US Will Negotiate Extension in Afghanistan, Lawmaker Says
US President Joe Biden will try to keep American soldiers in Afghanistan past the May 1 deadline, fearing a complete withdrawal of thousands of troops may be logistically impossible, said Rep. Adam Smith, chairman of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, on Wednesday. According to the Democratic lawmaker, who recently spoke with national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the White House will attempt to negotiate an extension with the Taliban. Former President Donald Trump last year signed a deal with the radical insurgent group under which all foreign militaries would pull out of Afghanistan in return for a cessation of hostilities and an agreed-upon settlement between the Taliban and the internationally recognized Afghan government. “I think there’s a general feeling that May 1 is too soon, just logistically,” Smith said. “You cannot pull out 10,000-plus troops in any sort of way in six weeks.” President Biden last week said it would be “tough” to meet the May 1 deadline. The Taliban has over the past year launched repeated terror attacks against Afghan officials, soldiers and civilians.