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Live updates: Biden to formally announce troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, pay respects to fallen service members

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Biden on Wednesday plans to address the nation from the White House on “the way forward” in Afghanistan in a speech expected to include his formal announcement that he will withdraw all American troops from the country in the coming months.

The aim, U.S. officials said Tuesday, is to complete the military exit by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that drew the United States into its longest war.

The decision will keep thousands of U.S. forces in the country beyond the May 1 exit deadline that the Trump administration negotiated last year with the Taliban, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters Tuesday under rules of anonymity set by the White House.

After his speech, Biden plans to visit Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, the resting place for service members who died in recent conflicts, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

While there, Biden will “pay his respects to the brave service members who have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” the White house said.

Word of Biden’s plans for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan prompted immediate backlash Tuesday from leading congressional Republicans, who decried his plans as “outrageous,” “dumber than dirt” and “a disaster in the making.”

“Precipitously withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan is a grave mistake. It is a retreat in the face of an enemy,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor. “Foreign terrorists will not leave the United States alone simply because our politicians have grown tired of taking the fight to them.”

Missy Ryan, Karen DeYoung and Karoun Demirjian contributed to this report.

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