U.S. appears poised to postpone troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

Deliberations about the fate of the 2,500 U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan grow increasingly urgent as the administration ­approaches the deadline. The Trump administration in February 2020 agreed to the May withdrawal following negotiations with the Taliban.

While the Biden administration cautions that no decision has been made on extending the troop presence, officials and experts point to several signs that the administration is likely to postpone a full withdrawal — potentially with Taliban acquiescence — to buy more time to advance a power-sharing proposal they hope can break an impasse in talks between the militants and the Afghan government.

Laurel Miller, who served as a senior official for Afghanistan in the Obama and Trump administrations, said it would be “unfathomable” to pull out American forces — let alone thousands of other NATO troops — in the next 60 days without stoking insecurity and jeopardizing chances for an eventual deal that could allow the United States to withdraw without fearing that Afghanistan would again become a terrorist haven.