President Joe Biden speaks to reporters

President Joe Biden speaks from the East Room of the White House on August 23, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Defying War Hawks, Biden Plans to Stick With Afghan Exit Deadline

"Despite the pressure from the hawks, Biden actually appears to be ending this war."

President Joe Biden reportedly intends to stick with his self-imposed August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, rejecting calls for an extension from hawkish GOP lawmakers, members of his own party, and European allies.

During a Tuesday call, according to the Wall Street Journal, Biden told the leaders of G7 nations that the U.S. is on track to meet the withdrawal deadline and that the Pentagon is developing contingency plans in the case of any delay.

The U.S. president's decision to stand by the August 31 deadline provoked immediate howls of outrage from pro-war Republican lawmakers, who accused Biden of capitulating to the Taliban's demand for a timely withdrawal--even though the Pentagon has recommended adherence to the original deadline, warning that staying longer could pose security risks.

On Monday, as Common Dreams reported, Taliban leaders made clear that they would not accept any U.S. effort to push back the withdrawal date--and that any extension would "provoke a reaction."

"Despite the pressure from the hawks, Biden actually appears to be ending this war," The Daily Poster's Walker Bragman tweeted Tuesday. "This is a meaningful foreign policy difference between Joe Biden and his predecessor, who didn't pull the trigger on it."

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war group CodePink, said Tuesday that she was "glad to hear that Biden is sticking to the August 31 deadline to get out of Afghanistan."

Members of Congress from both parties--including some progressives--have raised concerns about the ability of U.S. forces to evacuate the remaining American troops and fleeing Afghan allies by August 31. The Biden administration has said it does not know how many U.S. citizens are still in Afghanistan.

Progressive advocacy groups and lawmakers have also pressured the Biden administration to evacuate and provide a safe haven for as many Afghan refugees as possible.

"There has been and remains an overwhelming bipartisan consensus that this cannot be done by August 31," said Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), who led a bipartisan letter last week expressing the same sentiment. That letter was signed by 42 lawmakers, including Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the only member of Congress to vote against the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

The White House said Tuesday that the U.S. has evacuated roughly 58,700 people from Afghanistan since August 14, when the Taliban began closing in on the capital of Kabul.

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