It will be “tough” for the U.S. to meet its current Afghanistan troop withdrawal deadline of May 1, President Joe Biden announced Wednesday.
Biden did not announce any extension to the existing deadline put in place by former President Donald Trump, but said he did not think it would “take a lot longer.” Trump’s administration negotiated with the Taliban on a withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan in early 2020. (RELATED: US Has 1,000 More Troops In Afghanistan Than What Was Previously Disclosed)
“I’m in the process of making that decision now as to when they’ll leave. The fact is, that was not a very solidly negotiated deal that the President, the former President, worked out. So we’re in consultation with our allies as well as the government, and that decision’s — it’s in process now,” Biden said in a Wednesday interview with ABC.
Biden went on to blame the Trump administration for the potential delay, arguing the withdrawal would be going according to schedule if Trump had not dragged down the transition process.
The U.S. currently has 3,500 troops stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, the lowest number since the decades-long conflict began.
Biden has altered or outright cancelled some of Trump’s last minute troop movements, most notably his withdrawal of troops from Germany. Biden froze the withdrawal soon after gaining office in early February. Biden also ended the Trump administration’s support for “offensive operations” in Yemen, where a civil war is currently raging.
Trump had sought the withdrawal from Germany due to what he called the nation’s “delinquency” in defense payments to NATO.
“We don’t want to be the suckers anymore,” Trump told reporters at the time. “The United States has been taken advantage of for 25 years, both on trade and on the military. We’re protecting Germany, so we’re reducing the force because they’re not paying the bills. It’s very simple. They’re delinquent. So we’re reducing the force. Now if they start paying their bills… I would think about it.”