The commander of foreign military forces in Afghanistan says “local action” has begun as part of the planned withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, about two weeks after US President Joe Biden announced all US forces would leave by September 11.
US Army General Scott Miller said on Sunday that foreign military bases would be gradually handed over to Afghan forces.
Miller, who has commanded US forces and the NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan since 2018 stated that, ‘All our forces are now preparing to retrograde. Officially the notification date will be the 1st of May, but at the same time as we start taking local actions, we have already begun’.
As we retrograde to zero US forces, we will turn over the military bases primarily to the (Afghan) Ministry of Defense and other Afghan forces, later he added.
Biden framed his plan to withdrawl some 2,500 remaining US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York City and Washington, DC, around a need to end the US’s longest war.
After Biden’s announcement, the Taliban reiterated its call for all foreign forces to leave Afghanistan by May 1, the date stipulated in the group’s so called Doha agreement with the Trump administration.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid Twitted that, ‘The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan seeks the withdrawal of all foreign forces from our homeland on the date specified in the Doha Agreement’.
The foreign ministers in a joint statement underlined the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire to end the violence and “provide a conducive atmosphere” for peace talks.