Biden's planned U.S. pullout from Afghanistan to use Sept. 11 anniversary as deadline

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is to start the clock today on the long-awaited withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Biden will set Sept. 11 as the deadline for the pullout — the 20th anniversary of the 2001 attacks on U.S. soil that touched off two decades of bloody Middle East conflict.

Canada's combat mission in the war-torn country included the deaths of 159 soldiers, the largest military toll since the Korean War.

Four civilians, including Calgary Herald journalist Michelle Lang, also died in the conflict, as did Canadian diplomat Glyn Berry.

Biden's decision — which Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed yesterday with Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau — is expected to have NATO's formal support.

While Canada completed its own pullout in 2014, some 9,600 NATO soldiers remain in Afghanistan, about 2,500 of them members of the American contingent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press