set the expectation it will be tough for a full withdrawal, for logistical reasons, by that timeline.”

She said this is something that has been conveyed clearly to all partners as well. “But in terms of what’s next, you know, he just wants to take the time to make a decision,” she said.

This comes close on the heels of former Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s interview this week with TRT World where he stated that any withdrawal – or extension of troop presence – should be done in a responsible manner.

Karzai said the troop withdrawal must be carried out in a responsible manner so as to make sure it is done in coordination with major powers and countries in the region in order to ensure peace in Afghanistan.

Karzai said: “The US withdrawal or staying in Afghanistan beyond May 1 must be responsible in both cases; if they want to withdraw that withdrawal must be responsible in the sense that it must make sure that Afghanistan is peaceful and that it is done in a broader understanding with major powers and the countries in the region so all together make Afghanistan a place of cooperation rather than competition.”

“Second if they want to stay beyond that too has to be responsible. The United States cannot be staying in Afghanistan that is in conflict; No!”

“If the US wants to, wishes to stay in Afghanistan, it can only be staying in Afghanistan and be in cooperation with a peaceful Afghanistan, a stable Afghanistan, not in Afghanistan in which the US presence is there, bases are there, but we are dying in a conflict and our children are suffering,” he said. .

Karzai said he is appealing for a responsible exit on the part of the Americans.

“A responsible exit and if they wish to – a very responsible stay which means in a peaceful Afghanistan not like what they did in the past 20 years; No!”

also said Afghans want “an immediate end to violence by all sides” – all sides being the Afghan government, the Taliban and the United States.

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