WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is slated to give an update Thursday on the rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan as the Taliban makes advances and the country appears increasingly at risk of descending deeper into a civil war.
In April, Biden announced a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, effectively ending America’s longest war. On Tuesday, the Pentagon said it had completed more than 90% of the entire withdrawal process from Afghanistan.
In recent weeks, the Taliban has made stunning battlefield advances, capturing troves of U.S. military-supplied weapons and vehicles from Afghan forces who have fled or surrendered.
American forces toppled the Taliban in 2001 after the group harbored Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders who carried out the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Two years later, U.S. troops invaded Iraq, a move aimed at removing then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Twenty years later, America’s longest war has cost the lives of around 2,300 U.S. troops and left thousands more wounded. More than 100,000 Afghans are estimated to have been killed or wounded since the conflict began.