President Biden announced Wednesday plans to pull all U.S. military forces from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, a move that will bring an end to America’s longest war by the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon.
The president spoke about the way forward in Afghanistan, including his timeline for the drawdown of U.S. troops, from the Treaty Room at the White House, the same place where former President George W. Bush announced airstrikes in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. The U.S. will begin its final withdrawal from Afghanistan on May 1.
“With the terror threat now in many places, keeping thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country at a cost of billions each year makes little sense to me, and to our leaders,” Mr. Biden said solemnly.
“We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create ideal conditions for a withdrawal, and expecting a different result. I am now the fourth United States president to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan — two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.”
The president said the U.S. is forever indebted to the members of the military who fought and died in Afghanistan and offered them the “thanks” of a “grateful nation.” But, now, he added, it’s time to move on from that chapter in our history, CBS News reported.
“It’s time to end the forever war,” the president said. He asserted that “war in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking” and pointed out that he was the first president in 40 years who knows what it means to have a son serve in a war zone.
Troop presence in Afghanistan should, he said, be focused on the reason the U.S. went to war there in the first place: to ensure that Afghanistan could not be used as a base against us. “We did that,” Mr. Biden said, noting that 9/11 attack mastermind Osama bin Laden “is dead” and al Qaeda “is degraded.”