President Joe Biden announced his decision Wednesday to fully withdraw troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021.
“I’ve concluded that it’s time to end America’s longest war,” Biden said. “It’s time for American troops to come home.”
The president delivered a speech detailing his decision in the Treaty Room at the White House.
Biden’s decision extends a deadline former President Donald Trump set to withdraw troops by May 1, but ultimately follows his lead to end the war. He tacitly acknowledged Trump’s role in ending the war by negotiating the agreement.
“It’s perhaps not what I would have negotiated myself, but it was an agreement made by the United States government and that means something,” Biden said, referring to the Trump administration’s agreement.
Biden described the war in Afghanistan as the “forever war” and promised to end it during his presidency.
“I’m now the fourth United States president to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats,” Biden said. “I will not pass on this responsibility on to a fifth.”
Biden defended his initial support for the war but argued the objectives of the operations were completed, as Afghanistan was no longer a home for terrorists and Osama bin Laden had been found and killed.
“War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking,” he said.
Biden said it was up to the Afghanistan people to keep the peace and govern the region, but warned the Taliban not to attack the United States or it’s allies.
“The Taliban should know, if they attack us as we drawdown, we will defend ourselves and our partners with all the tools at our disposal,” Biden said.
Biden said he would continue efforts to maintain the peace in Afghanistan with diplomacy, not American military troops.
“Our diplomacy does not hinge on having boots in harm’s way, U.S. boots on the ground,” he said. “We have to change that thinking. American troops shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip between warring parties in other countries.”
Biden recognized the 2,488 troops and personnel who died in Afghanistan during the 20 years of war.
He also said he spoke with former President George W. Bush about his decision.
“While he and I have had many disagreements over policies throughout the years, we’re absolutely united in our respect and support for the valor, courage, and integrity of the women and men of the United States Armed Forces who served,” he said.
Biden plans to visit Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery to honor the veterans killed in Afghanistan later Wednesday afternoon.
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