Monday Aug 15, 2022
Monday Aug 15, 2022

US President Biden to pull US troops from Afghanistan, end ‘forever war’


Nepalnews
AP
2021 Apr 15, 7:29, Washington, US
President Joe Biden speaks during a Cabinet meeting in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, April 1, 2021, in Washington. Photo: AP via RSS

President Joe Biden said Wednesday he will withdraw remaining US troops from the “forever war” in Afghanistan, declaring that the September 11 terror attacks of 20 years ago cannot justify American forces still dying in the nation’s longest war.

His plan is to pull out all American forces — numbering 2,500 now — by this September 11, the anniversary of the attacks, which were coordinated from Afghanistan. Soon after Biden made his announcement, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels said the alliance had agreed to withdraw its roughly 7,000 forces from Afghanistan, matching Biden’s decision to begin a final pullout by May 1.

The US cannot continue to pour resources into an intractable war and expect different results, Biden said.

The drawdown would begin rather than conclude by May 1, which has been the deadline for full withdrawal under a peace agreement the Trump administration reached with the Taliban last year.

“It is time to end America’s longest war,” Biden said, but he added that the US will “not conduct a hasty rush to the exit.”

“We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result,” said Biden, who delivered his address from the White House Treaty Room, the same location where President George W. Bush announced the start of the war. “I am now the fourth United States president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.”

Biden’s announcement, which he followed with a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, marks perhaps the most significant foreign policy decision in the early going of his presidency.

He’s long been skeptical about the US presence in Afghanistan. As Barack Obama’s vice president, Biden was a lonely voice in the administration who advised the 44th president to tilt towards a smaller counterterrorism role in the country while military advisers were urging a troop buildup to counter Taliban gains. Biden has also made clear he wants to recalibrate US foreign policy to face bigger challenges posed by China and Russia.

Withdrawing all US troops comes with clear risks. It could boost the Taliban’s effort to claw back power and undo gains toward democracy and women’s rights made over the past two decades. It also opens Biden to criticism, from mostly Republicans and some Democrats, even though former President Donald Trump had also wanted a full withdrawal.

“This administration has decided to abandon US efforts in Afghanistan which have helped keep radical Islamic terrorism in check,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. “And bizarrely, they have decided to do so by September 11th.”

While Biden’s decision keeps US forces in Afghanistan four months longer than initially planned, it sets a firm end to two decades of war that killed more than 2,200 US troops, wounded 20,000, and cost as much as $1 trillion.


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US President Joe Biden Afghaistan US troops attack Taliban Barack Obama Donald Trump
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