Joe Biden announced that the US would complete the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan

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source: nbcnews.com

Joe Biden announced that the US would complete the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan on the 20th anniversary of 9/11

The date is September 11 of this year. There are currently 2,500 soldiers deployed in the country.

The United States will complete the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan on September 11, 2021, ending after twenty years of military involvement that began in response to the 2001 terrorist attacks in Washington and New York.

The decision, which Biden is expected to announce on Wednesday, will keep thousands of US servicemen in the country beyond the May 1 exit deadline that the Trump administration negotiated last year with the Taliban, according to a person familiar with the matter which he spoke on condition of anonymity.

Islamist insurgents have already warned that there would be "consequences" if Washington does not meet the May 1 withdrawal deadline, a goal previously described as "tough" by Biden. It's unclear whether the group will follow through on those threats, given Biden's plan for a gradual withdrawal between now and September.

The United States assessed the evolution of the peace process between Kabul and the Taliban and the situation on the ground before ordering a withdrawal. While the NATO allies, who wanted to make a decision already in February, have postponed the matter pending the new US Administration's steps.

To coordinate the next steps in the country, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called for a videoconference meeting of the Alliance's defense and foreign ministers for this Wednesday to discuss with the United States the future of The mission.

The military organization defends the use of its training mission for the Afghan forces. Despite the adjustments in its presence, it currently has 9,600 troops in the country, of which 2,500 are Americans, after the strong US withdrawal in recent years.

A peace conference in Turkey

On the same day, Turkey said it would host an international peace conference on Afghanistan in Istanbul from April 24 to May 4.

"The primary objective of the Istanbul Conference on the Afghanistan Peace Process is to accelerate and complement the intra-Afghan negotiations underway in Doha on the achievement of a just and lasting political agreement, " said Turkey's Foreign Ministry in a release.

The Istanbul meeting is co-sponsored by the United Nations and Qatar.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry said the talks would be between representatives of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban.

The conference will focus on helping the negotiating parties reach a set of common principles that reflect a unified vision for the future of Afghanistan, a roadmap for a future political settlement, and an end to the conflict," he said.

Media reports had initially suggested that the talks could begin on Friday. Still, a Taliban spokesman said the Islamist group would not be ready in time.

"We are still pondering when or whether or not to attend, " Taliban spokesman Mohammed Naeem told AFP on Monday.

A leaked US State Department report said Washington wanted Turkey's conference to pass a plan to replace President Ashraf Ghani's current leadership with an interim government involving the Taliban.

Afghan official sources said last week that Ghani intends to present a three-stage plan at the Istanbul talks.

The first step is to reach a political agreement with the Taliban and announce an internationally supervised ceasefire.

He then proposed holding early presidential elections where the Taliban could take part in forming a peaceful government.

That would lead to a series of development programs across the war-torn country and work on a new constitutional framework.

The Afghanistan High Council for National Reconciliation, an independent negotiating body, established in 2010, is expected to develop its own set of proposals after consulting different political parties and members of civil society.