'Time for American troops to come home': Joe Biden announces troop withdrawal from Afghanistan
"We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals, and we achieved them. Osama Bin Laden is dead, and Al Qaeda is degraded in Iraq and Afghanistan. And it is time to end the forever war," US President Joe Biden said.
United States President Joe Biden has announced the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
Justifying his decision, Biden said that war in Afghanistan was never supposed to be a "multi-generational undertaking".
"We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals, and we achieved them. Osama Bin Laden is dead, and Al Qaeda is degraded in Iraq and Afghanistan. And it is time to end the forever war."
The troop withdrawal will begin next month and be completed by the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
In his statement announcing the decision, Biden said: "I believed that our presence in Afghanistan should be focused on the reason we went in the first place -- to ensure Afghanistan is not used as a base to attack our homeland again. We did that. We accomplished that objective."
"I said, along with others, that we would follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell if need be. That's exactly what we did, and we got him. It took us close to 10 years to put President Obama's commitment into form. And that's exactly what happened; Osama bin Laden was gone."
"That was ten years ago. Think about that. We delivered justice to bin Laden a decade ago, and we have stayed in Afghanistan for a decade since. Since then, our reasons for remaining in Afghanistan are becoming increasingly unclear, even as the terrorist threat that we went to fight evolved."
The United States spent over $1 trillion in fighting and rebuilding in Afghanistan since the invasion that targeted the Taliban and Al Qaeda after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The US has lost 2,448 soldiers, and 20,722 have been wounded in the conflict in Afghanistan.
Asserting that the terror threat had become more dispersed and metastasized around the world over the past 20 years, the US President said: "With the terror threat now in many places, keeping thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country at the cost of billions each year makes little sense to our leaders and to me. We cannot go on extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for the withdrawal and expecting a different result."
Reiterating that American diplomacy does not hinge on having US boots on the ground, Biden said that line of thinking would need to change.
"American troops shouldn't be used as a bargaining chip between warring parties in other countries. You know, that's nothing more than a recipe for keeping American troops in Afghanistan indefinitely. I also know there are many who will argue that we should stay -- stay fighting in Afghanistan because withdrawal would damage America's credibility and weaken America's influence in the world. I believe the exact opposite is true. We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago. That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021."
Biden called upon other countries in the region to do more to support Afghanistan, especially Pakistan, Russia, China, India, and Turkey.
"They all have a significant stake in the stable future for Afghanistan," he said.