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Photo: Amr Alfiky/New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden is expected to announce plans to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The decision, expected to be publicly announced Wednesday, means thousands of soldiers will remain in the country beyond the current May 1 deadline, which the Trump administration negotiated with the Taliban last year.

  • The Taliban has vowed to resume attacks on U.S. and NATO personnel if foreign troops haven't exited by May 1, though it's unclear whether the group will follow through on its threat.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Dave Lawler: Biden has always appeared unlikely to meet the May 1 withdrawal deadline, in part because of the logistics involved but mainly because of the risks associated with a precipitous exit without a peace deal in place.

  • In setting another specific deadline, Biden will be making clear to all parties involved that the U.S. is serious about exiting the conflict and leaving the window open for progress in the intra-Afghan peace talks.
  • But many of the same factors that have kept the U.S. in Afghanistan for two decades — including the risk of state collapse and the fear of terror groups gaining a foothold — will likely still be in place by September.

The state of play: Officially, 2,500 U.S. troops are stationed in Afghanistan, but the number isn't fixed. The Post estimates that the current total is around 3,500.

  • Up to 7,000 additional foreign forces — predominantly NATO troops — remain in the country as well.
  • U.S.-facilitated peace talks have not had much success. The Taliban remains robust despite the U.S. attempts to defeat the militants over the course of 20 years.
  • The war has also cost trillions of dollars and led to the deaths of over 2,000 U.S. service members and at least 100,000 Afghan civilians, the Post reports.

The big picture: The 9/11 attacks led the U.S. into its longest war, but Biden's decision reflects the United States' growing shift away from the Middle East as it focuses on new priorities like China.

Go deeper

Pentagon chief announces U.S. will station 500 additional troops in Germany

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer walks with Austin upon his arrival at the Defense Ministry on April 13. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on a trip to Berlin Tuesday that the U.S. will station an additional 500 troops in Germany as soon as this fall "to strengthen deterrence and defense in Europe."

Why it matters: It's a stark reversal from the policies of former President Trump, who sought to withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany after accusing the U.S. ally of "delinquent" payments to NATO.

DHS to increase deportation flights to Haiti from Del Rio

Migrants walk across the Rio Grande River carrying supplies back to a makeshift encampment under the international bridge between Del Rio, Texas, and Acuña, Mexico. Officials are struggling to provide food, water, shelter and sanitation, forcing migrants to cross the Rio Grande several times per day for basic necessities. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Saturday announced plans to ramp up deportation flights to Haiti out of the small Texas border town Del Rio, starting as soon as Sunday.

Why it matters: Reports have emerged of more than 10,000 migrants, primarily from Haiti, crowded in a temporary camp under the international bridge in Del Rio. Hoping to find refuge in the United States, they've had to bear with filthy conditions and the scorching sun for days, per an NBC News affiliate.

2 hours ago - World

Pope Francis urges bishops to listen to survivors of sexual abuse

Pope Francis rides his Pope mobile through a crowd of pilgrims before holding an open-air mass on September 15, 2021 in Sastin, Slovakia. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Pope Francis on Saturday urged European bishops to listen to survivors of clergy sexual abuse, saying "these important discussions truly touch the future of the church," AP reports.

Driving the news: Francis spoke in a video message to Central and Eastern European bishops who are convening in Poland for a four-day child protection conference beginning on Sunday.

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