As Taliban Capture Cities, U.S. Says Afghan Forces Must Fend for Themselves

“We’ve seen this movie before,” Mr. Austin advised his boss, in a reference to the Obama-era withdrawal from Iraq, which was adopted by the rise of the Islamic State. The United States ended up returning to Iraq and launching 5 years of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria to assist Iraqi safety forces beat again that rebel group.

Mr. Biden has argued for pulling out of Afghanistan for years. In 2009, whereas serving as vice chairman, he argued for a minimal drive, solely to be overruled as Mr. Obama ordered a surge of forces, then a fast drawdown.

But a dozen years later, as president, he made the choice to withdraw, some of the vital selections of his presidency up to now. And regardless of the chance that the White House will confront horrible photos of human struggling and loss within the coming weeks and months, Mr. Biden has vowed to press forward whatever the situations on the bottom.

Polls present that enormous numbers of Americans in each events assist leaving Afghanistan.

Mr. Biden, declaring that the United States had way back completed its mission of denying terrorists a haven in Afghanistan, mentioned in April that every one American troops would leave the country by Sept. 11. That date has since been moved as much as Aug. 31, giving the Pentagon — and Afghan forces — simply over a month to gradual the Taliban surge.

Administration and army officers have voiced conflicting views on whether or not the United States will proceed airstrikes after Aug. 31 to forestall Afghan cities and the Afghan authorities, led by President Ashraf Ghani, from falling. But even when the airstrikes proceed, they’ll solely accomplish that a lot; the majority of the hassle must come from Afghan forces on the bottom.

In any occasion, Kunduz was by no means going to be the Afghan metropolis that may immediate Mr. Biden to rethink his technique, two U.S. officers mentioned on Sunday on situation of anonymity.

His hand is likely to be pressured if Taliban forces are on the verge of overrunning Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest metropolis, and even Kabul, the place the United States maintains an embassy with some 4,000 folks.

Helene Cooper and Katie Rogers reported from Washington, and Thomas Gibbons-Neff from Kabul. Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington.

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