NATO Troops to Stay in Afghanistan Beyond May Pullout Deadline
Decision has been made, now looking for a way to roll the blame on the Taliban
The narrative by which the Biden Administration will ultimately keep US ground troops in Afghanistan is still being built around claims of the Taliban not meeting the February 29 deal, but seems more cemented than ever with NATO framing its own abrogation of the pullout.
NATO officials confirmed this weekend that they will not be meeting the May deadline for leaving Afghanistan. They’d previously said they couldn’t possibly stay without the US, and the Ghani government has pushed the US to stay as well.
With the Pentagon already talking up staying in Afghanistan, NATO is giving them a ready-made excuse, and officials say Biden is now “taking a hard look” at the peace deal that the US signed last year.
The Trump Administration had all but finished the pullout, but Pentagon spokeman Kirby says it is “difficult to see” how the US could even leave Afghanistan by May 1, as the deal calls for. That’s roughly the opposition the military leadership has held for a pullout for awhile.
With the pullout the plan for months and few troops left, the easiest thing in the world would seemingly be to finish the pullout. Officials need some tough arguments to stay, and while staying for NATO seems to be the plan in hand, the military will no doubt go through as many as they need to to keep the war rolling.