US President, Joe Biden has intimated that the September 11 attacks “cannot explain” why U.S. forces should remain in Afghanistan 20 years later, adding that “it is time for American troops to come home” from the country’s longest war.
In excerpts of his speech released by the White House, prior to his address of the nation, the President also noted that the US cannot continue to pour resources into an intractable war and expect different results
Officials say Biden’s plan is to pull out all the American forces — numbering 2,500 now — by September 11 this year. The date marks the 20th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attacks against America, which were coordinated from Afghanistan.
“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. I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan; Two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.”
The speech reveals the;President consulted with allies, military leaders, lawmakers and Vice President Kamala Harris to help make his decision.
He also emphasized that his administration will continue to support peace talks;between the Afghan government and the Taliban and assist international efforts to train the Afghan military.
“We will keep providing assistance to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. Along with our partners, we are training and equipping nearly 300,000 personnel. And they continue to fight valiantly on behalf of their country and defend the Afghan people, at great cost.”
“It is time to end America’s longest war. It is time for American troops to come home.”
Focus on present and future challenges
President Bidens’s speech also suggests that he believes it is time to pay more attention to greater geopolitical challenges. The speech highlighted the growing economic competition with China and Russia’s negative actions targeting the United States.
“Rather than return to war with the Taliban, we have to focus on the challenges that will determine our standing and reach today and into the years to come.”
A senior administration official added that the September withdrawal date was an absolute deadline that won’t be affected by security conditions in Afghanistan.
The war largely crippled al-Qaida and led to the death of Osama bin Laden, the architect of the Sept. 11 attacks. Experts say an American withdrawal risks many of the gains made in democracy, women’s rights and governance in Afghanistan. however, this
Others have also pointed out that it will ensure that the Taliban, who provided al-Qaida’s haven, remain strong and in control of large swaths of the country.
The drawdown would begin by May 1, defying the deadline for full withdrawal under a peace agreement the Trump administration reached with the Taliban in 2020.
While Biden’s decision keeps U.S. forces in Afghanistan four months longer than initially planned, officials say it sets a firm end to two decades of a war that killed more than 2,200 U.S. troops, wounded 20,000, and cost as much as $1 trillion.