US military mission in Afghanistan to end August 31: Biden

US military 'achieved' its goals in the country — killing Osama bin Laden, degrading al Qaeda, says President Biden


AFP July 09, 2021
Joe Biden speaks about the withdrawal of the remainder of US troops from Afghanistan. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON:

US President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the US military mission in Afghanistan will end on August 31, nearly 20 years after it began.

The US military has "achieved" its goals in the country — killing Osama bin Laden, degrading al Qaeda and preventing more attacks on the United States, Biden said in a White House speech.

"We are ending America's longest war," he said.

"The status quo is not an option," Biden said of staying in the country. "I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan."

"The United States cannot afford to remain tethered to policies created to respond to a world as it was 20 years ago," he said. "We need to meet the threats where they are today."

Biden said the United States "did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build."

"It is the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future."

Biden pledged to continue supporting the Afghan government and security forces and said thousands of Afghan translators who worked for US forces and face threats from the Taliban would be able to find refuge in the United States.

"There is a home for you in the United States, if you choose," he said. "We will stand with you, just as you stood with us."

Biden said he was confident the Afghan armed forces could stand up to the Taliban, who have made strong advances across the country since the beginning of the year.

"I do not trust the Taliban," Biden said, "but I trust the capacity of the Afghan military."

Asked if a Taliban takeover was "inevitable," the president said: "No, it is not."

He flatly rejected comparisons to the US experience in Vietnam.

"The Taliban is not the North Vietnamese army," Biden said. "They're not remotely comparable in terms of capability.

"There's going to be no circumstance where you are going to see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States from Afghanistan," he said. "It is not at all comparable."

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