Fox News reports that the United States military on Friday launched two drone strikes in northern Afghanistan targeting the Taliban.
The strikes took place in the Baghlan and Kunduz provinces. The results of the attacks remain unclear.
These latest airstrikes against the Taliban by the U.S. military came just before President Joe Biden was set to meet with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani. This meeting comes following President Biden’s announcement that he will carry out former President Donald Trump’s plan of completely removing the U.S. military from Afghanistan.
Reports indicate that Ghani, in the meeting, is expected to petition Biden for U.S. aid for his country. But, from the Biden administration’s point of view, the meeting is meant to show the United State’s solidarity with Afghanistan.
“This visit is first about our ongoing commitment and support to the Afghan people and to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre explained.
Jean-Pierre added that Biden, during the meeting, “will emphasize the need for unity, cohesion, and for the Afghan government to focus on key challenges Afghanistan faces.”
One of those challenges, of course, is the Taliban. Biden is expected to urge Ghani to try to reach a power-sharing deal with the Taliban on the grounds that, in Jean-Pierre’s words, “a negotiated political settlement is the best way to end the conflict.”
The exit is imminent
Biden has set September 11, 2021, as the date by which U.S. troops will be completely removed from Afghanistan. This will be the twenty-year anniversary of this effort.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has confirmed that the administration fully intends to follow through on the plan, saying that “the status quo was not an option.”
The specifics about this withdrawal remain unclear. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby recently said that “it will be done on a case-by-case basis.”
There are reports, though, that most of the withdrawal could be completed by the end of July.
The concern voiced by many is that this withdrawal will only allow a resurgence of the Taliban. For this reason, there are some who think it would be best for Biden to keep some American troops in Afghanistan in order to prevent this from happening. It doesn’t, however, appear that Biden will do so.