There are just 10 weeks left of America’s war in Afghanistan – at least on paper.
Why it matters: Donald Trump pledged a full troop withdrawal by May 1 as part of a deal struck one year ago with the Taliban. President Biden must now decide whether he can bear the risks of honoring it.
The big picture: Under the deal, the Taliban promised to reduce violence, engage in peace talks with the Afghan government (which was not a party to the Trump-Taliban deal), and ensure that Afghanistan doesn’t again become a haven for terror groups like al-Qaeda.
- The Taliban has stopped targeting U.S. and NATO troops but continues to attack Afghan forces. Intra-Afghan peace talks have stalled, and the Taliban has refused to cut ties with al-Qaeda.
- Meanwhile, Trump pulled the U.S. troop count down to 2,500 from around 13,000 before leaving office. NATO allies have another 8,000 troops in the country.
- Flashback: The troop count rose as high as 100,000 under Barack Obama. The most prominent internal opponent of Obama’s surge was Biden, who has long argued for a smaller operation focused