NATO to match US troop pullout from Afghanistan

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance has agreed to withdraw its roughly 7,000 forces from Afghanistan to match U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to pull all American troops from the country starting on May 1.

Stoltenberg said the full withdrawal would be completed “in months” but did not mention the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks set as a goal by Biden.

“We went into Afghanistan together, we have adjusted our posture together and we are united in leaving together,” he said.

Stoltenberg revealed the decision shortly after Biden formally announced his plans and after meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Blinken and Austin spent the day in talks with senior officials from the alliance’s 30 members to discuss NATO’s future presence in Afghanistan.

Blinken said earlier that he expected the allies to withdraw together. But he maintained that neither the U.S. nor NATO would abandon the country despite the impending pullout.

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