Multiple reports indicate that President Joe Biden will order all American troops to withdraw from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack that destroyed the Twin Towers in New York City and instigated the War on Terror.
The timeline for Biden's withdrawal will break the May 1 deadline set by the Trump administration in an agreement with the Taliban by several months. U.S. officials have previously reported there are about 2,500 troops stationed in Afghanistan, though the New York Times reported last month about 1,000 more special operations forces were also stationed in the country.
All U.S. troops will reportedly leave the country by Sept. 11, ending U.S. involvement in a nearly 20-year war that's cost the lives of more than 2,000 U.S. soldiers and 100,000 Afghan civilians and added trillions of dollars to the national debt.
The Washington Post was the first to report Biden's impending announcement, which is expected Wednesday.
"This is the immediate, practical reality that our policy review discovered," an anonymous source who spoke to the Post said. "If we break the May 1st deadline negotiated by the previous administration with no clear plan to exit, we will be back at war with the Taliban, and that was not something President Biden believed was in the national interest," the source said.
Biden administration officials spoke to the press anonymously because the plans to announce U.S. troop withdrawal are not yet public.
"We're going to zero troops by September," the source emphasized.
Last month, President Biden said it would be difficult to meet Trump's May 1 deadline to withdraw, though he signaled his willingness to end the war.
"We are not staying for a long time. We will leave," Biden said. "The question is when we leave." He explained it would be tough to meet the deadline for "tactical reasons."
CNN reported that Secretary of State Tony Blinken communicated with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday to inform him that the president will be calling later this week to announce the U.S. withdrawal. The Biden administration is reportedly making contact with several U.S. allies in the region to coordinate a strategy to withdraw.
U.S. commanders have previously expressed opposition to withdrawing, warning that without a peace deal negotiated between the Taliban and the Afghani government, the Taliban could retake key cities, including the capital, Kabul, should American forces leave the Afghanistan Army to fight alone.
Last week, CNN reported that the Taliban attacked a heavily guarded U.S. base in March. The terrorist group has vowed to renew attacks on U.S. forces and NATO troops should they fail to withdraw from the country by May 1.
A U.S. intelligence report released at the end of March said that should the U.S. withdraw, it is likely the Taliban could take over Afghanistan within two to three years and potentially bring al Qaeda back to power in the country.