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Violence Remains High in Afghanistan as US Withdrawal Begins

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On April 14, U.S. President Joe Biden announced that after 20 years of deployments to Afghanistan, the U.S. military would fully withdraw from the country. The announcement put to rest questions of whether Biden would hold firm to the preceding U.S. administration’s agreement with the Taliban to withdraw by May 1, 2021. Instead, U.S. forces began their final withdrawal on May 1, with the aim to complete that process by September 11, 2021.

Biden’s announcement triggered a flurry of commentaries, some supporting, some condemning. One concern often cited is the withdrawal’s possible affect on the level of violence in Afghanistan. It will be important to benchmark the present level of violence, and the targets of that violence, to hold future assessments to reasonable account.

Following the February 2020 agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban, Taliban attacks on U.S. forces all but ceased. The year ended with the lowest number of U.S. fatalities in Afghanistan since the war began. Of the 10 U.S. servicemembers killed in Afghanistan in 2020, four were killed in hostile action before the signing of the February 29, 2020 deal — the rest died in accidents. While this is in part a reflection of the reduction in U.S. troops, particularly after the changeover of the mission from combat to advising at the end of........

© The Diplomat

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