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US troops to leave Afghanistan before September 11 anniversary
13 April 2021, 17:40 | Updated: 14 April 2021, 00:15
US troops are aiming to leave Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks this year, according to officials.
A May 1 deadline had been negotiated with the Taliban by the Trump administration.
However, President Joe Biden has hinted for weeks that he was going to let the deadline lapse.
At least 2,500 troops are thought to be in the country as part of the ongoing war launched after the September 11 2001 attacks in New York.
The Times also reports that the UK will withdraw almost all of its 750 troops in Afghanistan.
US officials provided details on Mr Biden's decision, speaking ahead of the announcement.
The decision risks retaliation by the Taliban after it negotiated the previous withdrawal date with the Trump administration, and could reignite disagreements in the US about the long-lasting war.
The US deposed the Taliban after the September 11 attacks when it accused the group of harbouring terrorists, and wants to prevent extremists from being able to use the country as a base from which they can launch terror.
The Taliban agreed to stop attacks and conduct peace talks with the Afghan government in exchange for the US leaving by May 2021.
However, while attacks on US troops have mostly paused, US defence officials and commanders say the Taliban has stepped up attacks on Afghans.
They argue the group has failed to meet the conditions of the peace agreement and have not completely cut ties to al Qaida or other extremist groups.
"It's going to be hard to meet the May 1 deadline," Mr Biden said in late March.
"Just in terms of tactical reasons, it's hard to get those troops out."
He added: "And if we leave, we're going to do so in a safe and orderly way."