The US Defense secretary travels to Afghanistan as troop withdrawal closing date looms

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin traveled to Afghanistan on Sunday to fulfill with the nation’s leader, as Washington considers an ability to give up to America’s longest war

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The trip, which makes Austin the primary Biden Cabinet-degree reliable to go to the war-torn country, comes forty days beforehand of a U.S. troop withdrawal closing date.

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani (R) meets U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, in Kabul, Afghanistan March 21, 2021.
Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS

In February 2020, the United States brokered a cope with the Taliban that could herald an everlasting cease-hearthplace and decreased in addition the U.S. army’s footprint from about 13,000 troops to 8, six hundred with the aid of using mid-July remaining year, CNBC reported.

By May 2021, all overseas forces would go away to Afghanistan, in step with the deal. There are approximately 2,500 U.S. troops presently inside the country.

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The Biden management has but to announce its subsequent steps ahead in Afghanistan.

The collective wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria have price U.S. taxpayers greater than $1. fifty-seven trillion when you consider that Sept. 11, 2001, in step with a Defense Department report.

The cutting-edge U.S. army operations, certain Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan, Operation Inherent Resolve in Syria and Iraq, and Operation Noble Eagle for hometown protection missions inside the U.S. and Canada have accounted for $265.7 billion of that sum.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin walks during his visit in Kabul, Afghanistan March 21, 2021.
Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS

Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, which commenced in October 2001 and officially led to December 2014, price taxpayers $578.7 billion.

Of the 3 cutting-edge operations, Freedom’s Sentinel takes the lion’s proportion of expenses at $197.three billion, accompanied with the aid of using Inherent Resolve at $forty.five billion and Noble Eagle at $27.nine billion.

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According to the report, the cash is going closer to training, equipment, upkeep in addition to food, clothing, scientific offerings and pay for troops.

Last month, the world’s maximum effective army alliance met to speak about an array of demanding situations dealing with the 30-member group. High at the time table turned into the route ahead in Afghanistan. NATO joined the global protection attempt in Afghanistan in 2003 and presently has greater than 7,000 troops in the country.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated the alliance will preserve to evaluate the state of affairs at the floor in Afghanistan.

“Our goal is to ensure that we have an enduring political settlement that may make it viable for us to depart in a manner that doesn’t undermine our primary intention and this is to save you Afghanistan from turning into over again a secure haven [for terrorists],” Stoltenberg stated.

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“The majority of the troops are from European allies and accomplice countries. We will do what’s important to ensure that our troops are secure,” he stated whilst requested if the alliance turned into organized for violence if the settlement with the Taliban is broken.

Austin instructed journalists at the heels of the NATO assembly that the U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan might be contingent on a discount of violence in the country.

“The violence needs to decrease, now,” Austin stated, in his first press briefing with journalists. “I instructed our allies that regardless of what the final results of our review, the USA will now no longer adopt a hasty or disorderly withdrawal from Afghanistan,” he stated, relating to the digital NATO meetings.

“There might be no surprises. We will seek advice from every other, seek advice from collectively and determine collectively and act collectively,” Austin stated of the NATO-led mission.

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