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Biden to reportedly withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021



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President Joe Biden is expected to announce a plan to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, The Washington Post reports. He is expected to make the announcement on Wednesday.

The Pentagon confirmed to this reporter that they are aware of the reports, but wouldn’t comment on the stories and deferred any questions to the White House. The White House didn’t immediately respond.

Currently, the Pentagon says there are 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. There’s been a presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan for 19 years.

Daniel Hoffman is a retired clandestine services officer and former chief of station with the Central Intelligence Agency. In a phone interview with this reporter on Tuesday, Hoffman questioned whether Biden has a plan to combat the existing and growing national security threats from terrorist groups in the region like ISIS and Al Qaeda.

In a recent op-ed for The Washington Times, Hoffman wrote that Biden should be careful not to let the region become a safe haven for terrorists. “Cognizant that the Obama administration’s precipitous withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 helped create the conditions for ISIS to flourish, Mr. Biden should keep firmly in mind the distinction between an ‘endless war’ and a forward-deployed U.S. presence — strictly limited in personnel and scope and buttressed by allied contributions — that defends our clear national interests and doesn’t outsource them to unreliable partners or hostile actors.”

Moreover, Hoffman said Biden’s reasoning for making the deadline September 11 seemed “political.” “That date has a very serious meaning for us,” he said, referring to the 2001 Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

Biden has previously indicated his future plans to draw down the number of troops in the region and recently said he “can’t picture” having U.S. troops there next year.

A May 1 deadline remains in place for Biden to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan under a deal brokered between the Trump administration and the Taliban. Biden, however, has been opposed to the Trump-Taliban deal while still supporting a pull-out of U.S. troops. However, he has yet to provide a definitive timeline.

Last month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Kabul where he met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. On a later February 5 call, Austin and Ghani spoke of the need for a deal to end the war and agreed on working towards peace.

Follow Jennie Taer on Twitter @JennieSTaer

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Israel Defense Forces say coalition successfully intercepted over 99 percent of Iranian drones, missiles



Iran nuclear weapons program

The U.S., U.K, France, and Jordan came together with Israel to intercept the onslaught of Iranian drones targeting Israel, according to multiple reports.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded defiantly, saying his country is “strong” and prepared to defend itself from any threat.

“Our defense systems are deployed, and we are prepared for any scenario, both in defense and offense. The State of Israel is strong, the IDF is strong, the public is strong,” Netanyahu said.

“We appreciate the US for standing by Israel’s side as well as the support of the UK, France and many other countries,” he continued.

“I established a clear principle — whoever hurts us, we will hurt them. We will defend ourselves from any threat and we will do so calmly and with determination.”

In conjunction with the attack, Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei launched a tirade against Israel on Saturday and blamed the Jewish state for the recent attack on an Iranian compound in Damascus, Syria.

“The malicious regime has made a wrong move in this case. It should be punished and it will be punished,” he said of Israel.

National Review reports:

Iran typically targets Israel through its network of well-resourced regional proxies such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Israel continues to fights its war against Hamas sparked by the terrorist group’s mass civilian slaughter and rape on October 7.

Hamas rejected another temporary cease-fire proposal after negotiations began in Cairo, Egypt last weekend between U.S., Qatari, and Egyptian officials. The cease-fire proposal would have seen Israel exchange hundreds of Gazan prisoners for dozens of the hostages held in captivity by Hamas.

As for injuries, a seven-year-old girl suffered severe injuries from shrapnel that fell directly onto her home. She was rushed to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery for a head wound. An estimated 31 people in total were treated for stress and minor injuries.



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