The President of the United States, Joe Biden, outlined his planned withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan on Wednesday, explaining why they were sent there in the first place: the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
“It’s time to end America’s longest war,” said Biden during a speech in the White House treaty room.
“We went to Afghanistan because of a terrible attack 20 years ago. That can’t explain why we should stay there in 2021. “
“I am now the fourth American president to lead an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two republicans. Two democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth, ”he said.
The United States “cannot continue the cycle of expanding or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan in the hope of creating the ideal conditions for our withdrawal and for a different outcome.”
Biden set September 11th as the date on which the remaining 2,500 or so US troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan. This ends what many have called the “Eternal War”, which has cost more than 2,400 US lives and up to 1 trillion US dollars.
After the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, led by Osama bin Laden, then-US President George W. Bush launched the war in Afghanistan in October 2001 after it became known that the Taliban were harboring bin Laden and refused to hand him over.
The Taliban were ousted from power by US-led forces shortly afterwards, and Bin Laden was finally found and killed in neighboring Pakistan in 2011.
Biden was facing a May 1 deadline agreed by the Taliban and the previous Donald Trump administration, a date that signaled Biden that he would not meet.
The Taliban have threatened “problems” if the US fails to meet the May 1 deadline. Biden hopes setting a new deadline with explanation will reassure her.
Given the Taliban’s initial response, they are not appeased.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is striving to withdraw all foreign armed forces from our home country by the date set in the Doha Agreement,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.
“If the agreement is violated and foreign forces do not leave the country on time, the problems will certainly worsen and those who fail to comply will be held accountable,” Mujahid continued.
While Biden’s announcement has been hailed by progressive Democrats like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, she has also raised concerns about what it means for the Afghan government and US national security.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani tweeted on Wednesday that he had spoken to Biden and said, “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan respects the US decision and we will work with our US partners to ensure a smooth transition.
“Afghanistan’s proud security and defense forces are able to defend its people and their country, which they have been doing all along and for which the Afghan nation will forever be grateful,” continued Ghani.
I had a call tonight to President Biden discussing the US decision to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan by early September. The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan respects the US decision and we will work with our US partners to ensure a smooth transition.
– Ashraf Ghani (@ashrafghani) April 14, 2021
However, in an interview with the DPA news agency, an Afghan government peace negotiator in Doha described the move as “the most irresponsible, selfish thing the United States could do to its Afghan partners.”
The Afghan negotiator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it might be the end of the war for Washington, but the Afghan partners would pay the price.
“A complete withdrawal from Afghanistan is more stupid than filth and devilishly dangerous,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, according to the Associated Press. “President Biden will essentially have canceled an insurance policy for another 9/11.”
A US intelligence assessment released this week concluded: “The Afghan government will have trouble keeping the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws support.”
And CIA Director William Burns told the Senate Intelligence Committee, “There is significant risk if the US military and coalition militaries withdraw,” although he added that the United States would retain “a number of capabilities.” .
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters prior to Biden’s speech that he was fully aware of these concerns, but had also heard from the US intelligence community that “the threat has dispersed, metastasized around the world … she has changed. We don’t look at the 2001 mindset. We cannot look at things through the 2001 mindset. “
According to his remarks, Biden was to visit the section of Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, where the US soldiers who died in Afghanistan and Iraq were laid to rest.