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February 29, 2020 — Donald Trump’s administration signed a deal with the Taliban that set the terms for a US withdrawal from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021. At that time, the US had about 13,000 troops left in the country.
March 1, 2020 — Then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani expressed his objection to a provision of the agreement that would require his country to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners. “Releasing Taliban prisoners is not the authority of America, but the authority of the Afghan government,” Ghani said at the time.
March 4, 2020 — The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, told Senate forces that the Taliban have pledged not to attack US and coalition forces.
March 10, 2020 — Ghani, under pressure from the US government, ordered the release of 1,500 Taliban prisoners at a rate of 100 a day.
May 19, 2020 — A report by a Pentagon Inspector General (IG) on activities in Afghanistan from Jan. 1 through March 31 noted that the U.S. reduced forces there by more than 4,000, even though “the Taliban continued to escalate violence.” after signing the agreement’.
August 18, 2020 — A follow-up report for the next quarter noted that the Taliban “appeared to be failing to fulfill their commitment to distance themselves from terrorist organizations in Afghanistan.”
September 3, 2020 — Afghanistan has released the last 400 Taliban prisoners under the US-Taliban agreement so that intra-Afghan peace talks could begin.
September 12, 2020 — Afghan government officials and Taliban representatives met in Qatar for peace talks after months of delay. The US-Taliban agreement called for the first peace talks to start on March 10.
September 18, 2020 — Trump said at a press conference: “We are dealing with the Taliban very well. They are very tough, they are very smart, they are very sharp. But you know, it’s been 19 years and even they’re tired of fighting.’
Nov 16, 2020 — Congressional Republicans warned that a pullout could lead to “a Saigon-like situation” in Afghanistan.
November 17, 2020 — Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller announced that the US will reduce its armed forces in Afghanistan to 2,500 by January 15, 2021. The same day, the Pentagon’s IG reported that negotiations between the Taliban and Afghanistan stalled amid mounting violence.
January 15, 2021 — Miller announced that “the level of US military forces in Afghanistan reached 2,500,” the lowest since 2001.
January 20, 2021 — Joe Biden was inaugurated as President of the United States
February 3, 2021 — The Congress’ Afghanistan Study Group, established in December 2019 to help ensure a peaceful transition in Afghanistan, released a report recommending changes to the agreement with the Taliban.
February 19, 2021 — Biden reiterated his campaign promise to bring US troops home from Afghanistan at the Munich Security Conference.
March 7, 2021 — Biden’s foreign minister, Antony Blinken, told Ghani he was “concerned that the security situation will deteriorate and that the Taliban could quickly gain ground.”
March 25, 2021 — US Special Operations Command Commander General Richard Clarke told the Senate Armed Services Committee “it is clear that the Taliban have not obeyed what they said they would do and reduce the violence.”
On the same day, Biden said at a White House press conference it would be “difficult” to meet the May 1, 2021 deadline for withdrawal.
April 14, 2021 — Biden announced a new withdrawal deadline and vowed to remove all US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. He said he “inherited a diplomatic agreement” that “is not what I would have negotiated myself.”
“We will not rush to the exit,” Biden promised in his speech. ‘We do it responsibly, consciously and safely.’
April 15, 2021 — In response to Biden’s decision to delay the full withdrawal, the Taliban released a statement saying failing to complete the withdrawal by May 1 “opens the way for [the Taliban] to take all necessary countermeasures, so the American side will be held responsible for all future consequences.”
April 18, 2021 — Trump released a statement criticizing Biden’s September 11 withdrawal deadline, saying “we can and should leave earlier.”
May 18, 2021 — Defense IG released a report for the first three months of 2021 claiming that the Taliban have stepped up their attacks on Afghan forces and appear to be preparing “large-scale offensives” along with al-Qaeda.
May 18, 2021 — During a House hearing on US policy in Afghanistan, US Special Representative for Afghan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad downplayed the prospect of a swift Taliban takeover when US troops left.
June 8, 2021 — Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says the group’s goal is to create an “Islamic government” after foreign troops leave Afghanistan.
June 26, 2021 — In his first meeting since his departure, Trump boasted that Biden cannot halt the process of removing troops from Afghanistan, acknowledging that the Afghan government will not stand if US troops leave.
July 6, 2021 — The US military has confirmed it has withdrawn from Bagram Airfield, the largest airport in Afghanistan.
July 8, 2021 — Biden said “speed is security” and pushed the timeline for a full troop withdrawal to August 31, 2021. He accused Trump of closing the deal and assured Americans that a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan “is not inevitable.” He added “The chances that the Taliban will overrun everything and own the entire country are highly unlikely.” accelerate special visas for Afghan citizens who helped the US during the war.
July 24, 2021 — Speaking at a rally in Phoenix, Trump said that when he was president, he told the Taliban leader in a phone call that after US troops leave if “you decide to do something terrible to our country … we will come back and tell you.” harder than any country has ever been hit.”
August 6, 2021 — The Taliban took control of their first province, Nimroz, despite the agreement they made with the US not to do so.
August 15, 2021 — Taliban fighters enter the Afghan capital, Kabul. Afghan President Ghani fled the country and the US evacuated diplomats from their embassy by helicopter.
August 16, 2021 — Speaking to the nation, Biden said: ‘I do not regret my decision to end US warfare in Afghanistan’ and dismissed the blame for the government’s rapid collapse.
That same day, thousands rushed to Kabul airport after the government collapsed in an attempt to flee Afghanistan.
August 26, 2021 — Suicide bombings at Kabul airport killed nearly 200 people, including 13 US servicemen.
August 29, 2021 — Ten civilians were killed in a US drone strike. Officials said the target was an IS agent with a car full of explosives linked to ISIS-K, but the man was a long-time aid worker for the US, and seven of the victims were children.
August 30, 2021 — The US completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan when the last US military C-17 carried the last of its troops out of the country. Thousands of Afghan allies were left behind, and a new report showed that at least 800 Americans have been brought home since the withdrawal.
In recent days, US troops have evacuated more than 122,000 people from Afghanistan. It was originally reported that only 100-200 Americans were left behind.