No ‘mission accomplished’ moment for US in Afghanistan, White House says – live

A senior administration official said Biden will provide an update on US plans to move thousands of Afghan interpreters out of the country by the end of August….The Pentagon says the withdrawal of US forces is 90% complete.

Washington agreed to withdraw in a deal negotiated last year under Biden’s Republican predecessor, Donald Trump. Biden overruled military leaders who wanted to keep a larger presence to assist Afghan security forces and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a staging ground for extremist groups.

Instead, the United States plans to leave 650 troops in Afghanistan to provide security for the US Embassy.

Biden’s order in April to pull out US forces by September 11 this year, after 20 years of conflict has coincided with major gains by the Islamist militant Taliban movement against overwhelmed Afghan forces after peace talks sputtered.

The commander of US troops in Afghanistan, General Austin Miller, warned last week that the country may be headed toward a civil war.

The U.S. intelligence community believes the Afghan military is weak and that the Kabul government’s prospects for survival in the short term are not good, U.S. government sources familiar with official assessments said.

Biden’s administration is also grappling with its plan for expedited visas for Afghan people most at risk of being attacked by the Taliban, including translators who worked with foreign forces. Rights groups are pushing to add up to 2,000 vulnerable women to the list, and Biden is expected to mention women’s rights in his remarks…Some Republicans are criticizing Biden for the pullout, although Trump had also sought to end American involvement in the war.

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