While nothing has been announced yet, the Biden administration is reviewing the decision to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. It could also be looking at supporting a larger role in Africa, thus reversing former President Trump’s withdrawal.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that the new Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III, is expected to review troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq in an effort to examine American strategy in the two countries. If the troop withdrawal is indeed reversed, that would be a significant policy shift for the Biden administration, which has already volt-faced from Trump’s policies.
President Trump had vowed to end America’s “forever wars” during his administration.
In February 2020, after months of secret meetings with the Taliban, his administration signed a peace accord with them in Doha. The agreement committed the Taliban to defuse the conflict in Afghanistan, cut their ties to al-Qaeda, and engage in negotiations with the Afghan government. In return, the Afghan government had to release thousands of Taliban prisoners, most of whom have returned to the fight.
However, the violence has increased as the Taliban have grown increasingly bold in attacking government facilities and bases, targeting government officials for assassination, and appearing to increase their ties to al-Qaeda. Reports have surfaced in the Long War Journal saying that according to the U.S. Treasury the Taliban, through senior Haqqani Network officials, “have discussed forming a new joint unit of armed fighters in cooperation with and funded by al-Qaeda.”
The Taliban claim that there aren’t any al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan. Yet, this continues to be proven false. Despite the Taliban not living up to the accord, the U.S. has continued to withdraw troops from the country. There are now only 2,500 troops left in Afghanistan.