Biden finally returns from vacation as Taliban demands US withdraw all troops by September 11

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The Taliban is demanding that President Joe Biden complete the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, setting up a scenario where the president may be forced to choose between following their demands and upholding U.S. interests.

In an interview with Sky News, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen called for the U.S. to “withdraw all their forces” by Sept. 11th and stressed the group’s “committed not to attack them.”

The suggestion appeared to be that so long as Biden abides by the group’s veritable orders, there’ll be no violence directed at U.S. troops.

“I think they should get their troops out of Afghanistan. They have already violated the time frame which was enshrined in the Doha agreement. Then they announced that they will withdraw all their forces by September 11, so they should withdraw all their forces,” Shaheen said.

“We are committed to not attack them, and we have not attacked them,” he added.

Listen:

Note his complaint about the Biden administration having “already violated the time frame which was enshrined in the Doha agreement.”

The Doha agreement reached between the Taliban and former President Donald Trump called for the withdrawal to be complete by May 1st.

For reasons that remain unclear, Biden unilaterally announced in April that he’d decided to breach the agreement and delay the final withdrawal to Sept. 11th.

At the time, the Taliban warned of consequences if the deal was breached:

And indeed, once the May 1st deadline had passed, attacks resumed with a “major Taliban offensive” against Afghan forces, as reported at the time by Reuters.

Three months later, the Taliban secured its first win by conquering Nimruz Province. Within nine days, the group had conquered the entire country and was on the verge of taking the nation’s capital city of Kabul as well.

What remains unclear is how the president will proceed moving forward, especially given reports that the Taliban’s blazing-fast recapture of the entire country has reportedly “energized global jihadists.”

“An intelligence official from an Arab nation, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe evolving assessments, said officials had seen an uptick in jihadist communications about developments in Afghanistan. The Taliban takeover, this official said, ‘is encouraging many jihadists to think about traveling to Afghanistan now instead of Syria or Iraq,'” The Washington Post reported Monday.

“According to a European intelligence official, the Taliban’s victory has become a rallying cry for jihadist sympathizers there. ‘The U.S. appears in all of this now as a weak nation,’ he said. An al-Qaeda fighter who goes by the name Abu Khaled said the Taliban’s conquest was momentous for all extremists. ‘God willing, the success of the Taliban will be also a chance to unify mujahideen movements like al-Qaeda and Daesh,’ he said, using another name for the Islamic State,” the Post added.

Making matters worse, the Taliban have reportedly found and commandeered a plethora of high-powered, U.S. manufactured military arsenal.

“The Taliban captured an array of modern military equipment when they overran Afghan forces who failed to defend district centers. Bigger gains followed, including combat aircraft, when the Taliban rolled up provincial capitals and military bases with stunning speed, topped by capturing the biggest prize, Kabul, over the weekend,” the Associated Press confirmed Tuesday.

“A U.S. defense official on Monday confirmed the Taliban’s sudden accumulation of U.S.-supplied Afghan equipment is enormous,” the AP added.

Tuesday was the same day that the president finally — after days of mostly ignoring the crisis — cut his vacation short and returned to the White House to stay.

The president had briefly returned to the White House on Monday to deliver a speech blaming his predecessor for the crisis in Afghanistan, but he’d immediately rushed back to vacation after he was done speaking.

This prompted massive criticism, which may explain his abrupt decision to reverse course 24 hours later.

Vivek Saxena

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