The President of the United States announced plans to end the 20-year war and withdraw troops on 14 April. However, the deadline for these plans, first drafted under Donald Trump, was moved from 1 May to September this year.
US Vice-President Kamala Harris has confirmed in an interview with CNN that she was the “last person in the room”, before President Joe Biden made up his mind about withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Harris thus confirmed the president’s earlier statements that he wants the VP to be the last person he consults – especially when it comes to important decisions.
Harris separately stressed that Biden offered her a spot on his ticket for a reason – specifically because of her experiences which differ significantly from those of Biden, and her opinion on the board. At the same time, the vice-president emphasised that Biden makes the “final decision” himself.
Harris Claims Biden Doesn’t Care if His Decisions Cost Him Politically
Commenting on the president’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in 2021, Harris said that Biden regularly impresses her by making a decision based on his inner convictions. Harris claims that Biden will ignore whether his decisions might not be “politically popular, or advantageous for him personally”.
“This is a president who has an extraordinary amount of courage. He is someone whom I have seen over and over again, making decisions based on what he truly believes […] is the right thing to do, making decisions based exactly on what he believes is right,” Harris said.
Biden’s decision to pull troops out of Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the official pretext for starting the war in 2001, were not at all popular with all US politicians nor, reportedly, with the intelligence agencies.
Namely, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham warned that the decision is “paving the way” for another major terrorist attack against the US, of a similar immensity to 9/11. The intelligence services, in turn, reportedly warned Congress that its ability to operate in Afghanistan might be significantly impeded after the pullout.
However, the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan has been popular with a number of Biden’s predecessors – Barack Obama was in favour of the idea and, in certain respects, so was Donald Trump. The latter arguably paved the way for the withdrawal by striking a peace deal with the Taliban*, which required an earlier withdrawal – by 1 May. Under Biden’s plan, the US military will only start withdrawing on that day, but should finish by 11 September. American allies in NATO also announced the withdrawal of their forces in the wake of Biden’s statement.
*Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia