The Trump administration reached a peace deal with the Taliban last February, with the agreement envisioning a complete pullout of foreign troops from Afghanistan by May 2021, intra-Afghan peace talks, and a pledge by the militant group not to allow the country to become a haven for terrorists.
The Biden administration has nixed its predecessor’s commitment to pull all NATO forces out of Afghanistan by May, Reuters has reported, citing four senior NATO officials speaking on condition of anonymity.
In mid-January, the Pentagon confirmed that it had met Trump’s order to shave US troop numbers in Afghanistan down to 2,500 troops total. The draw-down came despite efforts by Congress to freeze the withdrawal until a report ‘assessing the impact’ of such a pullout was completed. Trump fired Defence Secretary Mark Esper several days after the November election, replacing him with Christopher Miller over disagreements on plans to withdraw US forces from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The US and its NATO allies have been in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years. After invading the Central Asian nation in late 2001 to topple the Taliban regime for its harbouring of Saudi al-Qaeda terror leader Osama bin Laden, NATO spent years hunting the man in the war-torn country. In 2011, he was discovered living comfortably in a secure compound in a wealthy neighbourhood in Abbottabad in neighbouring Pakistan, and was killed in a…