American troops likely to stay after May: US senator

US Senator Lindsey Graham said Sunday night that American troops will stay on in Afghanistan and only leave when the conditions are right.

In an interview with CBS News, Graham, a Republican senator, said: “I’m very pleased with what the Biden administration is proposing for Afghanistan. We’re going to keep troops there on a conditions-based approach.”

Graham went on to state: “I think we’re not going to leave in May. We’re going to leave when the conditions are right.

“The Taliban have been cheating. They haven’t been complying. And so I like what Secretary (of State Antony) Blinken and the Biden administration is doing.

“They’re reevaluating our presence in Afghanistan to keep the footprint low, but not to walk away and lose all the gains we’ve achieved,” Graham said.

“If we leave too soon without a conditions-based withdrawal, Daesh and al-Qaeda will come roaring back. Women will suffer greatly. So they’re in a good spot, I think, on Afghanistan.”

This comes after a flurry of discussions among high ranking US officials, a number of reports and announcements that the new Biden administration will review the US-Taliban deal signed in February last year before making a final decision on whether or not it will meet the May deadline to withdraw all troops.

On Friday, US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said in a series of tweets that he had fully briefed Blinken on the Afghanistan peace process “in the context of our continuing policy review.”

“We discussed the focus on our conditions-based strategy, one that brings peace to Afghanistan, secures a stable future for its citizens, and prevents anyone from using Afghanistan to threaten the United States and our allies,” Khalilzad said.