President Joe Biden has declared that his decision to permanently withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan is also about ending an era of major military operations to “remake other countries.”
Delivering remarks on ending the war in Afghanistan in the State Dining Room on Tuesday, Biden said, “I simply do not believe that the safety and security of America is enhanced by continuing to deploy thousands of American troops and spending billions of dollars a year in Afghanistan.”
“As we turn the page on the foreign policy that has guided our nation the last two decades, we’ve got to learn from our mistakes,” he added. “First, we must set missions with clear, achievable goals — not ones we’ll never reach. And second, we must stay clearly focused on the fundamental national security interest of the United States of America”.
Apparently admitting that the U.S. mission of counterterrorism and nation building in Afghanistan did not return the intended results, Biden stated, “Moving on from that mindset and those kind of large-scale troop deployments will make us stronger and more effective and safer at home.”
Keeping an August 31 deadline, the U.S. military evacuation of civilians and the removal of all U.S. forces from Afghanistan were completed on Tuesday, marking the end of a 20-year presence of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The last U.S. military plane, a C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft, left Kabul airport with Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, the commander of troops in Kabul, and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ross Wilson aboard.
Biden sent a strong warning to terrorist outfits for the second time in a week by saying, “To those who wish America harm, to those that engage in terrorism against us and our allies, know this: The United States will never rest. We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down to the ends of the Earth, and you will pay the ultimate price.”
Biden made it clear that Washington will continue to support the Afghan people through diplomacy, international influence, and humanitarian aid, and continue to push for regional diplomacy and engagement to prevent violence and instability.
Biden said he is keeping the promise given while he was running for President, that he would end the war in Afghanistan. “After 20 years of war in Afghanistan, I refused to send another generation of America’s sons and daughters to fight a war that should have ended long ago,” he said.
“After more than $2 trillion spent in Afghanistan — a cost that researchers at Brown University estimated would be over $300 million a day for 20 years in Afghanistan…I refused to continue in a war that was no longer in the service of the vital national interest of our people, Biden added.
More than 800,000 American service members and 25,000 civilians served in Afghanistan over the almost 20-year mission – the longest war the United States waged abroad.
A total of 2,461 U.S. service members and civilians were killed and more than 20,000 others were injured. That includes 13 U.S. troops who were killed last week by an Islamic State suicide bomber in Kabul.
Biden admitted that his assumption that the Afghan government would be able to hold on for a period of time beyond the military drawdown in their civil wars with the Taliban turned out not to be accurate.
Biden stressed that at a time the world is changing, the United States is engaged in a serious competition with China, dealing with the challenges on multiple fronts with Russia, and confronted with cyber attacks and nuclear proliferation, “It’s time to end the war in Afghanistan.”
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