US President Joe Biden has said that it will be “tough” to withdraw the remaining troops from Afghanistan by May 1 deadline set by the Trump administration.
In an interview with a news channel, President Biden said he was “in the process” now of determining when the forces will leave.
“The fact is that, that was not a very solidly negotiated deal that the president worked out. And so we’re in consultation with our allies as well as the government, and that decision’s going to be — it’s in process now,” Biden said.
Former president Donald Trump signed a deal with the Taliban last year to pull troops from Afghanistan in exchange for commitments on peace talks and other issues. At that time, there were more than 12,000 US troops there, down from a peak of more than 100,000 in 2011.
At present there are 2,500 troops stationed in Afghanistan, although The New York Times reported last week that there were around 1,000 Special Operations forces troops also in the country.
Asked how long US troops could remain in Afghanistan, Biden said, “I don’t think a lot longer,” adding that the May 1 deadline “could happen, but it is tough.”Biden blamed transition process in the US due to elections for the delay on implementation of Afghan deal. “The failure to have an orderly transition from the Trump presidency to my presidency… has cost me time and consequences,” he said.
Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan had already warned in December that the lack of cooperation on transition issues with the Trump administration could lead to a delay in the withdrawal.