The U.S. and its NATO allies were on track to withdraw troops from Afghanistan ahead of the Sept. 11 goal set by President Joe Biden earlier this year, The New York Times reported in July.
The Times also reported that several issues remained unclear in the withdrawal, namely the security of international airports in the region and the likely detriment to NATO-allied Afghan troops posed by the withdrawal of roughly 17,000 private contractors — over 6,000 of whom were American citizens.
MORE: Several hundred U.S. Embassy employees have already been flown out of Afghanistan, a U.S. official told CBS News; officials planned to evacuate the entire embassy compound and move all personnel to the airport by Sunday evening https://t.co/G4yKNCM7lJ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 15, 2021
Biden remarked on July 8 that a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was “not inevitable.” (RELATED: US Deploys Troops To Afghanistan To Aid Embassy Evacuation)
Gen. Mark A. Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, echoed Biden’s comments. “I don’t think the end game is yet written … a negative outcome, a Taliban automatic takeover, is not a foregone conclusion,” Milley told reporters in July during a Pentagon press briefing.