U.S. Marines conduct an operation to clear a village of Taliban fighters in July 2009 in Mian Poshteh, Afghanistan.
Biden to announce Afghanistan withdrawal by September 11
03:19 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday praised President Joe Biden’s plan to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, calling it a “careful and thought-out plan.”

“The President doesn’t want endless wars. I don’t want endless wars. And neither do the American people. And it’s refreshing to have a thought-out plan with a set timetable instead of the President waking up one morning getting out of bed, saying what just pops into his head and then having the generals having walked it back,” Schumer, who in November criticized former President Donald Trump’s announcement to reduce the number of US troops from the country, told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”

“I think the President’s plan is a very good one. You want to make sure that the September 11th date is stuck, is a date that sticks. That it’s not kicking the can down the road,” he said.”

Biden on Wednesday will formally announce his decision to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan before September 11 – the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a senior administration official told CNN. The withdrawal extends the US troop presence past a May 1 deadline set by the Trump administration in an agreement with the Taliban but only by a matter of months.

Lawmakers are divided over the decision, with some Republicans slamming the withdrawal plans as a “grave mistake” and that it will erase US gains. Democrats along with a few Republicans have praised the President’s decision to finally end America’s longest war.

Schumer acknowledged that there are questions that remain, telling Berman the Biden administration will hold a classified briefing for all senators on the Afghanistan decision Wednesday “so questions can be answered.”

Asked if he was worried about the symbolism of the date of the withdrawal, the New York Democrat said “terrorists take all kinds of things into symbolism” and added, “the key issue is having the ability to stop them, to penetrate them.”

“We’ve done a very good job of that thus far,” Schumer said.

Senior military commanders have advocated keeping US troops in Afghanistan and have argued that a premature withdrawal could lead to a collapse of the Afghan government. A US intelligence community assessment released Tuesday warned that the Taliban was likely to make gains on the battlefield.

Since 2001, more than 2,200 US troops have died in Afghanistan and more than 20,000 have been wounded.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the year the Afghanistan War began.

CNN’s Kevin Liptak, Barbara Starr and Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.