Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Pentagon signals slow pullout from Afghanistan

(Photo by Joël SAGET / AFP / FILES)

WASHINGTON: The US military could slow down its withdrawal from Afghanistan due to the gains made by the Taliban insurgents, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Monday.

Kirby stressed that President Joe Biden´s deadline of a full withdrawal by September remains in place, but added that the pace could be adjusted based on conditions.

“The situation in Afghanistan changes as the Taliban continue to conduct these attacks and to raid district centers as well as the violence, which is still too high,” he told reporters.

“If there needs to be changes made to the pace, or to the scope and scale of the retrograde, on any given day or in any given week, we want to maintain the flexibility to do that,” he said.

“We´re constantly taking a look at this, every single day: what´s the situation on the ground, what capabilities do we have, what additional resources do we need to move out of Afghanistan and at what pace.”

“All of these decisions are literally being made in real time,” he added.

Pentagon officials said last week that the withdrawal, ordered by Biden in April after nearly two decades fighting Al-Qaeda and helping government forces battle the Taliban, is around half completed.

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